Hat tip to The Viking Age for finding this one first.
With the release of the 2018 NFL regular season schedule less than 24 hours away, at least one outlet is already predicting gloom and doom for the defending NFC North champions. Well, relative gloom and doom, anyway.
Sporting News NFL writer Tadd Haislop is putting the Minnesota Vikings on a 9-7 record for the upcoming season. Yes, that’s nine victories.
There isn’t much reason to expect a big drop-off this season for the Vikings, so the focus turns to their opponents. If teams like the Bears, Lions, Rams and 49ers take the steps of improvement many expect them to take, the strength of Minnesota’s schedule will increase significantly. Some of those non-divisional NFC games on the schedule will have the Vikings thinking about the playoffs, but their first priority should be defending their NFC North title.
Look, I can understand if you don’t want to predict the Vikings to go 13-3 again or whatever. I can even understand why you think the Vikings’ opponents are going to be better in 2018 than they were in 2017. They probably will be.
Of course, the Vikings will be better, too. After all, all they’ve done this offseason is
- Sign the best quarterback to actually reach free agency since Drew Brees back in 2006.
- Add one of the hottest young offensive coordinator prospects in the league, a guy that actually had head coaching offers and left a team that won a Super Bowl because he liked what Minnesota had to offer.
- Retained ten of the eleven starters on the defense that finished #1 in the NFL in points and yardage allowed, and replaced the one that left with a former first-round pick with a ton of talent.
- Gotten their young, potential superstar running back healthy and ready to pick up where he left off before he was injured.
Oh, and they still have the draft coming up, where they can continue to strengthen a roster that has very few holes.
Oh, and they’re still led by one of the best head coaches in the National Football League.
Honestly, in 2018, the only thing that should be able to stop the Minnesota Vikings is the Minnesota Vikings. Now, granted, the Vikings have a hell of a track record of doing exactly that, but even with other teams around them improving, a prediction of 9-7 seems pretty absurd.