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PFT preseason power rankings No. 20: Minnesota Vikings

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A year ago, the Vikings had legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, for the first time since 2009. Then came the late August news that quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s knee had been shredded without contact, ending his 2016 season and maybe more.

So much for the Super Bowl aspirations.

Then came the stunning trade for quarterback Sam Bradford, and an unsettled sense of optimism returned to Minnesota. Then came a Week One win in Tennessee with Shaun Hill under center, an accomplishment that in hindsight should have been regarded as a big deal, given that the Titans aren’t the Titans they’ve recently been.

Then came a surprising win at home over the Packers to properly christen a new stadium. Even with the loss of running back Adrian Peterson to a torn meniscus, the title-game train returned to the tracks, as the Vikings eventually racked up five straight wins.

And then came the part when it all went to sh-t.

From 5-0 to 3-8 to 8-8 and that’s that. Along the way, offensive coordinator Norv Turner abruptly quit, coach Mike Zimmer had multiple eye surgeries, and the offensive line played well enough to open no holes for the tailbacks and plenty in the body of Bradford. Somehow, the spindly-legged quarterback with the oversized Joe Montana physique survived the year.

This year, the Vikings have no clear expectations. They could go 4-12. They could go 12-4. The former is more likely. Something in the middle is the most likely.

Biggest positive change: Although Peterson may have a back-to-the-future-style season in New Orleans, the Vikings had to end a decade of hitching their offensive wagon to one of the best running backs in league history. Quarterback play never thrived much around him, possibly because the quarterbacks (along with everyone else) were always waiting for Peterson to save the day with a blast through the line of scrimmage, a bullying of a linebacker or a safety at the second level, and a “he’s loose!” exclamation from the loudmouth in the radio booth. They saved $18 million in cash and cap space by moving on from Adrian, and they jumped up in round two after running back Dalvin Cook slid out of round one. Cook may now be getting loose from time to time, but the Vikings need to never again put all of their eggs in one running back’s basket. Through their 10 years with Peterson, the Vikings made it to the playoffs only four times and won only one playoff game.

Biggest negative change: It’s not really a change, it’s that things have stayed the same at the quarterback position. Sam Bradford continues to be the starter, Teddy Bridgewater continues to rehab, both have one year left on their current deals, and no one really knows who the starter is going to be later this year or beyond. And that’s a problem. Leadership is critical when it comes to the quarterback position, and the team equipping the quarterback to lead is an overlooked but critical part of that dynamic. With the Vikings not making it clear that either guy is “the guy,” neither guy will be able to lead the team the way he’d like to, or more importantly the way he needs to. If they’d sign Bradford to a contract extension, that would slam the door on Bridgewater, who remains a fan favorite locally and a player who through no fault of his own has had his career derailed. But they can’t dump Bradford, go with Case Keenum, and wait for Bridgewater, either. Perhaps the best-case scenario would be for Bridgewater to make remarkable strides in camp (he’s recently been working out without a knee brace) and for some other team to suffer the same hardship the Vikings did a year ago, allowing Minnesota to unload Bradford and recoup the first-round pick they gave up for him — unless they’ve already decided discreetly that Bradford is the guy, and that they’re not ready to cut the cord on Bridgewater for P.R. reasons, or in the event Bradford suffers a similar physical fate. If that’s the case, the Vikings need to find a way to make sure the locker room realizes that Bradford’s voice is the one to be heard, for 2017 and beyond.

We’d like to crack a beer with . . . Alex Boone. This one’s the easiest perhaps of all teams. Boone is candid and frank and the addition of a beer (or 10) would only get the mountain of a man to say all the things we’d love to hear him say about what went wrong last year and what needs to go right this year, and who hasn’t been on board and who needs to get on board.

Coaching thermometer: It’s getting warm in the land of ice fishing and red snow cones in the vicinity of wood chippers. While only a grossly sub-.500 finish would likely put Mike Zimmer in immediate danger, that could happen if: (1) the offensive line continues to struggle; and (2) Zimmer’s defense continues to engage in self-leg urination with games on the line. Something in the 7-9 to 9-7 range gets him at least one more year; a division title and a progression at least to the divisional round re-establishes Zimmer as the captain of a ship that has now gone more than four decades since sailing to a Super Bowl.

How they could prove us wrong: The offensive line needs to become effective and remain healthy, allowing for the kind of cohesiveness that opens holes for Cook, Latavius Murray, and Jerick McKinnon. Bradford, who shockingly stayed healthy a year ago, needs to do it again. The receivers, led by Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, need to allow the passing game to have a default plan much more dynamic than short throws to tight end Kyle Rudolph. And the defense needs to get back to being a force that doesn’t need much of a second-half lead to clamp down on an opponent and secure a win. The loose notion that they can turn things around simply by scoring 20 or more points in every given game feels a little like the Randy Ratio, the catch phrase of the last Mike’s final year on the job as coach of the team.

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100 Responses to “PFT preseason power rankings No. 20: Minnesota Vikings”
  1. igocommando says: Jul 16, 2017 8:47 AM

    Well this ought to get the pactards up in a frenzy.

  2. 13forgbp says: Jul 16, 2017 8:52 AM

    The only team dumb enough to give up a #1 for Bradford is the team that has him. Suggesting they can recoup the draft pick they traded away for him is idiotic.

  3. stellarperformance says: Jul 16, 2017 8:56 AM

    igocommando says:
    Jul 16, 2017 8:47 AM
    Well this ought to get the pactards up in a frenzy.
    /////////////////////////////

    Drunk and picking fights. Already.

  4. smstonerock says: Jul 16, 2017 8:57 AM

    Lions whoopin that a** didn’t help them much either last year.

  5. ragnarthegreat says: Jul 16, 2017 8:58 AM

    As a vikings fan, I expected them to be higher, but except for the number 1 team, I bet everyone feels that way.

    Sigh. Let’s cross over fingers and hope they are wrong.

