The NFL season start is just hours away, and before the first kickoff, I wanted to get in some bold predictions for the Vikings- and a few others league-wide.
Here we go...
Kirk Cousins will break the Vikings single season passing yards record
Cousins threw for 4,547 yards last season but will exceed that mark this season and break Daunte Culpepper’s team record of 4,717 passing yards in a single season. Cousins of course will be helped by the 17th game, and I expect he will play in all 17 this year (he only played half of the last Bears game last season). Marginal improvement in pass protection with some improvement from Ed Ingram and the addition of Josh Oliver will help as well.
TJ Hockenson will lead the league in receiving yards among TEs
Hockenson had over 1,000 receiving yards last season between the Lions and Vikings, but I expect him to top last season’s mark and also earn the top spot among TEs in the league in receiving yards this season. I expect his targets to increase with a full season with the Vikings (Cousins targeted in-line TEs 17% last season- highest in the league according to PFF). That, and a bit of a decline for Travis Kelce this year will help give Hockenson the crown for most receiving yards by a TE this season.
Vikings’ defense will be top ten in points allowed
It took Brian Flores an injury-riddled season on defense before his scheme made a difference in 2020, but that difference was massive: going from 32nd in points allowed to 6th. And that Dolphins defensive roster arguably wasn’t as talented as the Vikings’ defensive roster this year. The Vikings were 28th in points allowed last season, giving up 427 during the regular season. I predict they’ll give up around 80 fewer points this season and break into the top ten defenses in points allowed this season.
Vikings will be top 5 in turnover differential
The combination of Brian Flores’ defensive scheme and fewer turnovers on offense will propel the Vikings from 11th in turnover differential last season to top 5 this season.
Other non-Vikings Bold Predictions
Beyond the Vikings, here are some other bold predictions for the rest of the NFL.
The Chiefs won’t win the Super Bowl
The Chiefs are the favorite to repeat as Super Bowl champions, and there isn’t another team that is an obvious candidate to win it all this year, but I expect the Chiefs to take a step back this season and fall short of repeating as Super Bowl champs. I expect them to make the playoffs, but perhaps not even the AFC championship.
The Bills won’t make the playoffs
The Bills remain a favorite to make the playoffs and have one of the better odds to win the Super Bowl, but I think their post-season aspirations have gone a bit stale while other teams in the AFC have improved. Miami and the Jets in their own division will be tough opponents that could bring their win total down. Meanwhile, teams in the AFC North and West could edge them out for a post-season birth.
No Team in the NFC will have more than 11 wins
A combination of the best teams in the NFC taking a bit of a step back combined with some improvement from lesser teams in the conference will combine to produce more parity in the NFC this season. Lots of tie-breakers may come into play for deciding post-season seeding.
That’s it for my bold predictions for the season... feel free to add yours in the comment section.