Well, it is the first week of June, which means we're long overdue for some full-season NFL predictions. Over at USA Today, Nate Davis has apparently done a full projection of the 2014 NFL season, and. . .well, it apparently isn't promising for our favorite football team.
Vikings 3-13: If the 2008 or 2010 version of Matt Cassel shows up, this might be playoff team. That's a big if.
Yeah, that's what it says. Kind of a strange take on things, if you ask me. In 2013, if the Vikings could have figured out how to cover Martellus Bennett or how to cover Jordan Cameron or how to cover Dwayne Harris or how to play defense at all in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field or play defense for approximately thirty seconds at Baltimore, they could have been a ten-win team and (potentially) won the NFC North. This despite the defense being among the worst in team history, the circus this team had at quarterback, and a coaching staff that had largely worn out their welcome by mid-season.
I know the Vikings aren't a popular pick to do a whole heck of a lot in 2014, but a 3-13 projection seems to be a little on the silly side. Biased though I am, I simply have a hard time seeing where this team has gotten worse since they walked off the field against the Lions last December.
Quarterback? Well, it hasn't gotten any worse, I don't think. . .and depending on how quickly Teddy Bridgewater can pick up the offense, it might be a whole lot better in a hurry.
Running back? Not as long as Adrian Peterson still has a pulse.
Wide receiver? Cordarrelle Patterson continues to develop, Greg Jennings is still solid (and always open), and the rest of the depth chart is basically the same.
Tight end? Kyle Rudolph is back, and as I said a while ago, don't sleep on undrafted rookie A.C. Leonard. Chase Ford has a spot on this team, too, and played pretty well in Rudolph's absence last season.
Offensive line? Still pretty solid across the board, more so if David Yankey can take Charlie Johnson's spot at left guard like I think he can.
Defensive line? Maybe the one position you could feasibly argue the Vikings have gotten worse at, depending on how much you think Jared Allen and/or Kevin Williams still has to offer. But with Linval Joseph and some of the other pieces the Vikings have brought in, I don't think that's the case at all.
Linebacker? Well, there's really nowhere to go but up for the linebacker corps. Anthony Barr will bring a different dimension.
Secondary? Harrison Smith is back and healthy, Captain Munnerlyn is in the mix, Josh Robinson will not be jammed into the slot role this season (where he was awful), and Chris Cook is no longer this team's problem after being (arguably) the worst corner in football last season. Again, hard for me to say that this unit has gotten worse.
Coaching? Hmmmmm. . .Leslie Frazier, Bill Musgrave, and Alan Williams or Mike Zimmer, Norv Turner, and George Edwards? Tough choice there, except it's really not.
So yeah. . .3-13 seems like an awfully harsh prediction for the Minnesota Vikings. Sadly, I don't think it will be the last one of those we see this pre-season. But there's a very good chance that the Vikings won't be anywhere near that bad.