The Vikings were 7-9 last year, and I think they played like a 6-10 team—the bad luck happened about as often as the good luck. I think Teddy improves significantly, and it looks like Adrian Peterson is playing, so that should bring the offense up to at least league average even with the OL problems. On defense there are still a lot of moving parts, with a rookie corner, some questions at LB and safety and no clear answer at LDE. That said, it can be a top-10 defense even with those questions. Normally that would be a good case for 10-6, but I think that it is not only really difficult to improve a team more than three wins in a season but also that the Vikings have one of the most difficult schedules in the country.
The Week One matchup against the 49ers on the road will be a huge tone setter for the Vikings. I think the 49ers are beatable, and the Vikings will also pick up a win in week two against the Lions. The Vikings have some tough games early, and the week three, four and six contests could very well dig the Vikings in a hole with games against the Chargers, at Broncos and Chiefs. The Vikings should win one of those three games. After weathering a 3-2 start, the Vikings will win the next four against at Lions, at Bears, Rams and at Raiders. The Vikings then start a three-game skid with the Packers, at Falcons, and Seahawks. The Vikings will be 7-5 heading into the final four games, winning three vs at Cardinals, Bears, Giants and finishing the season with a loss to the Packers.
I am optimistic, but I’m also a little gun shy after predicting 12 wins last year. I think this team is on the verge of big things, I really do, but that is a tough schedule and this team always seems to have something come up that derails them. I’m placing all of my trust in Zimmer, and think he can keep this train on the tracks, but I’m going say a final record of 10-6 is an optimistic outlook that I’m willing to live with.
The Vikings finished 7-9 last season; no small accomplishment for a team with a new head coach and a rookie quarterback. While surprising, the organization expects improvement this season, and with that, a chance to contend for the playoffs. Will a 9-7 record be enough to make a push for the Wild Card in January? In the NFC, they’ll need to do better than that, but it may be the start of a long run of success in Minnesota.
The team kicks off the season with a difficult stretch of games – San Francisco, San Diego, Detroit, Denver, and then a too-early Week 5 bye. I predict (optimistically) that they’ll come out of that stretch 3-1, making a 9-7 record down the line a much easier proposition. The trouble begins late in the season, when the Vikings host the Seahawks at home and turn around four days later to play at Arizona on Thursday night.
Overall, the schedule isn’t an extremely difficult one. As they do every year, the Vikings will play the Packers, Bears, and Lions twice each, and I can’t convince myself that they’ll go 6-0 in that stretch. While they’ll improve on an abysmal divisional record from 2014, the Packers and Lions will still present their challenges.
9-7… an improvement, but the Vikings will be watching the playoffs from home this year.
The 2015 Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings will go 10-6.
The defense will be a top-5 unit in the 2nd year under Zimmer (11th in scoring last year, up from 32nd in 2013). Teddy will NOT have a sophomore slump and will have a continuation of the final 6 games of the season – where he was Pro Football Focus’ #1 rated quarterback – in his 2nd season with Norv Turner. Adrian will contribute (hopefully), if he’s not still “uneasy” about being the highest paid running back in the NFL this season (on top of being paid for last year). Incidentally, the biggest off-season editions will be a healthy offensive line. Adding young depth there in the draft will allow Teddy to do more than just 3-step drops. He’ll develop a further rapport with Charles Johnson (first full off-season) and a healthy Kyle Rudolph.
There’s a reason for legit, non-purple kool-aid for the 2015 Minnesota Fightin’ Vikings.
Going 10-6 would be a tremendous improvement for the Vikings. It is argued the Vikings have he most difficult schedule in the entire league. Knowing that, 10-6 might be a stretch for a Vikings team that might have major holes on the offensive line or at linebacker. I think the Vikings show improvement in Zimmer’s second year; here’s hoping it’s enough to push them into the post season. To read my full season predictions, click here.