Well, it’s almost September, and that means it’s almost time for real football games that matter. And while there has never been a shortage of speculation about how well the Vikings, or any other team for that matter, might do this season, here is a kaleidoscope of predictions, punditry, odds, and commentary on the eve of the regular season... in no particular order....
Adrian Peterson is gone. In his place is rookie Dalvin Cook. It's odd to think a second-round pick could be an upgrade on a future Hall of Famer, but Cook fits the type of offense these Vikings want to run better than "All Day" did. Cook should get a workhorse role from the get-go. The rookie owns a willingness to lower his shoulder between the tackles, speed to the edge and he can make plays in the passing game. It should be his show in 2017. -Kevin Patra, nfl.com
Ceiling: 12-4. Peruse this Vikings roster up and down, and you'll find a hornet's nest of talent. In this scenario, the front seven stays upright and intact, making it one of the best in the game -- certainly 12-4 worthy. Sam Bradford completes 71 percent of his passes again, but this time with a few chunk plays mixed in.
Floor: 6-10. Free-agent additions Riley Reiff (LT) and Mike Remmers (RT) fail to bolster what was a team weakness in 2016. The Vikings get nothing from 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell again. Terence Newman reveals he is 600 years old, and neither Trae Waynes nor Mackensie Alexander steps up to effectively man the side opposite Xavier Rhodes (SEE: Patrick Peterson in Arizona for a similar situation). Bradford dinks and dunks 'til you drop.
Tipping point: Dalvin Cook rushes for, say, 1,250 yards and takes home the OROY award -- plus-2 wins if that happens. -Elliot Harrison, nfl.com
There are, and will be, more predictions to be sure, but I think these give a general tone to how national media outlets and sports writers view the Vikings prospects this year. By and large, the view is for a mediocre season, somewhere around .500 winning percentage, probably not all that much different from last year.
I often have a somewhat negative view of national media takes on the Vikings, as they often seem rather ill-informed, as they haven’t taken the time to really look at any given team, and instead focus on a few marquee players and often times extend the previous year results into the upcoming season. And so it seems again here. I’ll be out soon with my own predictions, with hopefully a little more to back them up, too.