Welcome to the 3rd ever edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race in the Perspective of Chase’, an almost daily NFL article about your favorite team. So far we have done the Miami Dolphins and the Arizona Cardinals if you want to check that out. We are also doing something very similar to this about the NBA on the Cool Sports Newsletter if you want to check that out as well. So far we have done the Philadelphia 76ers. What has Minnesota done in recent seasons? Lets, get into it!
Ever since the Minneapolis Miracle season in 2017 where they went 13-3, the Minnesota Vikings have lived in mediocrity, making the playoffs in only one of the past four seasons. In that playoff year in 2019, they beat the Saints, again, and haven’t won a playoff game since. And when I say they’ve been mediocre since 2017, I mean, from the 2018-2021 seasons, the Minnesota Vikings have a 33-30-1 record. But this team has a lot of talent.
Last season, the Minnesota Vikings finished the season with an 8-9 record, putting them 2nd in a weaker NFC North division. However, they have missed some of their key players due to injury. Except that’s what everyone thinks. However, they actually haven’t had too many injuries. This team has just underperformed. However, they are always a dangerous team to play for a contender because of that talent. They have Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks and others. I didn’t even mention their quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Or should I have not?
This offseason, the Vikings have really upgraded their defense. Even though they let go Michael Pierce to Baltimore, they stole Z’Darius Smith from Baltimore when Smith was about to sign there. They also signed Jordan Hicks who had a breakout year as an outside linebacker last season and they signed a WR 3 or WR 4, Albert Wilson, to a 1 year deal. They’re running it back with more defensive talent. Except, with a new coach. After 8 seasons with the team, a 74-59-1 (55.64%) record, three playoff appearances (one NFC championship) and a 2-3 playoff record, Mike Zimmer was fired early on in the offseason, and replaced by Kevin O’Connell. O’Connell is a former NFL quarterback who threw six passes for the New England Patriots in the 2008 season. As a coach, he’s spent three seasons as an offensive coordinator, including the last two seasons with the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams. After running a defensive type system under Zimmer for eight seasons, they’re changing the dynamic of their team with an offensive minded coach.
And to be honest, this makes sense. At first I didn’t know if they should have got rid of Zimmer since they were consistently competitive with him, but at the same time if your team is continuously staying in mediocrity and not exactly competing for a championship with the talent that they have, you have to let him go. I am actually very surprised though that no one has hired him as a defensive coordinator or defensive coach yet. But O’Connell is the right coach for Minnesota. He led the Rams to one of the best offenses in the NFL with wide receiver Cooper Kupp, that had the 2nd most receiving yards in a season in NFL history last year. Imagine what Justin Jefferson is going to do this season!
The Vikings, earlier this offseason, signed Kirk Cousins to a one year contract extension, locking him in until the end of the 2023 season. But was that the right move? I mean Cousins has put up good numbers over his last few seasons with the Vikings, the reason why he’s made two Pro Bowl games over the past three seasons, but a lot of that is predicated towards the receivers they have and the running game with Dalvin Cook which opens up the passing game for him. He just seems to be the only weak link to this team. I mean, they got rid of Case Keenum, who wasn’t even a special quarterback, with around the same talent, and Kirk hasn’t made it to the point Keenum did. He seems to be holding back this team.
However, who else would they get? Not really anyone. They are kind of stuck with Cousins. But, he’s not showing too much value to his team. At the end of the day, the quarterback position is the most important, and valuable position in the NFL. In the NFC, the Vikings will have to go against the Packers, Cardinals, Rams, Buccaneers, Cowboys and others. Those teams all have arguably top 10 quarterbacks in the entire NFL. And when your quarterback is a giant step below everyone else, that is the difference come postseason time. And I think until a quarterback truly becomes available in the open market, Minnesota will be stuck with a quarterback who’s good don’t get me wrong, but won’t elevate your team the way other quarterbacks do.
My prediction: Minnesota will compete for a playoff spot, maybe get in as the 7th seed, but nothing further because of how other teams have their quarterback elevate them to success.
Wiz Talk with Chase
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