  6. TheodoreBabyHandsBustAqua says: Jul 16, 2017 8:58 AM

    20th? Eeeesssh. You know your team sucks when the coach needs eye surgeries because what he’s seen from them. If that offensive line isn’t remarkably improved, the same results are coming. I have them at 9-7 this year – outside the Playoffs looking in. Again.

  7. Iknowitall says: Jul 16, 2017 8:59 AM

    actually #20 is probably a bit too high.

    Vikings are likely good for 4-5 wins this season

  8. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 16, 2017 9:02 AM

    All of Minnescrotum will hop up and down about this one.

  9. MichaelEdits says: Jul 16, 2017 9:04 AM

    If QBs keep dropping in practice, I hear that Kap and RGIII and Johnny Football are available. Tebow too, actually.

  10. hbudgess says: Jul 16, 2017 9:04 AM

    The Redskins and Vikings are ranked way to low. Not top 10, but certainly not in the 20’s.

  11. nitzie says: Jul 16, 2017 9:15 AM

    This ranking seems high.

  12. jimmysee says: Jul 16, 2017 9:18 AM

    Let’s review this piece in November or December and see whether the crystal ball was cracked or prescient.

  13. mypercyhurts2 says: Jul 16, 2017 9:22 AM

    Let’s be real here. Minnesota will not be a great team this year, yet they will give the Packers a run for their money at home.

    Except next February, where the Packers will still be playing and the Vikings won’t. That final victory in Minnesota’s stadium will be an awesome one indeed.

  14. SidFarkus says: Jul 16, 2017 9:22 AM

    #35 is more fitting

  15. Sullivan says: Jul 16, 2017 9:30 AM

    MichaelEdits says:
    Jul 16, 2017 9:04 AM
    If QBs keep dropping in practice, I hear that Kap and RGIII and Johnny Football are available. Tebow too, actually.

    —————-
    I read this past week that Tebow is coming around in the minors. If so then baseball is his best path.

  16. filthymcnasty3 says: Jul 16, 2017 9:44 AM

    That’s weird. I thought they were finally winning a Superbowl in that goofy Ikea looking stadium this year.

  17. pkrlvr says: Jul 16, 2017 9:44 AM

    I remember tjacks and crew saying last year when they were 5-0 that the division was already locked up. How funny that is looking back. From division champs to third place in the blink of an eye. Maybe if the Vikings get on another streak their fans will handle it better this year.

  18. uncommon1 says: Jul 16, 2017 9:46 AM

    The reason the Vikings QB situation seems so unsettled is because they’re in a very unique situation. Realistically, less than half the teams in this league are absolutely settled on their QB for the next 2-3 years. You have about 6 Top tier QB’S that could retire, another 5ish that could realistically fade into a backup roll after their contracts expire, and another 5 or so that are completely without direction. Fortunately the Vikings have a Training Camp, preseason and at least 16 games to help them decide who is under center next year. Don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather be in GB’S QB situation, but at least the Vikings have options and something of a diretion

  19. 12444uggg says: Jul 16, 2017 9:52 AM

    The Vikings with Bradford and minus AP aren’t going to score much.
    This list is a mess. T

  20. tjacks7 says: Jul 16, 2017 9:59 AM

    Thanks for the laugh.

  21. tombombadill says: Jul 16, 2017 9:59 AM

    I can’t wait to see this bozo put the Packers at 1

  22. Susan Imbriale says: Jul 16, 2017 10:02 AM

    What happened to the Viking dynasty that we had to hear about for the past four yearsw

  23. sumkat says: Jul 16, 2017 10:07 AM

    Philly exposed their O-Line (and by extension, Bradford who at the time was getting a lot of “it must of been the teams he played on, not him” coverage), and it was all downhill from there.

    Going to be a long season in Minny, they haven’t fixed that line, Bradford is still the QB, and their defense is going to run into the same problem as last year (they are good, but not good enough to carry the whole team)

  24. dragonfly99 says: Jul 16, 2017 10:09 AM

    This ranking seems too high. Vikings will be battling for third place in the NFC North again.

  25. dragonfly99 says: Jul 16, 2017 10:10 AM

    This ranking seems too high. The Vikings will be battling for third place in the NFC North again this year.

  26. h0metownzero says: Jul 16, 2017 10:11 AM

    You can rank them number 20 all you want, but you will never take away their offseason championship.

  27. leroysbutler says: Jul 16, 2017 10:11 AM

    Oooooh, almost #1.

  28. h0metownzero says: Jul 16, 2017 10:18 AM

    Sometimes I take for granted that the Packers are better than the Vikings.

    It’s primarily because the Packers are always better than the Vikings.

  29. tritz32 says: Jul 16, 2017 10:21 AM

    10 years and 1 playoff win with Purple Jesus. Let that sink in Heidi’s.

  30. Liberalsruineverything says: Jul 16, 2017 10:21 AM

    I’m not taking the bait Mike. Good dig on Paul Allen though!

  31. GenXJ says: Jul 16, 2017 10:24 AM

    Throughout last season the top phrase to sum up the Vikes was could get anything else get worse or worse luck ever. Yet, they persevered and had a chance to make the post season.
    So really, with a presumed top 5 D, improved O-line, 2 capable Qb’s (good thing imo), no B.Walsh, &…whatever other hampering side issues in the wayside; this team is under the radar & ready to wreak havok on whomever is up each week.

  32. artvandelay919 says: Jul 16, 2017 10:41 AM

    Junk team. Junk fans.

  33. filthymcnasty3 says: Jul 16, 2017 10:48 AM

    I think it’s adorable the way Viking fans are trying so hard to keep their hopes up.

  34. mnfaninil says: Jul 16, 2017 11:29 AM

    I believe this is about where most talking heads had them at the start of last year, before they all moved them to #1 by the end of week 5. Every team has attempted to address their major issues. This is a new season, most teams have about a 25%-40% player turnover and many have new coaches/schemes. This is a new season, comparing teams to the prior season is a bit ridiculous, but it gets dudes from WI in their mother’s basement something to do.

