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Have the Vikings Ever Been This Overlooked?


Have the Vikings Ever Been This Overlooked?
Nov 18, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports.

Kevin O’Connell is stepping in as the head coach for a Minnesota Vikings team just a few years away from being a Super Bowl contender. Much of that same team remains in place, and it would be hard to suggest that this job wasn’t one of the most desirable this offseason. Why, then, is everyone overlooking them?

Last month, Dustin Baker noted how silly a recent Power Rankings piece had this Vikings crew, and yet that publication is not alone. Bovada has Minnesota with the 14th best Super Bowl odds at 30/1, and while not ridiculous, that seems egregious given their path to win the NFC North division.

I stuck my neck out a few weeks ago, suggesting the Vikings would finish this season at 12-5. Mike Zimmer did less with more over the final few seasons at the helm, and while the defense clearly left plenty to be desired, few teams in the league can compare to Minnesota regarding skill position players.

O’Connell inherits a trusted veteran quarterback in Kirk Cousins and arguably the best stable of wide receivers across the entire sport. Sure, Dalvin Cook routinely misses time due to injury, but whether it’s Alexander Mattison or Ty Chandler behind him, there’s a very capable backup. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has addressed the defense and offensive line, so shoring up previous issues should be largely taken care of.

Vikings Rank Higher Than Expected in ESPN Predictive Index
Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Obviously, with Aaron Rodgers in the division, overtaking the Green Bay Packers will never be easy. That said, there’s no denying the talent around him has taken a massive hit, and his new wide receiver group leaves plenty to be desired. Given Minnesota’s favorable schedule this year, it seems as good of a time as any for the two to swap spots.

No, it should not be expected that the Vikings become Super Bowl favorites even with a win in week one against the Packers, but the longshot odds seem to be selling this team short. When US Bank Stadium hosted the biggest game of the year, there was hope that Minnesota would represent the state from within. That didn’t happen, but traveling to Glendale, Arizona, for a showdown in 2023 is hardly a lofty expectation.

If you thought that the roster had the talent to make noise last year, and it did, a new leader could be the difference that changes the outcome in the year ahead. Buckle up.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.

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