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Saturday open thread: Where will the Minnesota Vikings finish in the NFC North?

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Are the Vikings set up to win back-to-back NFC North titles?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past two days, we’ve discussed how we think the NFC North will shake out in regards to last year’s bottom two teams: the Packers and Bears. But now it’s time to get serious.

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off one of their best seasons in franchise history. They finished with 13 wins, their second-highest total ever, and their trip to the NFC Championship game was the first time they had gotten that far in the postseason since Brett Favre was their quarterback.

And it’s possible this team could be even more dangerous in 2018. With a healthy Dalvin Cook and a hungry Kirk Cousins on the roster, it seems unlikely that Minnesota’s offense takes a step back from its impressive 2017 season. Defensively, the team barely looks any different from last year’s unit, which ranked second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

But can the Vikings capture lightning in a bottle again and reign supreme in the North again?

Today’s Question of the Day is:

Where will the Vikings finish in the NFC North?

My answer: At this point, it’s hard to justify putting the Vikings anywhere but first. Sure they’ll be going through some adjustments—especially on offense due to a change at quarterback and offensive coordinator—but objectively looking at their roster compared to the rest of the division, there’s no comparison. The Vikings are a very talented team with limited weaknesses.

If there’s one foundation piece that could topple the mountain, it’s their offensive line. Last year, despite shaky play from the front five, Minnesota managed to score the 10th-most points in the league. The Vikings added Brian O’Neill in the draft, but didn’t do much else to inspire confidence in the group. Pro Football Focus recently ranked their offensive line as the fifth-worst in the NFL.

And while offensive line is certainly a key part of a championship team, the Vikings managed to keep their head above water last year due to solid quarterbacking and a dominant defense. They outclassed the entire NFC North and just about everyone in the conference outside of the Eagles.

The path won’t be nearly as easy for the Vikings this year, as the rest of the division promises to be better, but at this point they have to be considered favorites to take the North.

Your turn.

Poll

Where will the Vikings finish in the NFC North?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    1st
    (377 votes)
  • 29%
    2nd
    (172 votes)
  • 5%
    3rd
    (34 votes)
  • 1%
    4th
    (8 votes)
591 votes total Vote Now