8-7, 2nd NFC North
Will The Schedule Hurt Minnesota’s Chances To Repeat? - The Vikings are already playing in such a rough division. Aaron Rodgers is back healthy, Chicago got much better, and Detroit is still an above average team. This puts them with six tough games already, but the out of division games are against three playoff teams from the NFC and New England. They face Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New Orleans. They also travel to Seattle late in the year. While the Seahawks are not as good as prior years, this is still a tough place to play. There is a very good chance that the Vikings have some regression, but is mainly because of the the other teams upgrades or health.
Is Dalvin Cook Healthy Enough To Be The Workhorse? - Dalvin Cook suffered a nasty injury, tearing his ACL in Week 4 of last season. Minnesota has already come out and stated they were not sure what Cook’s workload would be the first few weeks of the season. Cook had been on pace for 300+ touches before the injury, and given he is a future talent, Minnesota might take things a little easier on him. The offensive line isn’t in good shape, and Minnesota can rely on Latavius Murray a bit to take some of the load off of Cook. It will be interesting to see if that is the case in Minnesota.
Will Kirk Cousins Be The Super Bowl Piece? - Kirk Cousins signed a huge three year deal for over $84 million this offseason. Cousins came over from a pretty pass-happy offense in Washington, and Minnesota has been more to lean on the run and play good defense. We are curious to see if Minnesota opens things up a bit for Cousins, but we also have to wonder does he give enough of an edge of Case Keenum to take them to the promise land. Cousins gets a major upgrade in weapons, which should help efficiency wise, especially with the lower volume. Minnesota might be chanting “you like that” come the end of the year.
Can The Defense Be The Top Dogs Again? - Minnesota has had a strong defense over the last few seasons, but this past year they ranked number one in points allowed. They will face a stronger division this season, as Chicago made moves and Aaron Rodgers got healthy. They will also face the elite of the NFC, which boasts some damn good offenses. At home this Vikings defense is unstoppable, but New England, Philly, and Los Angeles on the road in addition to the division will be tough tasks. They certainly have the talent to do this again, especially in that secondary with Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith locking things down.
Will An Injured Offensive Line Show Some Weakness? - While everyone is talking about a very good defense and Kirk Cousins, we should be talking about an offensive line that is in shambles. Riley Reiff was mediocre last season, and the recent draft picks have been average at best. Pat Elfein is dealing with some major injuries, while Mike Remmers was in a walking boot. If this already mediocre offensive line was struggling last season, and the injuries give them even further issues, Dalvin Cook could be running into a brick wall. You also want to be able to protect your quarterback that you just invested millions into this offseason.