  35. whatjusthapped says: Jul 16, 2017 11:37 AM

    Actually, I think 20th is just about right. Let’s check back next February when they set the draft order and I’m betting the Vikings will have their first pick at around 10th-14th in the ranking.

    The Vikings signed two middle of the road offensive tackles and pronounced their problems solved. Cook might have been a dynamic RB in college but he fumbled way too much to be dependable at the NFL level. But remember, the Viking fans are a delusional bunch and the changes they made in the off season are just enough to keep them in 3rd place ahead of the Bears although the fans are already buying Superbowl tickets before the first game is played.

  36. tombombadill says: Jul 16, 2017 11:38 AM

    Lol, the Packer fans are more pathetic than I thought. They are so worried about the Vikings that they go out of their way to troll them. Such a pathetic franchise , fan base, and a pathetic state (Wisconsin). The Packers will be blown out again and embarrassed on national TV. DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHOKE! HAHAHAHA

  37. titimium says: Jul 16, 2017 11:49 AM

    Sam Bradford is a slightly better QB than Mark Sanchez. He had a big reputation early in his career because of being drafted #1. He’s never been much more than a middle of the pack QB. If does stay healthy 2 years in a row it could be a minor miracle in itself.

  38. atthemurph says: Jul 16, 2017 11:52 AM

    mnfaninil says:
    Jul 16, 2017 11:29 AM
    I believe this is about where most talking heads had them at the start of last year, before they all moved them to #1 by the end of week 5. Every team has attempted to address their major issues. This is a new season, most teams have about a 25%-40% player turnover and many have new coaches/schemes. This is a new season, comparing teams to the prior season is a bit ridiculous, but it gets dudes from WI in their mother’s basement something to do.
    ——————————-

    Didn’t you just compare the Vikings to last season?

    They were a middling team in 2016 and they will probably be a middling team in 2017.

    Everything in the NFL revolves around having a franchise QB. MN does not have one. They have a middling QB so they will in all likelihood have a middling team once again.

  39. theallegedone says: Jul 16, 2017 11:52 AM

    It’s so funny to me how all of the trolls on here do nothing but talk about Sam Bradford, based on his past before he was a Viking. The problem is that numbers don’t lie. Sam played behind one of the most injured and probably the worst Vikings offensive line in the past 50 years and he still threw for almost 4,000 yds, 20 touchdowns and only 5 interceptions while setting the NFL all-time completion percentage record. Hopefully the offensive will be better this year. So enough of piling on Bradford and put blame Square where it belongs. The offense of line.

  40. v2787 says: Jul 16, 2017 12:07 PM

    If the Vikings can stay reasonably healthy, Bradford has a year comparable to last season, the running backs can deliver, and the O-line can actually block somebody, I’m predicting a 10-6 record. There’s talent on this team, but they have to get past being snakebit all the time. You can’t keep losing multiple starters to injury and expect to win in the NFL.

  41. ragnarthemagnificent says: Jul 16, 2017 12:22 PM

    Yup, that’s about right

  42. taintedsaints2009 says: Jul 16, 2017 12:31 PM

    Put Rodgers behind the Vikings offensive line last year and he doesn’t put up much better numbers than Bradford did.

  43. reddzen says: Jul 16, 2017 12:43 PM

    I suspect there’s a little reality going on in MN this season because the questions are just too big. NVM the NFC North rivalries (which are dated, because none of these teams are winning a championship this year, Packers included), this isn’t trolling or banter. I just think this team won’t be very good this year.

  44. aj66shanghai says: Jul 16, 2017 12:44 PM

    Vikings have to play Packers and Lions twice, plus NFCS and AFCN, and the Redskins. They will probably beat the Browns, but how many will they win against:

    Matt Ryan
    Aaron Rodgers
    Drew Brees
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Jameis Winston
    Kirk Cousins
    Andy Dalton
    Matt Stafford
    and yes even Joe Flacco. That’s a tough slate. Bradford hasn’t shown the ability to be competitive in a shootout. The team has talent and potential but for now I think #20 is close enough.

  45. runningoutofboundsisforgringos says: Jul 16, 2017 1:01 PM

    One year we’re gonna win this damn thing…Carl Eller and Paul Krause whooping it up in the VIP box…. a glorious cascade of purple and gold confetti. People (CHEESE people, especially) love to laugh at the Vikings, as though they’ve been terrible forever. But, Sonny boy, let me tell you what…when I started watching the NFL in the early Seventies, the Vikings were dominant. Marshall, Page, Siemon, Eller….Krause, the all-time interceptions leader…oh, and on offense? Ron Yary, Ed White, and Fran The Man, who retired with all the passing records. I really fell for this league watching the 1974 NFC Championship Game against the Rams, seeing Lawrence McCutcheon shatter like glass taking a hit at the line. And the 1998 Vikings with Cris Carter and a rookie Randy Moss? Yeah, I know how all that worked out…but tell me with a straight face that this wasn’t a deeply cool team. The Vikings rule. And Adrian Peterson? Unless you’re a Browns or Lions fan, your team doesn’t have a running back to compare. The Vikings rule. Our time will come.

  46. filthymcnasty3 says: Jul 16, 2017 1:05 PM

    Even the hometown newspaper calls it Loserville, USA.

    The MN Vikings.

    Because you can’t have winners, without losers.

  47. lingsun54 says: Jul 16, 2017 1:08 PM

    The Minnesota offensive line makes the Detroit offensive line look like the Great Wall of Dallas. It all starts up front and they just don’t have it. It’s hard to win with Bradford getting .000000000001 yards per pass attempt.

  48. dregonspengler says: Jul 16, 2017 1:18 PM

    taintedsaints2009 says:
    Put Rodgers behind the Vikings offensive line last year and he doesn’t put up much better numbers than Bradford did.


