The Vikings’ 2020-21 schedule was recently released which was if nothing else a gigantic relief to Vikings fans and writers, who weren’t entirely sure there’d be a 2020-21 NFL season to begin with. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I mean before the start of COVID-19, as we’re all essentially living under rocks until the advent of a vaccine for COVID, you’ll know that sports as we’ve known them essentially stopped this year and even with schedule announcements we’re all not sure exactly what sport will look like moving forward.
Will players avoid tackling one another to maintain six feet of distance? Will they play in front of empty stadiums (I know, Miami Dolphins fan (singular) are reading this and saying, so nothing is going to change?)? What will the new-look Vikings look like?
Welp. Fear not Vikings fans, as we here at purpleTERRITORY Media just returned from the future and have a general idea as to just how 2020 is going to go for the Purp!
We’ve tasked some of our established writers, as well as some of the new writers we’ve added, to see what we think the Vikings’ record will be in 2020!
Let’s get right into it, starting with the new guys…
Ben Lyso, Writer, purplePTSD.com/VikingsTerritory.com
Does any more transcription need to go into the fact that the Vikings let go a host of veterans and are relying on sizable contributions from rookies? No, of course not. It’s time to move on and look towards the future.
The fact of the matter is: Veterans didn’t help the Vikings in Soldier Field last year. Veterans didn’t help in CenturyLink Field. And veterans certainly didn’t help in Lambeau. It’s time for the new blood to come in and make a name for themselves.
What the Vikings lack in experience, I believe they make up for in tenacity. A record number of rookies will be joining the team, with a handful set to make an immediate impact in one of the most intriguing draft classes in years.
A difficult early-season schedule, highlighted by match-ups in Houston and Seattle will prove to be a test, and post-Bye week, the four major tilts will be in Lambeau, in Solider Field, in Tampa Bay, and in New Orleans on Christmas.
Despite the schedule and roster turnover, I believe the Vikings will have a very good year, led by a number of players who will step up and make significant contributions, namely: Justin Jefferson, Mike Hughes, and Jeff Gladney.
Kirk Cousins will continue to improve with a familiar offense, and Dalvin Cook will be playing with fire and determination in the last year of his contract to prove he is worth a hefty new deal.
Record: I foresee the Vikings going 10-6, making the playoffs, and fighting for the NFC North title.
Joe Johnson, Owner, purpleTERRITORY Media
This upcoming season, more so than any other in the Zimmer era, is one where we really don’t know what to expect going into it. Especially since the start of the 2017 season, this season also feels different in that the team doesn’t feel like it is or was a piece or two away from getting over the hump that was the previous season. Saying it pointedly, this is the first season in recent years where the team doesn’t feel like it’s gearing up for a championship run.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the Vikings have kept their championship window open for much longer than any other Vikings team in my lifetime. Having watched the 1998, 2000-1 and 2009 Vikings teams, I was used to this organization making one big run to the NFC Championship and essentially imploding the following season. Zimmer and Vikings general manager Rick Spielman have bucked that trend, instead creating a much more balanced and consistent team than the ones that I grew up watching.
That doesn’t mean they’ve been perfect, though, in their team-building philosophy. By investing so heavily in their defense, the… Let’s call it the 1.0 version of Zimmer/Spielman (from 2014-2019) ignored arguably the most important position group in the game, the offensive line. With 15 picks in the 2020 NFL Draft the hope was that they’d have learned from those weaknesses and filled in the gaping holes on the interior of their offensive line instead of saying or doing things as they did during Zimmer/Spielman 1.0 like “We have the talent on the roster to fill these holes” or attempting to move players who have never played guard to guard.
Well, apparently those hopes have been dashed as it’s been reported that the Vikings aren’t looking to sign any offensive lineman/guards for the remainder of free agency and that they believe that the answer to their guard issues is already on the roster. So, it’s looking like 2020 is going to come down to the development of one Dru Samia, or perhaps moving Ezra Cleveland to left guard, or Riley Reiff…
Considering that the Vikings have (as of the writing of this piece) the 10th most difficult schedule in the NFL, they’d better hope that Samia can go from third to first on the depth chart or that players like Reiff/Cleveland (who either haven’t played guard since their teens or at all) can step up. It’s something we’ve hoped before, with guys like Mike Remmers, and we know how that worked out.
