|2012 Minnesota Vikings season|
|Head coach||Leslie Frazier|
|Home field||Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome|
|Division place||2nd NFC North|
|Playoff finish||Lost Wild Card Playoffs (at Packers) 10-24|
|Team MVP||Adrian Peterson|
The 2012 season was the Minnesota Vikings' 52nd in the National Football League, as well as their second full season under head coach Leslie Frazier. They looked to improve upon their 3-13 season the year before, and did so after defeating the Tennessee Titans in Week 5; their win over the Houston Texans in Week 16 made this their first winning season since 2009. The Vikings also made the playoffs for the first time since 2009 with a Week 17 win over the Green Bay Packers to give them a 10-6 regular season record, but were defeated by the same opponents in the Wild Card playoff round the following week. Adrian Peterson was named the league's Most Valuable Player after rushing for 2,097 yards, just nine yards short of breaking the single-season record held by Eric Dickerson since 1984.
On May 10, 2012, the Minnesota State Legislature approved a bill for a new stadium for the team that would see a new facility (later named U.S. Bank Stadium) constructed by 2016 and ensure the Vikings' presence in Minneapolis through the year 2046. The bill was signed by Governor Mark Dayton on May 14, and approved by the Minneapolis City Council by a vote of 7-6 on May 25.
The first major transactions of the 2012 offseason were the releases of veteran guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, and CB Cedric Griffin on March 10, as the Vikings began rebuilding their offensive line and secondary. Three days later, the team re-signed perennial backup QB Sage Rosenfels and DT Letroy Guion off their unrestricted free agents list. This was followed up with the signing of the Seattle Seahawks' unrestricted free agent TE John Carlson on a five-year contract.
The next week, the team brought in FB Jerome Felton, also an unrestricted free agent, from the Indianapolis Colts. They then released DT Remi Ayodele on March 21, but re-signed DT Fred Evans. March 26 was a big day for signings by the Vikings, with the re-signings of WR Devin Aromashodu and LB Erin Henderson, as well as the free agent acquisitions of CB Zack Bowman from the Chicago Bears and T Geoff Schwartz from the Carolina Panthers.
April saw very few transactions go through in anticipation of the 2012 NFL Draft at the end of the month. Nevertheless, the Vikings signed LB Marvin Mitchell and WR Jerome Simpson, despite the fact that Simpson would miss the first three games of the season for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
|2012 Minnesota Vikings Draft|
|Draft order||Player name||Position||College||Contract||Notes|
|1||3||Traded to the Cleveland Browns[a]|
|4||Matt Kalil||T||USC||4 years||From Browns[a]|
|29||Harrison Smith||S||Notre Dame||4 years||From Ravens[b]|
|2||35||Traded to the Baltimore Ravens[b]|
|3||66||Josh Robinson||CB||Central Florida||4 years|
|4||98||Traded to the Baltimore Ravens[b]|
|118||Jarius Wright||WR||Arkansas||4 years||From Falcons via Browns[a]|
|128||Rhett Ellison||FB||USC||4 years||Compensatory pick[c]|
|134||Greg Childs||WR||Arkansas||4 years||Compensatory pick[c]|
|5||138||Traded to the Detroit Lions[d]|
|139||Robert Blanton||S||Notre Dame||4 years||From Browns[a]|
|6||173||Traded to the Washington Redskins[e]|
|175||Blair Walsh||K||Georgia||4 years||From Browns[f]|
|7||210||Audie Cole||ILB||NC State||4 years|
|211||Traded to the Tennessee Titans[g]||From Browns[a]|
|219||Trevor Guyton||DE||California||4 years||From Seahawks via Lions[d]|
|223||Traded to the Detroit Lions[d]||From Eagles via Patriots[d]|
With the 2012 Draft over, the Vikings resumed their transactions in May, signing a number of undrafted free agents to their roster, and releasing RB Caleb King, following a short jail term. With the drafting of Blair Walsh, veteran kicker Ryan Longwell found himself surplus to requirements for the Vikings and he was released on May 7. By the start of June, all of the Vikings draft selections (with the exception of T Matt Kalil) had been signed to long-term contracts.