    I disagree with your premise, even while agreeing that Minnesota’s line was horrible.
    Certainly Rodgers’ numbers would be nowhere near where they were playing behind the Packers’ line. But Rodgers’ athleticism, his quickj release, his ability to make plays with his legs and avoid a rush without losing sight of his receivers, and especially his passing accuracy are light years beyond Sam Bradford.
    Rodgers is more athletic and can improvise and make plays out of nothing. Bradford, not so much.
    Even playing behind a terrible line, the superior QB would put up much better numbers — even if they wouldn’t approach what they could have behind a much better line.

  49. finnymcphin says: Jul 16, 2017 1:49 PM

    This is the 13th of these preseason rankings so far and only the very 1st one was right. There is simply no way the Vikes are better than the Skins, Cardinals and Bills or worse than the Ravens and Eagles.

  50. getadealdonealready says: Jul 16, 2017 1:51 PM

    It is funny you would think that packer fans would have something better to do with their time than troll every viking post. You would think a team that has had back to back HOF QB’s would just be happy they are relevant, but I suppose when you compare their HOF QB’s to Tom Terrific they get a complex, because it’s so rare to have one, and Tom has so many more rings than both their 2 guys combined.

    Here is what I will say cheesers enjoy your time on top and with A-rodg, the chances of you getting a 3rd HOF QB in a row are pretty slim, and when you look at how your organization does business it will be a long time till you are on top again (see 1968-1991). Before you spout off about TT, do some research as his guy was “JP Losman”, yep he was hitching the wagon to him in the draft pre-a-rog, oh how things could have been different if Buffalo wouldn’t have snagged him first. So when you say he is a genius know it had just as much to do with luck as making the right choices.

    The more you troll the more it tells me you know the end is near, so keep it up because soon we will never hear from you again.

  51. purpleguy says: Jul 16, 2017 1:57 PM

    Not sure what’s more entertaining: the fact that there are more comments from cheesers than any others, or that some of em lack so much self esteem they’ve got to comment twice. Based on an 8-8 record last year, this ranking is well within reason – the D is good enough, but too much uncertainty at QB and O-line. Not all teams can stumble into a HOF QB in order for their fans to somehow feel superior to all others.

  52. bordner says: Jul 16, 2017 2:04 PM

    Nope. This isn’t right. I personally read comments from viking fans on this very website that Bridgewater will be back and they will have the best QB situation in the league, with Bradford as QB1 and Bridgewater as QB1a. One of those experts even went on to say that a possible QB controversy by Week 8 would be the best possible situation, one that every team would kill to have. He didn’t really say why he thought that, but I’m assuming it was because you don’t want to have a clear-cut leader on your team, that is accepted as the leader by the players, fans and media alike.

    Viking fans are so precious.

  53. alfredogarciashead says: Jul 16, 2017 2:12 PM

    Vikings re going nowhere if they believe Bridgewater is the future. Bradford is light years better. The only reason they would keep espousing the Teddy theme is that Spielman doesn’t want to admit another bust he drafted in the first round as a QB. Not to mention last year’s draft which may be a complete whiff on his part. Here’s how you start rebuilding – fire Spielman.

  54. dregonspengler says: Jul 16, 2017 2:19 PM

    getadealdonealready says:
    It is funny you would think that packer fans would have something better to do with their time than troll every viking post.

    purpleguy says:
    Not sure what’s more entertaining: the fact that there are more comments from cheesers than any others, . . .


    I read comments like such as these all the time from Vikings fans. I never know whether to laugh, or just shake my head in bemusement.
    Have either of you geniuses ever been on a Packers story? Ever heard of Ariani, or cheeseis fattening, or the Dahmer fellow, or countless other Vikings trolls (sadly, they may all be one guy).
    Yes, Packers fans troll Vikings stories. And Vikings fans are equally present on Packers stories. I’ve seen Vikings fans trolling the Packers on Vikings stories where no Packers fan has yet chimed in.
    Although I find it boring, trolling rivals’ stories seems to be what a lot of football fans do. But please, Vikings fans, stop with the crocodile tears and the incessant whining that it’s a one-way street. It’s not.

  55. stellarperformance says: Jul 16, 2017 2:50 PM

    h0metownzero says:
    Jul 16, 2017 10:11 AM
    You can rank them number 20 all you want, but you will never take away their offseason championship.
    ///////////////////////////////////

    Add this to the Loserville moniker: Check out the article by sports columnist Tom Powers in the 7/7/17 issue of the Twin Cities Pioneer Press.

  56. wafflestomp says: Jul 16, 2017 3:34 PM

    taintedsaints2009 says:
    Jul 16, 2017 12:31 PM
    Put Rodgers behind the Vikings offensive line last year and he doesn’t put up much better numbers than Bradford did.
    ———————–
    Or, in other words, have a GM that’s smart enough to build an effective O-line to protect your franchise QB.
    But, then again, you all seem perfectly content with Rick the Mortician.

  57. dobberdubinsky says: Jul 16, 2017 4:53 PM

    It all boils down to the offensive line. If it can hold up, the Vikes will compete for the division, if not itll be similar to the second half of last year.

  58. teal379 says: Jul 16, 2017 4:55 PM

    Legitimate SB aspirations?

    How?

    They lost their QB and got a better one that the guy they lost but still didn’t make the playoffs, even with a 5-0 start.

    There was nothing “legitimate” about their SB aspirations.

    Read those first 2 sentences again – claiming the aspirations before TB went down.

  59. andrwken says: Jul 16, 2017 4:58 PM

    taintedsaints2009 says:
    Jul 16, 2017 12:31 PM
    Put Rodgers behind the Vikings offensive line last year and he doesn’t put up much better numbers than Bradford did.

    /////////

    Nope.

    Not even close.

    Any viking fan will tell you that Ted thompson is a turd who got lucky with one pick.

    Every other part of the team in Minny is better than every other part of the team in GB.

    Rodgers, therefore by the usual rants of Minny trolls, would go undefeated if he played on a team as talented as the vikings.

    We as packer fans have to count our blessing because some day Aaron will be gone and the team will be terrible.

    Please pick one delusion or the other!

