Behind the great E$PN paywall, we have another article that says “it’s about two weeks until Training Camp and we need stuff to talk about.”
The folks from Bristol have put together their “Future Power Rankings,” in which they attempt to project which teams are in the best shape for the next three seasons. They grade each team in five weighted categories: roster (30% of the final score), quarterback (20%), draft (15%), front office (15%), and coaching (20%).
You would think that a team with as much solid young talent as the Minnesota Vikings have would find themselves pretty high in something like this. You would think that. . .and you’d be wrong. They ranked right in the middle of the pack at #16 in these rankings, and the breakdown looks like this:
Here’s their commentary about why the Vikings rank the way they do, according to three of ESPN’s NFL writers.
Why they're here: Sam Bradford played well on short notice as the starter last year following Teddy Bridgewater's devastating knee injury right before the season. Now Bradford is just a year away from free agency and Bridgewater is still not ready to return to the field. There's so much to like about the roster on defense (two-time Pro-Bowler Anthony Barr is still just 25), but the uncertainty surrounding the quarterback spot drags them down in these rankings. -- Field Yates
Biggest worry: The health of head coach Mike Zimmer -- who has now had eight surgeries on his right eye to correct a detached retina -- is the first thing that comes to mind for the Vikings. He is old school in every sense of the word, and I love and respect that in a head coach. But you need to have the ability to know when to say "when" and to value your health over your profession. Here's to hoping that the worst of Zimmer's eye issues are behind him -- and if they aren't, that he and the team have a plan. -- Louis Riddick
What could change for the better: The Vikings got their lowest ranking (21st) in QB outlook, but their recent decision-making at the position suggests they could outperform expectations there. Bridgewater looked like a solid selection before he got hurt. The move to acquire Bradford in an emergency was defensible and could work out better in the future if Minnesota can get its offensive line figured out (Bradford is more dependent upon protection than more creative QBs). -- Mike Sando
This ranking puts the Vikings second among NFC North teams, behind only the one-man band from Green Bay. Detroit comes in at #18, while Chicago is far down the list at #29.
I’m not sure how accurate these rankings are, to be honest. I get that the quarterback situation is a bit up in the air, but I’m just crazy enough to think that this team will be just fine regardless of whether it’s Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. (If they lose both those guys after this year? Yeah, then it’s panic time.) The roster grade seems a bit low, too, given that Pro Football Focus just pegged the Vikings has having a Top 12 roster in the National Football League.
But this team is loaded with young talent on defense, and the offensive side of the ball looks like it might be starting to catch up a little bit. I have a sneaky suspicion that when ESPN does these rankings next season, the Vikings are going to be significantly higher than they were in this year’s edition.