Everywhere you turn, the Minnesota Vikings start seems to be discredited. Headed into the bye week, Kevin O’Connell’s team is 5-1 leading the NFC North. They’ve beaten each of their divisional foes once and came up with a strong road win last week in Miami. Still, no one seems to think it’s real.
Last season, the Minnesota Vikings finished a game under .500 largely because they failed to win any close games. Mike Zimmer’s team couldn’t close out contests and routinely found themselves on the short end of a one-score game. A change in philosophy and leadership this offseason should’ve always been considered a massive shift, but even the results are enough to alter minds yet.
Earlier this week, FPI percentages indicated the Vikings wouldn’t be favored in their home game against the Dallas Cowboys, despite Dak Prescott only recently returning from injury.
Thankfully, online bookmaker Bovada has the Vikings at -300 to win the division, ahead of the Green Bay Packers at +250. ESPN has now jumped the Vikings to 4th in their power rankings, which is absolutely a fair placement, but a segment on Get Up recently had a debate as to which team was more real, sitting at 5-1 — the Vikings or the Giants? Much of the panel went with New York, and although they are not a bottom feeder by any means, I don’t think it’s that clear-cut.
There was never truly a point this offseason that Minnesota needed to overhaul its talent. The secondary was an issue and needed to be addressed — that remains true. The offensive line was a question mark and has since proven somewhat of an asset out of the gate. From a skill position perspective, this team was geared up and ready to go. They just needed someone to drive.
A season ago, the Vikings were not a bad football team. Last year, Minnesota was poorly coached and could not finish. The script has now been flipped, and it’s time to take this group seriously. They should be favorites in six of their next seven games, and there’s an opportunity to have one of the better regular seasons in franchise history here.
If you’ve been a Minnesota sports fan long enough, the shoe seems to drop eventually, but for now, let’s look at this team with the respect they’ve started to earn.
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.