  60. jackedupboonie says: Jul 16, 2017 5:17 PM

    Wasn’t it just last year……queen fans were all puffy when they hit #1 in the power rankings and you couldn’t even have a reasonable conversation with em.

  61. cheeseisfattening says: Jul 16, 2017 5:18 PM

    America’s drunkest town, where preseason rankings are celebrated as championships.

  62. milkcan44 says: Jul 16, 2017 5:43 PM

    I think Bridgewater is a hard-working pro, but don’t see how his skill set is better than Bradford’s. I think both will give an equal result.

  63. fansince68 says: Jul 16, 2017 6:25 PM

    Congrats on a solid article Mike Florio. This kind of accurate, in depth writing is why I began reading PFT. More of this less, less social-issue stuff. Please.

    I like it because it’s spot-on…well, at least as I see it. The teams desperately DOES NOT want to make the wrong decision at QB after decades of failure, and their taking the ‘fraidy-cat’ approach. What Parcells said is still true; if you have two, you don’t have one. Still, what choice do they have? Here’s a fact: Zimmer has had to eat the s%*t sandwich every year he’s coached in Minnesota except one: 2015. He is a good coach. Lots of this was unforeseeable. It sucks!

    Anxious to see how it all plays out. Go Vikes.

  64. vikinganswer says: Jul 16, 2017 6:33 PM

    4-12 more likely? I’ll take that bet.

  65. allight59 says: Jul 16, 2017 7:10 PM

    Fixed this one for PFT….

    Biggest positive change: They’ve surrounded Bradford with weapons for the first time in his career. Cook, Murray, McKinnon, Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph and Hodges will make the team top 10 in scoring. Add in top 5 scoring defense and Vikings win NFC North for 2nd time in 3 years….

    Biggest negative change: Perhaps losing Munderlynn, but in Newman and Mckenzie I trust, esp with Zimmer’s history of cornerbacks.

    We’d like to crack a beer with . . . whoever gave Florio whatever he was taking when writing this one up.

    Coaching thermometer: Ice cold. Zimmer gets another extension after season is over.

    How they could prove us wrong: Everything that did go wrong, did, last year. That will not happen again. Vikings are a top 5 team.

  66. djvh2 says: Jul 16, 2017 7:41 PM

    “How they could prove us wrong: Everything that did go wrong, did, last year. That will not happen again. Vikings are a top 5 team.”

    There were a lot of funny comments to be sure, but this one is a belly buster. Actually, they were forced into getting a better QB. Then that QB set the all-time completion pct record and stayed healthy the whole year. None of the above mentioned things that went right will happen again this year.

    While it’s possible the Vikings could have a winning record, it’s very unlikely. Usually, as the QB goes, so does the team. He had his best year ever by far. Even with that, informed people say QB is a question mark on the team.

    Enjoy your season.

  67. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 16, 2017 8:26 PM

    These people still can’t grasp the simple fact that the Packers didn’t fall into two HOF quarterbacks in a row, the Packers built two HOF quarterbacks in a row.

    Brett Favre was an out of shape, drunk, third stringer that Atlanta couldn’t wait to unload and nobody else wanted. The pigtailed masses blew their plastic horns and hopped up and down, squealing with delight at how Ron Wolf had gotten fleeced. Then Mike Holmgren, his staff, and his quarterback school turned Favre into a HOF quarterback.

    Aaron Rodgers will be the first one to tell you that his throwing mechanics and footwork are completely different than when he was drafted. He says despite public perception, Brett Favre “taught him how to throw the football” and Mike McCarthy is the one that taught him how to really read and pick apart defenses.

    Three in a row certainly seems possible.

  68. djvh2 says: Jul 16, 2017 9:49 PM

    About a month ago I posted a reality check. On Vegas Insiders site, Packers were 11/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, while Vikings were 30/1. At the time, I said 30/1 was too high and it’d be 50/1 or worse by Christmas. Well, now Packers are 10/1 and Vikings are 36/1. Reality. Try it.

  69. jimbobcooterqbtutor says: Jul 16, 2017 10:39 PM

    Thoughts on the Vikings from a Lions fan….

    I have a whole lot more optimism for the Vikings than most pundits. I think they adequately repaired their biggest issue, the O-line, with former Lions starting tackle Riley Rieff and Panthers T Mike Remmers.

    Although Rieff never lived up to the nickname “The great barrier Rieff”, he’s an adequate LT with also one year of RT experience who’s never been injured. That alone is a HUGE step up from the ever injured and horribly underperforming Kalil. With Boone and Remmers they should have an adequate/un-exceptional O-line, barring another crazy year with injuries.

    Their D lost some confidence last year but I think they can find their groove again, especially since the head coach also seems to be on the mend.

    I prefer Bradford over Bridgewater. I think he’s more talented, more accurate (very accurate), and just an all-around better QB. To me, I highly, highly, highly doubt that within the Vikings organization they have as many doubts and questions about the QB situation as this article does. I think they’ve made up their minds that Bradford is the guy of the present AND the future, but to placate those who inexplicably favor the overly-cautious Teddy tender-arm, they’re keeping up the facade that he’s still in the mix.

    Obviously, they’re also keeping him around in case Bradford gets broken again, but in my mind, I have no doubt that Bradford is the better QB and everyone in the organization knows it.

    The Lions got super lucky beating the Vikes in one of the games last year. The defense blew a late lead, and with 10 seconds remaining, Stafford threw a 28-yard pass, called TO, and kicked a 58 yard FG as time expired to get into OT, which they won after driving to score a TD on the first possession.

    With the O-line fixed to an adequate level, their head coach returning to health, Bradford solidly entrenched as the franchise QB and their defense rebounding, I think it’s more likely they go 12-4 than 4-12, and think 8-8 is actually their floor.

    P.S. Bradford has never played on a good team. After watching him play, he’s better than I thought, and I think this year he’ll be playing on at least a pretty good team, and if he stays healthy I predict he’ll emerge as a top 12 QB in the league.

