At least, not according to the folks at the mothership, in any event.
Our friends at the SB Nation NFL hub took a look at the eight teams that finished in fourth place in their division last season. Of the eight teams that had that distinction in 2011, only two were given less of a chance than the Minnesota Vikings of making the leap from last place to first place in their respective division.
Here's what they said about the Vikings' chances.
The Vikings, like the Bucs, very well could be a lot better in 2012. But, like the Bucs, they're in a tough spot with the talent in their own division. The Vikings are very unlikely to topple the Packers, and even the Lions and Bears are ahead of them at this point.
As long as they have a healthy Adrian Peterson, they'll be competitive, but winning the division is unlikely at this point considering arguably the best team in the NFL, the Packers, reside in the same division.
For starters, I do believe that the New York Football Giants would take at least a little bit of an issue with the Packers being called the best team in the NFL. You know, taking into consideration that the Giants hoisted that big silver trophy last year and thrashed the Packers in the process of doing so. (I mean, wasn't that the rule the year before? If you're the champion, you're obviously the best team?)
Other than that. . .I can't argue much with what they have to say. Yes, the Vikings could be a dramatically improved football team this year. . .I'm still expecting 8-8, which would be a dramatic improvement over last year's showing. . .but that doesn't mean they're making the leap to the top of the division. Not in 2012, anyway. It's entirely possible. . .maybe even likely. . .that they finish fourth again. But they won't be as bad as they were last year.
Of the other fourth-place teams, I think they got it right in selecting the Kansas City Chiefs as being the most obvious chance of going from worst-to-first. The Chiefs had a lot of injuries last year, and even with Peyton Manning ending up in Denver, they're not a lock or anything. The Vikings really could have been anywhere from second to sixth on that list, in my opinion.
What say you, ladies and gentlemen?