Yes, it’s not even June. Yes, the Minnesota Vikings haven't yet traded Dalvin Cook. Yes, the Vikings probably punched way above their weight last year.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to disregard all of those things for a minute. Prepare to enter the way too early regular-season record prediction.
I’ll cut straight to the chase:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Week 1, US Bank Stadium - W (1-0)
With Tommy Touchdowns now fully retired, the Vikings will start the season on a winning note. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson will outclass Baker Mayfield and Mike Evans through the air. A new-look Vikings D will surely miss a few cues as they get used to regular-season pace, but the Vikes' pass-first offense will crush a defense that allowed the third most passing TDs of any team last season. Vikes by a TD or two.
Philadelphia Eagles, Week 2, Lincoln Financial Field - L (1-1)
Unfortunately for the Vikings, this is one of the easiest games to call of the year. Eagles by a couple of possessions because we suck against them in Philly and the Eagles are the better team. Philly by a couple of scores, like last year.
San Diego Chargers, Week 3, US Bank Stadium - W (2-1)
This is the first game of the season that is tough to declare. I’m giving it to the Vikings because they will be at home, but it will be close. This will be the first game where I will stop giving Brian Flores’ defense the benefit of the experience doubt as a competent system should have it together, or look like it is. With two quarterbacks loaded with receiving talent, it will be an entertaining game.
This one could very well come down to who plays better on defense, or if the Vikings have found a talent at running back... The Chargers were 3rd worst (by yds allowed) at stopping the rush last year. Vikes by a kick.
Carolina Panthers, Week 4, Bank of America Stadium - L (2-2)
The Vikings will travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers and #1 overall pick Bryce Young... and WR Adam Theilen. The Vikings could win this game on offense but will lose it on defense against a feisty squad with something (or someone) to prove. Panthers by a field goal.
Kansas City Chiefs, Week 5, US Bank Stadium - L (2-3)
Super Bowl Champs, Patrick Mahomes, yeah yeah yeah. This game will be closer than many people think, but like their last meeting in 2019 (@ Arrowhead), the result will remain the same. This game will be lost in the trenches, where Kansas City clearly has the edge. Chiefs by a possession.
Chicago Bears, Week 6, Soldier Field - W (3-3)
While last year was rock bottom for the Bears, this is their first year in a rebuild experiment, and Justin Fields will still be getting sacked a million times. Vikings by 10+.
San Fransisco 49ers, Week 7, US Bank Stadium - W (4-3)
Coming off a relatively easy win in Chicago the Vikings will carry that confidence back to the 612 and pull off their first upset of the year. While the ‘Niners do possess one of the best defenses (if not THE best) in the league, I think the hard-taught defensive lessons learned in Philadelphia earlier in the season will pay off. Vikings by a last-second kick (or OT). Be on the lookout for a locker-room chain. Shadows of last year’s Bills game. Paul Allen.
Green Bay Packers, Week 8, Lambeau Field - W (5-3)
A crisp sunny day at Lambeau, and probably another close game. This will be the first big divisional test for the Vikes, and Jordan Love will still be trying to fill Rodgers’ shoes. Coming off a big win the Purple and Gold will relay that confidence into a rivalry week win. No Allen Lazard will be the bigger problem than the obvious one for the Pack. Vikes by less than a possession.
Atlanta Falcons, Week 9, Mercedes-Benz Superdome - W (6-3)
The NFC South last year was a straight-up rat fight, and it will continue to be (the Panthers will be alright though). Atlanta was one of the worst in the division, and not much was looking up for them last year. Vikes by a TD.
New Orleans Saints, Week 10, US Bank Stadium - W (7-3)
How lucky are the Vikings in that they get to play the NFL’s Bevis and Butthead two weeks in a row? Speaking of luck, the Vikings won’t need it this year. With a better defensive unit (Marcus Davenport will have a prove-it game), the Vikes won’t *quite* need a miracle kick in this one. Vikes by a somewhat late TD.
Denver Broncos, Week 11, Empower Field at Mile High, W (8-3)
It is at this point in the season the Vikings will truly start believing in themselves. A still-hapless Broncos team will do nothing to dent that confidence. Vikings by between one and two possessions, but it won’t feel that close.
Chicago Bears, Week 12, US Bank Stadium, W (9-3)
If the Vikings do not win in both weeks 11 and 12 against two of the still-worst in the NFL teams, a remote *might* go through some drywall somewhere in the world. Vikes by a few TDs.
Bye - Week 13
Las Vegas Raiders, Week 14, Allegiant Stadium, L (9-4)
As it goes in Vegas, the hangovers (In the Vikings' case, a bye-week hangover) just hit a little differently. Couple that with the fact that the Vikings are due at least one stinker per year, and this will be that game. Some players injured in the 7-game winning streak will also need to get their legs back under them. Devante Adams will have a game and the Vikes’ secondary will not.
Cincinnati Bengals, Week 14, Paycor Stadium, L (9-5)
Joey B and the AFC North-leading Bengals will be a solid test for the Vikings. This will put two eventual playoff teams together. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them playing in an early winter snowstorm. This game should happen on a Sunday (listed as TBD), as TNF is booked up, and I don’t see Amazon switching from LVR/LAC. Cinci will be too much on both sides of the ball, but the Vikes will get a bounce on special teams. Bengals by between 7 and 10.
Detroit Lions, Week 15, US Bank Stadium, L (9-6)
This game simply comes down to being at US Bank Stadium, and I am happy we are playing the kitties at the end of the season. Detroit is my personal pick to win the North this year and the momentum they had as an organization was truly special, even if they didn’t make the playoffs. Jared Goff will throw a great game and Jahmyr Gibbs will be having a breakout season. Minnesota gets stopped on 4th down.
Green Bay Packers, Week 16, US Bank Stadium, W (10-6)
For the first time since 2017, the Vikings will sweep the Packers as they continue to cling to a Wild Card spot. Jordan Love and Christian Watson will have recovered from some early season chemistry issues, but so will the Vikings D. The home-field advantage will have a definite impact as it will be the last time the Vikes play at home.
Detroit Lions, Week 17, Ford Field, L (10-7)
While the Vikings sweep the Packers, the Lions will do the same to the Vikings. Goff will continue to torment Vikings fans as he and Jameson Williams connect multiple times at home, proving to be just too much for the Vikings’ LBs and secondary. Ultimately, Detroit will win the game on the ground, stuffing a dagger home with time running down in the 4th.
10-7. There you have it folks. Too many wins? Too many losses? What’s your pre-June, knee-jerk prediction for this regular season? Something similar?