  70. getadealdonealready says: Jul 16, 2017 11:13 PM

    milkcan44 says:
    Jul 16, 2017 5:43 PM
    I think Bridgewater is a hard-working pro, but don’t see how his skill set is better than Bradford’s. I think both will give an equal result.

    —————————————————–
    I would agree that Bradford is the more prototypical QB, however Teddy has the intangibles. He is a natural leader and does what is needed to put his team in position to win. We saw the progression and the whole franchise was devastated by his injury, frankly after he went down it’s amazing the squad won more than 2 games. I hope he can return to form, and if he is healthy I don’t think the decision will be tough for the club moving into next year.

  71. tremoluxman says: Jul 16, 2017 11:31 PM

    jimbobcooterqbtutor says:
    Jul 16, 2017 10:39 PM

    Thoughts on the Vikings from a Lions fan….

    ====================

    Thank you from a Viking fan. Your analysis was thoughtful and intelligent, something in short supply in this thread.
    GB fans seem to resent Viking fans for being optimistic about the team. You should read the hometown press and listen to talk radio after they lose. They don’t hold back criticizing the team or coaches. Yeah, we get cranked up every summer. What fan base doesn’t?
    GB fans keep yapping about how many titles the Packers have won. Favre and Rodgers have two between them over the past 20 years. Good for them, but the big glory days were long ago. That was under a whole different set of coaches and personnel. The Vikings have none. So? That was also under different ownership, coaching and personnel.
    Brady & NE have won 5. NE fans aren’t nearly as insufferable about their team as GB fans are about theirs. That’s what annoys Minnesota guys.

  72. gtodriver says: Jul 17, 2017 7:40 AM

    h0metownzero says:

    Sometimes I take for granted that the Packers are better than the Vikings.

    It’s primarily because the Packers are always better than the Vikings.
    ^^^^^^^

    How precious…

    And wrong.

    If the Packers are “always better than the Vikings”, why have the Packers finished behind the Vikings within the NFC North/Central the majority of the time?

    19 times the Vikings have won the NFC North/Central Division compared to only 15 times for your Packers.

    28 playoff appearances for the Vikings compared to only 22 for your Packers over the same time period.

    You’ve had a cute little success run winning 6 of the last 10 division championships – but the Vikings did win 3 during that same period.

    Of course, the Vikings won 9 out of 10 with your Packers only winning 1 time (and they didn’t even score a TD in the playoffs the one year they made it that far.

    The Vikings made the playoffs 16 out of 25 years while the Packers only made the playoffs twice (for those that count the strike year when the Vikings, Packers, Lions and Bucs made the playoffs – despite no one having more than 5 wins) during the same time period.

    But don’t let the truth change your ridiculous statements – we enjoy laughing at you.

  73. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 17, 2017 8:03 AM

    Thank you from a Viking fan. Your analysis was thoughtful and intelligent, something in short supply in this thread.
    GB fans seem to resent Viking fans for being optimistic about the team. You should read the hometown press and listen to talk radio after they lose. They don’t hold back criticizing the team or coaches. Yeah, we get cranked up every summer. What fan base doesn’t?
    GB fans keep yapping about how many titles the Packers have won. Favre and Rodgers have two between them over the past 20 years. Good for them, but the big glory days were long ago. That was under a whole different set of coaches and personnel. The Vikings have none. So? That was also under different ownership, coaching and personnel.
    Brady & NE have won 5. NE fans aren’t nearly as insufferable about their team as GB fans are about theirs. That’s what annoys Minnesota guys.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    We don’t mind optimism; in fact, we encourage it; but when the fans of a team that have been thoroughly owned for the better part of 20 years yip yap about how the team that owns them is terrible and should be run more like their own hapless shipwreck, that is no longer optimism. That’s insanity. Delusion. Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs.

    Now please, go ahead and tell me how I’m wrong and your Vikings are wonderful… because you will prove my point perfectly. Instead of incessantly whining about the Packers, you should be whining at your Vikings. That’s the only way they’re going to change.

  74. fmc651 says: Jul 17, 2017 8:46 AM

    I hope we stop seeing stories with the rankings. It was kind of okay 20 years ago. But it is really just a lazy reporters out because he didn’t feel like doing any actual reporting. They usually are not very good too.
    I mean look at the NFL’s players list they have Fabio at 82. For his 20 tackles and 5 sacks in 16 games. Absurd. He doesn’t belong in the top 200.

  75. fmc651 says: Jul 17, 2017 8:58 AM

    artvandelay919 says:
    Jul 16, 2017 10:41 AM

    Junk team. Junk fans.

    ))))))))))))))))))))))))

    Worse than junk comment. What is your team Art?

  76. gtodriver says: Jul 17, 2017 9:44 AM

    The Almighty Cabbage says:

    We don’t mind optimism; in fact, we encourage it; but when the fans of a team that have been thoroughly owned for the better part of 20 years yip yap about how the team that owns them is terrible and should be run more like their own hapless shipwreck, that is no longer optimism. That’s insanity. Delusion. Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs.
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    The Vikings have won the division 5 times in the last 20 years. They made the playoffs another 3 times.

    The Vikings have never been disgustingly bad for decades – unlike your Packers (late 60’s, all of the 70’s, all of the 80’s and then the early 90’s).

    When you lookup shipwreck in the dictionary, they have a link to the Packers website…

    You’ve had a cute little run of success, winning 4 consecutive NFC North titles (2011 – 2014), but you need to win the next 5 NFC North/Central titles in a row to merely tie the Vikings string of 6 in a row.

    Try winning the division 9 0ut of 10 years for once and get back to me…

  77. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 17, 2017 10:25 AM

    gtodriver says:
    Jul 17, 2017 9:44 AM

    The Vikings have won the division 5 times in the last 20 years. They made the playoffs another 3 times.

    The Vikings have never been disgustingly bad for decades – unlike your Packers (late 60’s, all of the 70’s, all of the 80’s and then the early 90’s).

