Vikings Now MORE of an NFC North Underdog

Vikings Game against Lions Is Terribly Important, and Here's Why.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

There’s a little-known secret circulating among NFL podcasts and Vegas sportsbooks, and it goes something like this — the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, nor the Chicago Bears are on tap to win the NFC North: it’s the Detroit Lions as the frontrunner.

The Lions-heavy odds actually date back to the dawn of the offseason but have intensified in Detroit’s favor after the NFL draft.

Vikings Now MORE of an NFC North Underdog

Why the Lions? Well, they beat the Packers in Week 18 — in Green Bay — to stifle the cheese team’s playoff trip. And that was after Detroit had nothing to play for in a “meaningless game.” Indeed, Detroit impressed the nation under the lights of primetime, and oddsmakers thought, “You know what. They’re going to be the team to beat in the North next year.”

More of an NFC North
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When they’re not getting rocked by gambling scandals, the Lions seem to have a good thing going, building the trenches on offense and defense, employing a lovable-but-scrappy head coach in Dan Campbell, and holding a “they’ve gotta be good at some point” persona.

Evidently, the time is now for Detroit, per sportsbooks.

Before the NFL draft, this is how the NFC North was situated for 2023 odds:

  • Lions (+150)
  • Vikings (+275)
  • Bears (+350)
  • Packers (+375)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell, first-round picks receiver Jameson Williams and defensive end Aidan Hutchinson pose for a picture with GM Brad Holmes during the press conference Friday, April 29, 2022, at the Detroit Lions practice facility in Allen Park. MAIN Lionspicks. © Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Fast forward to May 5th, and the Lions forecast has heightened while the Vikings dipped. There’s really no explanation for it. Per DraftKings, these are the latest NFC North odds:

  • Detroit Lions (+110)
  • Chicago Bears (+350)
  • Minnesota Vikings (+350)
  • Green Bay Packers (+500)

Meanwhile, Detroit’s draft wasn’t overly impressive, as many chided the organization for “reaching” in Round 1 to grab a running back (Jahmyr Gibbs) and off-ball linebacker (Jack Campbell). Gibbs and Campbell aren’t bad players — at all — but the Lions could’ve traded back to obtain both men and stockpiled multiple 2nd-Rounders along the way.

Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News Ncaa Football University Of Alabama Pro Day.

Chicago has conducted a flexible offseason, surrounding Justin Fields with more weaponry and building the defense through the draft. Too, the Bears have more draft picks on the way in 2024 as a byproduct of the seismic trade with the Carolina Panthers.

Green Bay is more mysterious because no one knows just how productive Jordan Love will be after Aaron Rodgers’ departure to the New York Jets. He could be great, continuing the Packers 30+ year reign of Hall of Fame quarterback play. Or he may perform decently like most teams experience when All-Pro quarterbacks leave. We shall see.

The Vikings are banking on continuity on offense, the hiring of Brian Flores to run the defense, and offensive decadence after drafting Jordan Addison in the 1st Round last week. That’s their 2023 calling card, and Vegas apparently isn’t impressed, at least akin to the Lions fascination.

The Lions haven’t won the NFC North since 1993.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by