This is the third installment of our Opposing View series, in which we gauge the league-wide perception of the Vikings by talking to bloggers from around the NFL. For each post, I’ll seek out a writer for a team on the 2017 Vikings schedule, and ask them a few short questions about the way they view our squad from afar.
Check out the previous posts here:
VT: Top of your head, give me the first things you think of with the Minnesota Vikings going into 2017.
Zachary Jacobson: When I think of the 2017 Minnesota Vikings, I think of the real challenger to the Packers’ NFC North crown. And, no, I’m not just saying that because I’m talking to a Vikings writer; this is something I’ve been preaching all off-season. The Bears are the Bears and the Lions don’t impress me outside of Matthew Stafford. I think the Vikings will get back to their 2015 form and really give Green Bay a run for their money.
VT: As it stands, what do you think is their biggest strength? How about weakness?
ZJ: Their biggest strength is definitely their secondary. Even despite the torching at the hands of Aaron Rodgers and co. in week 16 last year, I think they’re going to be recharged, specifically their safeties. How Terence Newman is still playing at a high level is beyond me, but he and the rest of those corners – including the young Trae Waynes who I’m personally high on – are complemented by Harrison Smith, who, in my mind, is the best safety in the game.
Their biggest weakness is definitely the offensive line. Listen, whether it’s Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater taking snaps, they’re going to need to be protected. One of those guys is notorious for being injury prone and the other is coming off of a gruesome injury that nobody wants to relive. Protection is vital.
VT: What’s your opinion of Mike Zimmer as a head coach?
ZJ: I think highly of Mike Zimmer. He’s a totally defensive-minded coach and as someone who appreciated the late Fritz Shurmur and his contributions to the Packers in the 90s, defensive-oriented coaches are my thing. He did a great job last season of working with one of the most injury-plagued teams in the league and I don’t think that should go understated.
VT: How would you predict the final NFC North Standings?
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. Detroit Lions
4. Michigan Wolverines
15. Wisconsin Badgers
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
255. Chicago Bears
VT: Finally, there’s been some talk recently about the Packers winning this year’s Super Bowl in U.S. Bank Stadium, an idea I find terrifying. Would winning the Lombardi on the Vikings’ home turf make it more special for you, or do you not care?
ZJ: Winning a Super Bowl in Minnesota before the Vikings do? That’d be amazing. It’s not on the top of my list of priorities, but it’s definitely something I’d relish. I just want this team to get there, first of all. I guess at the end of the day I don’t necessarily care because whether it’s Minnesota, Houston, New Orleans, whatever; bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home where it belongs is all that matters. However, winning it in U.S. Bank Stadium would give us Packers fans some pretty serious bragging rights for the next year…
- I must admit, I was nervous reaching out to a Packers blogger. There are tons of ways in which Zachary could have publicly embarrassed the Vikings (and me) with his responses, considering the teams’ histories. Thankfully, he was civil, and—dare I say it—sincere. Good dude.
- Interesting he went with the secondary as the team’s biggest strength, over, say, the defensive line (which would be my choice). But with arguably the team’s best player (Smith), a top-five corner (Rhodes), and a handful of young players expected to take steps forward in 2017, there’s a strong case to be made for the Vikings’ secondary as the class of the roster.
- The biggest weakness is the offensive line. Yes, Zach has been watching.
- I mean, I doubt theTampa Bay Buccaneers finish ahead of the Bears in the NFC North, but…I can’t completely rule it out.
- “However, winning it in U.S. Bank Stadium would give us Packers fans some pretty serious bragging rights for the next year…” Lord help us.
Thanks to Zach for participating. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZachAJacobson.