July is a wonderful month. Summer is on, the birds are singing, and every team is a Super Bowl hopeful. The Vikings are experts on the last one, especially during odd years. The hype train is going on at full power, with promising rookies on the offensive line and a revamped defense. However, as we all know, this sneaky little bastard Minnesota Vikings has the bad habit of letting us down – big time. On paper, the Vikings can really compete but it’s the gridiron that matters. With that in mind, let’s do an exercise of what can happen and the possible fallouts. First things first, let’s get the bad part out of the way.
It really isn’t a surprise that this is a very volatile roster. We need to trust two rookies on the OL to make sure the line isn’t the tragedy of prior years. We’re also counting on Justin Jefferson not having a sophomore slump after one of the best rookie seasons by a receiver. In my opinion, though, it’s on the other side of the ball where things can really go south.
Kendricks should return to his All-Pro form and Barr to his Pro Bowl one. Harrison Smith is 31 but has shown no sign of slowing down. That’s all the level of guarantee we actually have. Hunter had an important injury and we have no idea how his neck will hold up. We hope not, but maybe Patrick Peterson is more like what he was last the two years. Dantzler had trouble staying healthy until now. Michael Pierce hasn’t played since 2019 and his partnership with Tomlinson inside may not be what we thought. And didn’t even mention our special team unit.
Of course, not everything will go this bad, but you see my point. Realistically, some of these things could happen. An ugly season for this team is everything short of a playoff berth, at least one game in January is the minimum. If the Vikings fail to do so, Zimmer will be gone. Depending on what happens, Spielman is fired too. Cousins’ contract makes him impossible to be cut, so he would return in 2022. A lot of things will change in Minnesota if the season is anything similar to 2020.
As I said, it’s really hard to think that everything will go bad, so we will say that Darrisaw and Davis start slow but the OL improves during the season. The same can be said at the other side of the trenches. The secondary returns to a 2018-2019 form and the Vikings can challenge the Packers for the division crown. But, in Vikings fashion, we barely escape the first playoff game and lose badly the next one. This still may get Zimmer fired if the ownership gets tired of not winning at least two playoff games in a row. So basically an ok season would be one like 2019, with the Vikings getting to the playoffs but unable to get over the hump.
For us to end on a high note, the best one comes last. We’re not making everything going our way because I’m trying to be realistic – at least to some degree. The OL improves enough to be a top15 one, maybe top10. Jefferson manages to get better somehow and the offense is again one of the best in the league. Our one-year signings pay off and we have a dominant defense once again, with a healthy and hungrier Hunter leading the way. And – I know this was supposed to be realistic but I’m just a man – we find a kicker. In this case, all the hype is justified. I’m not saying that the Vikings would win the Super Bowl, but they could.