    When you lookup shipwreck in the dictionary, they have a link to the Packers website…

    You’ve had a cute little run of success, winning 4 consecutive NFC North titles (2011 – 2014), but you need to win the next 5 NFC North/Central titles in a row to merely tie the Vikings string of 6 in a row.

    Try winning the division 9 0ut of 10 years for once and get back to me…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And there, ladies and gentlemen, is perfect proof of what I was saying. This guy actually believes the Vikings are better than the Packers. He would rather the Vikings keep doing exactly what they’re doing, while the Packers keep doing what they’re doing. Perfect! I want those very same things.

    Now that we’re all agreed on what our teams should do, what shall we talk about?

  78. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 17, 2017 10:27 AM

    I’m with you guys. May the Minnesota Vikings never, ever, ever, change their ways.

  79. The Phantom Stranger says: Jul 17, 2017 10:52 AM

    So let me get this straight. Last year, the Vikings lost their starting quarterback and brought in a new one a week before the season started. This year, they know exactly who their starting quarterback is, he’s been working with the team the whole offseason, and the offense has been adjusted to fit the quarterback’s skills. So now the Vikings are expected to be worse than last year because they aren’t sure who their quarterback will be in 2018?

    Okay, then.

  80. electricboogalo says: Jul 17, 2017 11:07 AM

    They might be able to beat the Bears.

  81. Carl Gerbschmidt says: Jul 17, 2017 1:02 PM

    The Phantom Stranger says:
    Jul 17, 2017 10:52 AM
    So let me get this straight. Last year, the Vikings lost their starting quarterback and brought in a new one a week before the season started. This year, they know exactly who their starting quarterback is, he’s been working with the team the whole offseason, and the offense has been adjusted to fit the quarterback’s skills. So now the Vikings are expected to be worse than last year because they aren’t sure who their quarterback will be in 2018?

    ———–

    Your offense is terrible and did not get any better. Your defense got worse. I’m shocked you’re 20th. That’s very generous of Mike and I’m assuming reflects the influence of PA.

  82. fmc651 says: Jul 17, 2017 1:19 PM

    The biggest negative isn’t the QB position but the offensive line. The GM addressed that position in the draft and FA. Mike must have missed when Zim stated Bradford is the stater right after the season ended. Another thing worth noting is that was not the offense needs to get some production from a former #1 pick Treadwell this year . The local papers are saying he looks good this spring.They also stated that Treadwell asked to go on IR last year. He was still dealing with an injury from college.

  83. fmc651 says: Jul 17, 2017 1:27 PM

    smstonerock says:
    Jul 16, 2017 8:57 AM

    Lions whoopin that a** didn’t help them much either last year.
    ))))))))))))))))))
    You weren’t paying attention last year I see. That never happened. The Lions won the first game because Walsh missed an extra point or the Lions go 8-8. And the Vikings are in the playoffs at 9-7.

  84. mrdarkness13 says: Jul 17, 2017 1:49 PM

    I have a wait and see attitude about the whole QB situation and I having a feeling by November the Vikes will know who will be under center for 2018. They finished 8-8, three of those loses should have never happened. The Detroit games and Redskins game. An 8-8 season where basically you were grabbing offensive linemen off the street is still pretty good. The Packers much like the Vikings put all their eggs in one basket as well with Rodgers figuring he is going to Hail Mary a victory every week – The Packers were two Hail Marys from being 8-8 last year. Lets just play the games huh?

  85. fmc651 says: Jul 17, 2017 1:50 PM

    packer fans talking about the “Vikings goofy Ikea stadium” when they still have aluminum benches like small high school’s do. The only people saying that isn’t a beautiful place is packer fans. Pay attention when you are watching the SB this year in that stadium.

  86. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 17, 2017 3:50 PM

    When you say “Oh yeah? Well, there was a 25 year period when your Packers were as hapless as our Vikings have been for their entire existence” it doesn’t really bother us.

    The Packers stunk during that period. We know it now just like we knew it then. We certainly didn’t run around beating our chests yammering how the Packers were better than… well, anyone.

    The aluminum benches have stayed because we voted for them to stay… in the third largest of all NFL stadiums. I’m sure your quaint little McStadium is just lovely; in fact, I hope to visit it… on February 4th.

  87. allight59 says: Jul 17, 2017 4:10 PM

    I hope to visit it… on February 4th
    ————
    Surprised you want to watch the Vikings play in the Superbowl. But, good…good for you.

  88. fansince68 says: Jul 17, 2017 4:55 PM

    The Almighty Cabbage:

    And there, ladies and gentlemen, is perfect proof of what I was saying. This guy actually believes the Vikings are better than the Packers…

    **********************************

    There’s little doubt of that. Minnesota has a vastly superior team than Green Bay but compare poorly at QB. I’d like to say McCarthy isn’t as good as Zimmer, but can’t. It hurts me to say Zimmer is entering his fourth year with no playoff wins. Hell, Mike Tice did that. I admire his honesty and believe him when he speaks, but there’s more to coaching than being a stand up guy.

  89. The Almighty Cabbage says: Jul 17, 2017 6:25 PM

    And another one… there must be something in the water over there.

    How many wins over the lowly Packers have these powerhouse Vikings racked up this decade? Three? Yep. That’s how many. Three. And one tie. A tie isn’t much but it keeps the 11 losses from being 12 losses.

    How many playoff wins have these mighty, mighty Minnesota Vikings racked up in the last dozen years? One? Yeah, that’s light years ahead of the Packers.

    I hope the Vikings stay this much better than the Packers until the end of time.

