Bleacher Report’s NFC North Prediction for Vikings Is Pretty Typical

can grab momentum
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The 2023 Minnesota Vikings hope to pull off a feat they haven’t accomplished in 14 years — win the NFC North in back-to-back seasons.

The last time the club won the division consecutively, Brett Favre had just rode into town, and the Vikings produced an almost-storybook season in 2009.

Bleacher Report’s NFC North Prediction for Vikings Is Pretty Typical

And after Kevin O’Connell took over the Vikings in 2022, he will attempt to win the North for a second time, led by Kirk Cousins in the QB1 saddle for the sixth straight season.

Vikings Is Pretty
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The ‘problem,’ though, is not many non-Vikings fans believe Minnesota has the oomph to repeat. Instead, the Detroit Lions receive all the NFC North love after Dan Campbell’s team memorably chipped off the Green Bay Packers to end the 2022 regular season. In Week 18, Detroit downed Green Bay, singlehandedly preventing Aaron Rodgers and Co. from reaching the postseason.

The Lions also appeared on HBO’s Hard Knocks last year, so everyone feels like they have a front-row seat to Detroit’s budding prosperity.

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Bleacher Report was the latest entity to forecast a Lions division crown, foretelling Detroit for an NFC North title and a 10-7 record. The Vikings landed in second place with a 9-8 record, the Green Bay Packers in third at 8-9, and the Chicago Bears last at 6-11.

BR’s Gary Davenport said about Minnesota and its ho-hum 9-8 record prediction, “Predicting a four-game drop for the Vikings isn’t going to go over especially well with the ‘skol’ crowd, but last year’s 13-win Vikings team was a mirage with a negative point differential.”

Bold Prediction for
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Davenport’s ‘mirage’ argument, intermixed with the term ‘fraudulent,’ was a popular sentiment about the 2022 Vikings, who later lost to the New York Giants in the first round of the postseason.

“The Minnesota offense should be able to score plenty of points, but last year’s 31st-ranked defense doesn’t look markedly better than last year’s unit. Get ready for lots of shootouts in the Twin Cities,” Davenport concluded about the 2023 Vikings.

camp schedule
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Davenport’s thesis precisely aligns with oddsmakers, too. Vegas sportsbooks foresee the Vikings winning 8.5 games in 2023 — the same win total assigned to the franchise at this time last year. Inching up to the regular season, Minnesota’s win-loss over-under climbed to 9.5 late last summer, and perhaps that will happen again in a few weeks.

But if one is curious whatsoever, Minnesota’s 13-4 record means nothing to NFL pundits and sportsbooks. Absolutely nothing. O’Connell barely received any Coach of the Year attention for his troubles as a rookie skipper, and the general opinion of the 2022 Vikings suggests the team was a total outlier — just lucky.

The Vikings start the preseason on Thursday night at the Seattle Seahawks.

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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