About That 16-Win Season for Vikings

About That 16-Win Season for Vikings
Colin Cowherd

You know how you go to a restaurant and have a cheeseburger, for example? It might be so delicious that you proclaim it the “best burger you’ve ever had,” chiefly because you’re wrapped in the moment of enjoying food.

Well, that’s likely what Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports Radio was up to last week when he declared the Minnesota Vikings as a team that would “double its win total.” Have a listen around the 4:00 mark.

On The Herd, Cowherd explained the Green Bay Packers are diminished, Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer didn’t get along, and that new head coach Kevin O’Connell is just what the doctor ordered in a McVayian way for Minnesota. In that mini-speech, Cowherd announced the Vikings would double their win total, inferring Cousins and the gang are heading toward a 16-1 win season.

That won’t happen.

While the Vikings should improve on back-to-back nine-loss seasons, finishing 16-1 is reserved for historic teams — and Minnesota probably isn’t that during O’Connell’s maiden voyage. A realistic ceiling should be perceived as 12 or 13 wins — if everything clicks from the onset.

Vegas oddsmakers do not believe Minnesota has a 16-1 stored in its soul. In fact, most sportsbooks peg the Vikings for eight or nine wins, a far departure from Cowherd’s 16-win dictum. When the dust settles on the 2022 season — hopefully in late January or early February for the Vikings sake — O’Connell’s team will likely nestle in nicely between Vegas forecasters’ predictions and Cowherd’s bold decree.

Vikings Rank Higher Than Expected in ESPN Predictive Index
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Why can’t the Vikings win 16 games? Simple. As of early summer, their depth chart isn’t becoming of a 16-win organization. The roster has stars and a wee bit of depth, but it is not a Joe Montana-49ers group of guys. And for a team to finish a regular season with just one loss, it must be absolutely dominant. If any 16-win prognostications are doled out for an NFL team, the nominee should be a team like the Buffalo Bills, whose depth chart is stuffed to the gills, from top to bottom, with remarkable personnel and depth.

The Vikings aren’t there yet, especially on the defensive depth chart. For now, Minnesota’s defense is top-heavy, needing the reservist players to be suddenly good if a win total north of 13 games is feasible.

But, hey, a Fox Sports Radio personality hyping the Vikings as a 16-1 team is better than denouncing the squad as a 1-16 group.

In reality, Cowherd, in the heat of the moment, probably thought the Vikings won six or so games last year — and then doubled the number off the top of his head for a talking point.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).