  90. nyneal says: Jul 17, 2017 7:03 PM

    I’m laughing at some of the Vikings posts, especially the one raving about the 70’s Vikings of Carl Eller, Allen Page, etc… He says they were “dominant” yet how many Super Bowl Championships did they win? None, of course. Every time they got to the Super Bowl, the AFC teams ran all over those Purple People Eaters. The bottom line is, those guys weren’t big enough to play against those AFC teams and it showed up big time in the Super Bowls they lost.
    Vikings fans also point out the Packers had many lean years where they were a doormat. That is absolutely true. After dominating for so long in the 60’s, they fell on lean years. But this happens to every team because when you win, you draft down low and it’s harder to sustain winning than it is to achieve it. And now with free agency, the best teams lose key players because other teams want players who know how to win.
    Still — the bottom line is the Packers are the greatest team in NFL history because they’ve won more championships than anyone else.
    And in their 55 years plus of being in the NFL, the fact is the Vikings have never won even one championship. I thought they had the most talent in 1998 when they won 15 games and made it to the NFC championship game. But then they pulled a big choke and lost to a Falcons team which was clearly not as good. If ever the Vikings should have won a Super Bowl, I believe that was the year. In fact, the NFL Network named that Vikings team as the 4th greatest team NOT to win a Super Bowl.
    It looks like this will be another year of heartache for the Vikings, but you never know. Stranger things have happened.
    Meanwhile, I can assure you that Packers fans are optimistic that they can win the NFCN once again and have a shot at getting to the Super Bowl.
    Good luck Vikings fans. And remember — they don’t hand the Lombardi Trophy to anyone in October.

  91. stellarperformance says: Jul 17, 2017 7:18 PM

    fmc651 says:
    Jul 17, 2017 1:50 PM
    packer fans talking about the “Vikings goofy Ikea stadium” when they still have aluminum benches like small high school’s do. The only people saying that isn’t a beautiful place is packer fans. Pay attention when you are watching the SB this year in that stadium.
    //////////////////////////////////////////

    I think the US Bank Stadium is beautiful…….from the outside. The inside is nothing special. They built a conventional concrete stadium, stuffed too many, too small, seats into it, and built a spectacular box around it. I’ve been to two games there. I can attest it’s a helluva lot easier negotiating past fans in the bleachers without folding seats and compressed knees and two oversized drinkholders in the way.

  92. fmc651 says: Jul 18, 2017 1:01 AM

    Fanswince 68 – come on really Walsh kicks a 27 yard FG and Coach Zimmer has that playoff win for you. Yeah that was all Zims fault.

  93. fmc651 says: Jul 18, 2017 1:21 AM

    nyneal still counting up those championships when the packers didn’t play in a playoff game. That is right 3 of the “World Titles” the packers claim, they didn’t win a playoff game. Kind of like the year they went 15-1. The only team in NFL history to do that.

  94. fansince68 says: Jul 18, 2017 1:47 AM

    The Almighty Cabbage embarrassed himself again by saying:

    And another one… there must be something in the water over there.

    **********************

    Are there pills for stupidity? You should invest in some.

    A relatively healthy Vikings team (only missing their best player for most of the game) beat the Packers last year with a QB who had been on the team for a week. Let that sink in. After the complete collapse that followed there were few Viking fan who believed they’d beat a red hot Rodgers in Green Bay. It’s a QB and head coach driven league, and Green Bay is better in those areas. No denying it.

    10-6 vs. 8-8. Not a lot of difference. If the Vikes get even half-way decent play from Bradford and the offense they’ll beat the Packers like a drum.

  95. lambeaudungbarn says: Jul 18, 2017 9:25 AM

    You know the Vikings had a good draft after all, the core of the team is solid on Defense, ALL the marbles are on the Offensive line. Lets not forget they played 5 games before the O-line gave up the ghost. There have been Coaching changes where there needed to be, and personel changes there too!
    Bradford impressed the hell out of me last year, he has a beautiful accurate deep ball and is a lot tougher than I expected. But like any QB he needs more than 2.5-3 seconds to get it there.
    Dalvin Cook is another wild card, his unfamiliar face and natural talent just may add the offensive punch they need.
    I don’t see Minnesota going 8-8 again, this team is either going to tank or shock the hell out of the division.
    Remember ONE hit to Rodgers and the Packers are done for the year. The Lions are legit and may open the door for a Wildcard or better for the Vikings. Spielman made some tough decisions, but Kalil, and Peterson were a handicap,
    Another area to watch is Treadwell, he either makes it this year or his #3 position is toast and so is he. I think he is a chump myself and Spielman needs to take the best player instead of picking a player just to fit the need. Remember Ponder? Waynes? Floyd? Patterson? All 1st round busts.

  96. usdcoyotesfan says: Jul 18, 2017 1:02 PM

    12 spots too high.

  97. duffsbeer19 says: Jul 18, 2017 2:56 PM

    So the Vikings have top 12 defense. They were 5-0 before the break. After the break they had two injured oline, eagles decimated them.

    Confidence shattered, further injuries to o-line. jake long, andre smith brought it and injured.

    A team cannot do anything but basic plays when the oline cannot perform anything but basic blocking schemes. This showed with the change in how Bradford used short dump passes to Rudolph and RBs. I don’t think their starting line up this year is going to get them a 5-0 start but it should be better than the 3-8 dumpster fire it became in week 7.

  98. jimnsota says: Jul 19, 2017 8:12 AM

    Its simple, if the offense can sustain drives and average 21-24 pts per game they will have a winning record. If the offense continues to fail converting on short yardage and kicking/missing field goals it will be a below 500 team.
    The defense is good enough to hold teams, but they cannot carry them.

  99. jimmysee says: Jul 20, 2017 9:07 AM

    Kaepernick could really help this team.

  100. carlpanzramwasatypicalminnesotan says: Jul 23, 2017 10:26 AM

    Minnesotans really drag the average IQ of Americans down quite a bit.

    Here is a fun little sampling of the arguments I’ve seen:

    -The Vikings had a lot of stuff go wrong last year. It’s not possible that the packers had any injuries or anything. (This is particularly funny because when the Packers lead the league with people on IR, it’s an excuse, but when the Vikings lose one or two people to injury, it’s bad luck and they’d have clearly won 19 Super Bowls last season)

    – The Vikings are the only team that got better during the offseason. Every other team will regress. As such, the Vikings will win the Super Bowl for the next 40 years.

    – Division wins from the 70’s and 80’s are both more important and more relevant than any of the Packers Super Bowl wins or Championships.

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