A post-draft look at the Falcons’ 2017 opponents: The Vikings, Game 12

Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Zimmer on draft day a few years back. (Associated Press)

FLOWERY BRANCH — A look at the teams on the Falcons’ schedule and how they have reconstructed their roster since the season’s end. We’re up to Game 12, when the Falcons will host the Minnesota Vikings.

GAME 12: Minnesota Vikings at Falcons, at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 3

No longer with the Vikings: RB Adrian Peterson, LT Matt Kalil,  LB Chad Greenway, DL Scott Crichton, G Brandon Fusco, G Mike Harris DB Cedric Thompson, PK Blair Walsh, T Marquis Lucas and DT Sterling Bailey.

Key free agent signings/pickups: DE Datone Jones,  T Riley Reiff,  T Mike Remmers, RB Latavious Murray, WR Michael Floyd and QB Case Keenum.

Minnesota Vikings’  2017 NFL draft

2 41 Dalvin Cook RB Florida State
3 70 Pat Elfein C Ohio State
4 109 Jaleel Johnson DT Iowa
4 120 Ben Gedeon ILB Michigan
5 170 Rodney Adams WR South Florida
5 180 Danny Isidora G Miami (Fla.)
6 201 Bucky Hodges TE Virginia Military Inst.
7 219 Stacy Coley WR Miami (Fla.)
7 220 Ifeadi Odenigbo DL Northwestern
7 232 Elijah Lee LB Kansas State
7 245 Jack Tocho CB North Carolina State

Weaknesses: The Vikings ranked 31st in kickoff return average last season at 25.8 yards per return. The must improve their run defense which gave up 106.9 yards per game and finished ranked 20th in the league last season. The offense ranked 28th overall last season.

Strengths: Safety Harrison Smith head up a stout defense that also includes linebacker Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr. The Falcons are hoping that Murray and Cook can help to revive the offense.

Comment: The Vikings were considered Super Bowl contenders until quarterback Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrific knee injury that has placed his career in jeopardy. Behind  a rugged defense, head coach Mike Zimmer guided the Vikings to an 8-8 mark. With some improvement on offense, the Vikings will likely be in the playoff hunt when they arrive in Atlanta.


FALCONS SCHEDULE

Exhibition season

Falcons at Miami Dolphins at 7 p.m. Aug. 10

Falcons at Pittsburgh Steelers at 4 p.m. Aug. 20

Arizona Cardinals at Falcons at 7 p.m. Aug. 26

Jacksonville Jaguars at Falcons at 7 p.m. Aug. 31

Regular season

Sept. 10 at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., Fox

Sept. 17 Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m. NBC

Sept. 24 at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m. Fox

Oct. 1 Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., CBS

Oct. 8 BYE

Oct. 15 Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m., CBS

Oct. 22 at New England Patriots, 8:30 p.m., NBC

Oct. 29 at New York Jets, 1 p.m., Fox

Nov. 5 at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

Nov. 12 Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., Fox

Nov. 20 at Seattle Seahawks (Mon) 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Nov. 26 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 3 Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 7 New Orleans Saints (Thur), 8:25 p.m., NBC/NFL Network/Amazon

Dec. 18 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mon). 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Dec. 24 at New Orleans Saints, 1 p.m., Fox

Dec. 31 Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., Fox

 

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