One month ago, Fox Sports‘ Colin Cowherd predicted the Minnesota Vikings would “double their win total” from 2021, insinuating a 16-1 season on deck as the team finished 8-9 last year. Cowherd may not have been privy to the Vikings record in the heat of the moment. Regardless, Minnesota finishing the 2022 season with an impressive record was a bold prediction. Most NFL power rankings forecast the team around the 20th-best in the league.
Well, Cowherd dialed back the otherworldly 16-1 prognostication this week, instead asserting Minnesota will win “13 or 14 games.”
Still, Cowherd believes the 2022 Vikings will be the most improved franchise leaguewide, likely on tap for an NFC North crown with the 13 or 14-win outlook. That total would probably surpass the Green Bay Packers, a team that’s won the division every season since 2019.
Oddsmakers vehemently disagree with Cowherd, though. Per VegasInsider.com, the Vikings are slated to win 8.5 games in 2022, a mark that would disqualify the team from the postseason — for the third year consecutively.
And Minnesota has a new everything leadership-wise as of February. The Vikings severed ties with general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer, choosing Kwesi Adofo-Mensah as the head boss and Kevin O’Connell as skipper. The new personnel is hellbent on collaboration and open-mindedness, whereas the last twosome reportedly devolved into stubbornness and rigidity.
However, in a somewhat strange twist, the Vikings roster mainly stayed the same. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was re-signed for an extra year, the first hint at personnel continuity. Then, the team’s top EDGE rusher, Danielle Hunter, was the focus of theoretical trade talks. But nope — Adofo-Mensah retained Hunter and added former Packers defender Za’Darius Smith via free agency. The message? The 2022 Vikings, with new brass but “the same” players, are all in — again — for arguably the seventh straight season.
Too, if Cowherd is right — or anything close to it — the Vikings plans will work, to the tune of 13 or 14 wins.
Minnesota has the “13th-easiest” schedule per opponents’ 2021 wins and losses and plays nine home games, seven true road games, and one neutral-site contest in London versus the New Orleans Saints. Heading into 2021, the Vikings had the “fifth-toughest” schedule per opponents’ 2020 wins and losses.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).