Relieved Vikings express confidence for 2012

By Dave Campbell

Associated Press

Published: Monday, Jan. 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

"Once we get the full offseason and get things together and see what we need to do to be successful in 2012, it's going to be dangerous," Webb said.

The healing ability and recuperative power of running back Adrian Peterson, who had reconstructive surgery on his left knee last week, will be another critical factor toward improvement.

So will the draft, when the Vikings will pick third in each round. But the defense might be the most vital area.

Defensive coordinator Fred Pagac's status is tenuous. The Vikings must decide whether to bring back middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, who is a free agent who will be 33 years old before next season. Then there is the secondary, in dire need of an upgrade. The Vikings had only eight interceptions and gave up 34 touchdowns passing.

Allen said he'd "fight" to keep Pagac.

"What decisions are going to be made are going to be made. I just know I appreciate our coaching staff and I appreciate everything they've put into this season, especially with the injuries and the way things panned out. It's easy to disconnect, and no one did," Allen said.

Indeed, there was a palpable sense from the players down the stretch despite all the losing that they genuinely enjoyed each other and were willing to keep working hard even when the playoffs became impossible.

"It was our tied for our worst season in our organization's history, but you look around the locker room and you've got a lot of friends and teammates you played with and played hard with. You can't look at somebody and say, 'You quit on us,'" linebacker Chad Greenway said, adding: "You've got to save that at least."

Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

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