Vikings Labeled One of NFL’s “Most Dangerous” Teams

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It may not feel like it after Monday Night Football, but some consider the Minnesota Vikings one of the NFL’s most dangerous teams.

The Vikings have lost two consecutive matchups, falling in Denver to the hot Broncos and allowing the lowly Chicago Bears to prevail at U.S. Bank Stadium 12-10 in Week 12.

Vikings Labeled One of NFL’s “Most Dangerous” Teams

But with Justin Jefferson on the way back in 10 days, Bleacher Report name-dropped Minnesota as one the league’s scariest or most dangerous teams on the fringe of playoff contention this week.

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BR‘s Alex Ballentine ranked eight such teams, and the Buffalo Bills unsurprisingly topped the list. Buffalo could fix its conundrums and make a run in the AFC playoffs. We shall see. For the Vikings, Ballentine placed the purple team at No. 5 on his list, touting Jefferson’s return and a Top 8 defense.

“The team that draws the Minnesota Vikings isn’t likely to be terrified, but they do have enough to make someone nervous […] It’s hard to judge just how dangerous the Vikings can be now that Jefferson is getting closer to being healthy because when he was healthy, the team still had Kirk Cousins. While he’s just 1-3 in the playoffs, he still had four playoff starts and eight game-winning drives to his name last season,” Ballentine explained.

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) drops back to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have 10 days to decide on a starting quarterback for Week 14, and three options are on the table — Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, and Jaren Hall.

Ballentine elaborated, “But when we’re talking about dangerous playoff teams, it’s important to look at what that team looks like when it’s at its best. The Vikings have beaten the San Francisco 49ers this season and took the Chiefs and the Eagles to the wire.”

Minnesota actually takes every team down to the wire — elite teams and awful ones — so, yes, any potential playoff game involving the Vikings would turn into a suspense thriller.

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“All three of those games came with Cousins at the helm, so it remains to be seen if they can reach that level with Dobbs. Having a defense that is eighth in EPA per play and an offense that could feature a healthy Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson and Jordan Addison won’t hurt, either,” Ballentine concluded.

Jefferson’s return will be an extreme breath of fresh air and can perhaps enable the Vikings to reclaim early November momentum. Minnesota won five games in a row this season — all without Jefferson — and if it can nominate the right quarterback to feed the Offensive Player of the Year the ball, the sky is the limit.

Most Dangerous
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Minnesota’s defense is reliable, Jefferson’s production is guaranteed, and some option between Dobbs, Mullens, and Hall should generate some wins. That’s the working theory, anyway.

Unless the Vikings win their next five games, they’re almost guaranteed to play a wildcard road game at the Lions, 49ers, or Eagles if they reach the postseason.

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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