ESPN's team of experts compiled their thoughts on where the 32 NFL teams rank at this point in time, and the Minnesota Vikings fared relatively well. The Vikings found themselves in tenth place after the post-free agency Power Rankings, and the draft bumped them up one spot to #9.
Often, the surprise upstart playoff team takes an ugly step back the year following its breakthrough. The Eagles in 2014. The Chargers last year. The second season of "Friday Night Lights." The Vikings could be such a team, but they shouldn't get discouraged if it happens. Clear eyes, full hearts can't lose.
It's mind-blowing to me how people can project the possibility of a "disappointment" for a team that went 11-5 last season and hasn't suffered any significant losses since the end of the 2015 season. But, people are going to do it anyway.
Among the NFC North teams, the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions flip-flopped spots from the post-free agency rankings, with the Lions going from #25 to #24 and the Bears going from #24 to #25. Not surprisingly, ESPN has the Green Bay Packers ranked at #3 overall, behind only the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers.
Key additions: DT Kenny Clark, OT Jason Spriggs. Key losses: Eddie Lacy's gut. Last year's Packers won 10 games without Jordy Nelson and more or less without Lacy. There are worse bets than Aaron Rodgers turning it around in 2016.
Anointing the Packers as NFC North champions before Memorial Day and almost totally writing off the Minnesota Vikings?
Well. . .old habits die hard, I guess.