So, the question becomes, in the context of this article. Whether or not I think that the 2020 Vikings with an on-paper (as of the writing of this piece) line that is WORSE than the 2019 unit (as Josh Kline is gone) will be able to match the 10-6 2019 record? Considering that the 2019 offensive line was 27th in the league against the pass rush? With two new starting corners and a new nickel corner? With (also as of the writing of this piece), three-fourths of the defensive line also being new? With Stefon Diggs now being gone and his replacement being a rookie receiver who will need to prove to everyone that he’s not solely a slot guy despite the fact that he ran 99.6% of his routes from the slot in 2019? That even if he is great in the slot he won’t hurt Adam Thielen’s production as the best slot receiver in the NFL?
I obviously don’t think that that’ll happen. I think that this will be a rebuilding year for the Vikings in every sense of the word and maybe that’s just what this team needs. In my lifetime, outside of 2011 (when they went 3-13) this team has never been BAD. Perhaps a higher draft pick and the easier schedule that typically comes from a bad season (as well as perhaps a new set of eyes from the coaching staff) is what they need. Because we’ve seen the peak of the Zimmer/Spielman partnership and apparently it’s not enough.
Vikings 2020-1 record: 4-12 (namely in that if they went 10-6 with a better line and more established defense, then how could 2020 be anywhere near that (as of right now, they might end up with a much better line, but it certainly doesn’t look like it right now).
Chris Rutter, Writer, purplePTSD.com
The 2020 schedule has been released and I think it’s a good time to make predictions on the upcoming season ( I do believe there will be football ).
What a way to open the 2020 season, the Green Bay Packers come to town. The Packers swept our Vikings last year but the good news is, the Vikings easily could have won both contests. The season gets off to a good start in Minnesota as our Vikings, led by Dalvin Cook and a few Kirk Cousin TD passes, prevail 27-20.
Weeks 2-6-The Vikings travel to Indianapolis and face a Colts team now led by Phillip Rivers. The Vikings win on the road-24-21. ( 2-0). Week 3 poses a stiff test as the Tennessee Titans invade Minnesota and give the Vikings a tussle before a late Cousins to Thielen TD proves to be the difference-28-21. (3-0). Week 4 sees the Vikings head to Houston to face Deshaun Watson and the Texans. Watson gives the purple defense a hard time and the offense struggles, Texans deal the Vikings their first loss-31-21. (3-1). Week 5 again sees the Vikings on the road and facing the Seahawks in Seattle. Last year the Vikings played Seattle and gave the Hawks all they could handle on a Monday night. Unfortunately, I don’t think the Vikings will fare any better this year and fall to Seattle, 27-24. (3-2). Week 6 brings the Vikings home to face the Atlanta Falcons and Matt Ryan. Our Vikings go into the bye on a high note as the purple thrash Atlanta-35-17. (4-2).
The season resumes in week 8 for the Vikings and round 2 of the border war in Lambeau. Aaron Rodgers might be slowing down but he still is one of the great quarterbacks in the league. Rodgers has a great day and the Packers earn a split, 30-23. (4-3). Week 9 and the Vikings come home and get back on track at the expense of the Lions, 35-20. (5-3). Week 10 sees the Chicago Bears host Minnesota. It will be interesting to see who is under center for Matt Nagy. It doesn’t matter as the Vikings get by the Bears-26-17. (6-3). In one of the toughest games to forecast, the Dallas Cowboys come to town. The Vikings ride the home crowd and precision passing of Cousins and win-33-27. (7-3). Week 12 and one of the good guys, Teddy Bridgewater and his Carolina Panthers come to town. It isn’t a pleasant experience for Bridgewater and the Panthers as the Vikings cruise to victory-37-20. (8-3). Week 13 and the three game home stand concludes with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Minshew mania flames out as the Vikings declaw the Jaguars, 34-14. (9-3).
As the final quarter of the season comes to a close, the Vikings see Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the pirate ship. The Vikings walk the plank and Brady proves he still isn’t ready to retire, Bucs win 28-17. (9-4). The Vikings return home and face the Chicago Bears in week 15. The Vikings complete the sweep by pummeling the monsters of the Midway-32-14. (10-4). A rare Christmas Day matchup between the Vikings and Saints takes place in the “Big Easy”. The Saints are bent on revenge for the playoff loss and they succeed by winning 30-21.(10-5). The season finale is in Motown and the Vikings tame Matt Stafford and the Lions, 31-17. (11-5). The Vikings win the division to represent the NFC North.
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