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ESPN projects how many victories the 2018 Vikings will have

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Using their Football Power Index

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As long as we’re doing projections for things, the folks from ESPN have given us another one to chew on for a bit. And hey, it isn’t even behind the great E$PN paywall!

The folks from Bristol have used their Football Power Index, a system that they say measures each team’s offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency, to predict an average win total for each NFL team for the 2018 season. For the Vikings, the average apparently comes out to 9.4 wins for the 2018 season. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but only four teams have a higher average, according to ESPN’s numbers. One of them is the Green Bay Packers at 9.5 wins, which is apparently based solely on the existence of Aaron Rodgers.

ESPN then asked all of their NFL reporters whether they thought their teams would go over or under that projected win total. Courtney Cronin, who covers the Vikings for ESPN, made the only truly correct prediction, picking the Vikings to go over that 9.4 projected win total.

The Vikings’ runner-up finish in the NFC was no fluke. Minnesota has elite playmakers on offense and is backed by the league’s No. 1 defense. With Kirk Cousins taking the reins in hopes of leading this team past where it left off last season, it’s not unreasonable to expect 10 or 11 wins at a minimum in 2018. It certainly won’t be easy with a schedule that features road games against the Rams, Eagles, Patriots and Seahawks. The NFC North is also no cakewalk. Still, the Vikings are one of the league’s most complete teams and are in the right position for another deep postseason run.

As I’ve said numerous times in this space before, barring just an unbearable spate of injuries, 10 wins for this team in 2018 should be considered the absolute minimum. There’s just way, way too much talent here for the record to be any worse than that.

It’s worth noting that, in what might be the best example of hope springing eternal when it comes to June in the National Football League, only three of ESPN’s 32 NFL writers picked the teams they cover to go under their projected win total for 2018. Only Mike Rodak (who covers the Miami Dolphins), John Weinfuss (the writer for the Arizona Cardinals), and Pat McManamon (who follows the Cleveland Browns) predicted their teams would win fewer games than the average predicted by the FPI. So, based on that logic, the 2018 season in the National Football League is going to be Jeff Fisher’s dream come true, as every team is apparently going to go at least 7-9.

Do you think the Vikings go over the 9.4 projected wins that ESPN’s Football Power Index gives them? If you don’t, honestly, what’s wrong with you why not?