This was the first year the Vikings used a TV/radio simulcast for their preseason games.
|1||August 10||at San Francisco 49ers||L 6-17||0-1||Candlestick Park||Recap|
|2||August 17||Buffalo Bills||W 36-14||1-1||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|3||August 24||San Diego Chargers||L 10-12||1-2||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|4||August 30||at Houston Texans||L 24-28||1-3||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|1||September 9||Jacksonville Jaguars||W 26-23 (OT)||1-0||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|2||September 16||at Indianapolis Colts||L 20-23||1-1||Lucas Oil Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 23||San Francisco 49ers||W 24-13||2-1||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|4||September 30||at Detroit Lions||W 20-13||3-1||Ford Field||Recap|
|5||October 7||Tennessee Titans||W 30-7||4-1||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|6||October 14||at Washington Redskins||L 26-38||4-2||FedExField||Recap|
|7||October 21||Arizona Cardinals||W 21-14||5-2||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|8||October 25||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||L 17-36||5-3||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|9||November 4||at Seattle Seahawks||L 20-30||5-4||CenturyLink Field||Recap|
|10||November 11||Detroit Lions||W 34-24||6-4||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|12||November 25||at Chicago Bears||L 10-28||6-5||Soldier Field||Recap|
|13||December 2||at Green Bay Packers||L 14-23||6-6||Lambeau Field||Recap|
|14||December 9||Chicago Bears||W 21-14||7-6||Mall of America Field||Recap|
|15||December 16||at St. Louis Rams||W 36-22||8-6||Edward Jones Dome||Recap|
|16||December 23||at Houston Texans||W 23-6||9-6||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|17||December 30||Green Bay Packers||W 37-34||10-6||Mall of America Field||Recap|
Minnesota playing at Detroit, September 30
Adrian Peterson rushed for 199 yards, coming up nine yards short of breaking the single season record by Eric Dickerson. This included 5 rushes for 36 yards on the final drive to set up the winning field goal by Blair Walsh. This game was rated #3 on the Top 20 NFL Games of 2012 on NFL.com as AP2K.
Blair Walsh and Larry Dean line up to kick off against Green Bay, December 30
|(3)Green Bay Packers||11||5||0||.688||5-1||8-4||433||336||L1|
|WC||January 5||at Green Bay Packers||L 10-24||0-1||Lambeau Field||Recap|
Having secured the NFC's #6 seed, the Vikings traveled to Lambeau Field for a rematch with the Packers. With the two teams meeting in the playoffs for only the second time ever, Blair Walsh capped the game's opening drive with a field goal to put the Vikings 3-0 up. However, the Packers then scored 24 unanswered points to take a 24-3 lead in the 3rd quarter. The Vikings tried to rally a comeback with a touchdown to make it 24-10, but it was too little, too late as time ran out for Minnesota.
|Passing yards||Christian Ponder||2,935|
|Passing touchdowns||Christian Ponder||18|
|Rushing yards||Adrian Peterson||2,097 *|
|Rushing touchdowns||Adrian Peterson||12|
|Receiving yards||Percy Harvin||677|
|Receiving touchdowns||Kyle Rudolph||9|
|Kickoff return yards||Percy Harvin||574|
|Punt return yards||Marcus Sherels||287|
|Forced fumbles||Jamarca Sanford||4|
|Category||Total yards||Yards per game||NFL rank|
(out of 32)
Four Minnesota Vikings players were selected for the 2013 Pro Bowl: two on offense (running back partners Adrian Peterson and Jerome Felton), one on defense (DE Jared Allen) and one special teamer (K Blair Walsh). Of these, Peterson, Felton and Walsh were selected as starters, with Allen going as a reserve.
With the withdrawal of Dallas Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware on January 10 because of a shoulder injury, Vikings LB Chad Greenway was called up to the NFC roster as a replacement. TE Kyle Rudolph was also added to the NFC roster for his first Pro Bowl two weeks later after Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez dropped out due to injury. Rookie Matt Kalil was also added later as a replacement for the Washington Redskins' tackle, Trent Williams, yet another casualty of injury. Rudolph was named the game's MVP.