The Minnesota Vikings have added plenty of new faces to a defense that struggled mightily last season.
You can make a strong case that the offense will be a bigger question mark than the defense. Yes, the offense should be good again, but could they take a step back? It is possible.
They will certainly benefit from having a much improved defense, but they will be starting rookie left tackle, Christian Darrisaw, and will have a rookie offensive coordinator in Klint Kubiak.
The offensive line should be better, but the question is how much? Ezra Cleveland and rookie Wyatt Davis should not be any worse than Dakota Dozier and Dru Samia, but can Darrisaw be as good as a rookie as Riley Reiff was last season? Darrisaw could very well end up being a solid left tackle for years to come, but asking him to play as well as Reiff did last season is a tall task for a rookie.
While Klint’s father Gary was not a great play caller last season, he was not awful either and would have brought continuity to this offense. Since Norv Turner resigned during the 2016 season, the Vikings have begun every season with a new coordinator. Lack of continuity can make things difficult for an offense, especially early in the season.
Since Klint was with the team the past two seasons as the quarterbacks coach he will bring some continuity, but how much? Will he also be as good of a coordinator or be better? Will he be worse? We do not know yet. One thing might help though. He is young, so his play calling could be more up to date with most of the league and not as old school.
The Vikings offense was ranked fourth overall in the league last season and their 26.9 points per game was 11th best. They should be a top-10 offense again barring major injuries, especially Kirk Cousins. If this team wants to compete for a Super Bowl, taking a step back offensively could really hold them back regardless of how well the defense plays. Even if it stays the same, it may not be enough for them to compete for the ultimate prize.
The schedule will be very tough too this season. At home they will be facing the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. On the road they will face the Baltimore Ravens. As usual they of course will face the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. They could very likely split with both teams, assuming Aaron Rodgers returns.
This team could contend for a Super Bowl if they can avoid major injuries and have another solid draft class. There are still some uncertainties they must overcome, though
Maybe Kubiak will be a great offensive coordinator and get head coaching looks. Maybe Darrisaw and Davis will also have exceptional rookie seasons. It will be very interesting to find out.