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ESPN writers predict Vikings to do well in 2018, but how well?

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It depends on who you ask, apparently

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Following the release of the 2018 National Football League schedule, as they’ve done every year, the writers for each of the 32 NFL teams at ESPN went game-by-game to predict their respective team’s schedules for the upcoming season. All of the writers seem to expect the Vikings to do well in 2018, but how well they do depends, apparently, on who you ask.

Courtney Cronin, the lead writer for the Vikings at ESPN, has predicted a 10-6 record for the Vikings in 2018. However. . .and thanks to the folks from Reddit for doing the research on this first. . .if you go through the schedules of the Vikings’ opponents and see how their writers from ESPN expect their teams to do in their games against Minnesota, you actually get the Vikings finishing with a 12-4 mark.

Here’s how the win-loss predictions for the Vikings look from both perspectives:

ESPN 2018 Vikings Schedule Predictions

Week Opponent Cronin Pick Cronin Record ESPN Writer Pick ESPN Pick Record
Week Opponent Cronin Pick Cronin Record ESPN Writer Pick ESPN Pick Record
1 San Francisco 49ers W 1-0 W 1-0
2 at Green Bay Packers L 1-1 L 1-1
3 Buffalo Bills W 2-1 W 2-1
4 at Los Angeles Rams L 2-2 L 2-2
5 at Philadelphia Eagles W 3-2 W 3-2
6 Arizona Cardinals W 4-2 W 4-2
7 at New York Jets W 5-2 W 5-2
8 New Orleans Saints L 5-3 W 6-2
9 Detroit Lions W 6-3 W 7-2
10 BYE WEEK
11 at Chicago Bears W 7-3 W 8-2
12 Green Bay Packers W 8-3 W 9-2
13 at New England Patriots L 8-4 L 9-3
14 at Seattle Seahawks L 8-5 W 10-3
15 Miami Dolphins W 9-5 W 11-3
16 at Detroit Lions L 9-6 L 11-4
17 Chicago Bears W 10-6 W 12-4

If you want to see the full breakdown from each ESPN NFL team writer, they’re all listed right here.

The two games where there are differences are in italics. Cronin (currently) expects the Vikings to lose their NFC Divisional Playoff rematch to the New Orleans Saints and drop their Monday Night Football trip to CenturyLink Field against the Seattle Seahawks, while the Saints and Seahawks’ writers picked the Vikings to win those two games. The other 14 games have identical results, hence the difference between 10-6 and 12-4. Obviously, we’re really far away from these games actually happening, and things could change between now and then, but that’s where we’re currently at from both perspectives.

Both of these breakdowns have the Vikings going 4-2 against their NFC North opponents, sweeping the Chicago Bears and splitting their home-and-home series with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. They also have the Vikings going 3-1 in their inter-conference matchups against the AFC East, with both picking the purple to fall to Tom Brady and the Patriots while defeating the other three squads.

I’m a bit biased, obviously, but I feel that 10-6 should be viewed as the absolute floor for this team, barring a 2016-esque collection of injuries to both sides of the football. Obviously, I hope that the outcomes fall closer to the 12-4 side of things (or better), but in any event, it should be another season that includes January football (at the very least) for the Minnesota Vikings.