The NFL regular season is just around the corner, which means pundits from across the football world have revealed their win-loss projections.
Minnesota enters the 2021 slate with high internal expectations, but experts aren't as bullish on Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team.
Here is a roundup of how multiple national outlets see the Vikings season shaking out:
ESPN (written by Seth Walder)
ESPN simulated the upcoming season a whopping 20,000 times, and then randomly picked one of those simulations to get an idea for how the next few months would play out.
The Vikings got off to a solid start at 3-2, and were 6-5 past the halfway point, before entering the season finale with a chance to clinch a Wild Card spot.
Entering Week 18, the 7-9 Bears headed to Minneapolis to take on the 8-8 Vikings, with both teams still in the running for a [Wild Card] spot. It was receiver Darnell Mooney (two touchdowns) and safety Eddie Jackson (one interception off Vikings QB Kirk Cousins) who stole the show, and in the end, the Bears won 20-16, pulling off an incredible season turnaround that yielded a playoff berth despite a sub-.500 record. But a playoff berth is a playoff berth.
In the end, ESPN's simulation had Minnesota finishing 8-9 and just outside of a postseason berth.
Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Bengals.
Bleacher Report (written by Brad Gagnon)
Much like ESPN, Bleacher Report had the Vikings in the postseason race until the end.
But Gagnon also believes Minnesota will fall just short of a spot in the dance with an 8-9 record.
Cousins puts up solid numbers but has never been consistent, his offensive line remains a question mark and the NFC North should be difficult again with Aaron Rodgers returning to the Packers.
Even with a revamped secondary, star back Dalvin Cook and Danielle Hunter's return giving them a slightly higher ceiling than in 2020, it's hard to get behind a winning record for these Vikes.
View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 5, 2022.
Sporting News (written by Vinnie Iyer)
Iyer believes that the Vikings will be competitive, just as they are in nearly every other season under Zimmer.
But he projected a 7-10 record for Minnesota to unfold in the coming months.
The Vikings are bound to underachieve in some form for coach Mike Zimmer as the defensive vibes are more questionable than you think and their strong offensive profile with Kirk Cousins can only take them so far, even with Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.
John Breech of CBS Sports also projects a 7-10 record for the Vikings. And he also believes Minnesota's biggest rival will make it to the Super Bowl.
[Green Bay] has been on the doorstep of the Super Bowl in each of the past two seasons and I think this is the year where they finally knock down the door, set the house on fire and actually make it to the NFL's final game.
Breech had Chicago also going 7-10, with Detroit bringing up the rear with a 2-15 mark.
Let's end with some good news.
While some pundits are down on the Vikings, a handful from NFL.com believe the Vikings will get into the playoffs as a Wild-Card team.
While they didn't give a record prediction, Brian Baldinger and Gregg Rosenthal from NFL.com believe Minnesota will get the No. 6 seed in the NFC.
And Brooke Cersosimo and Dan Hanzus have Zimmer's group making the postseason as the seventh and final playoff team from the NFC.
Schwab ranks difficulty of NFL divisions
As it appears above, experts aren't entirely high on the NFC North, with most pundits having the Packers as the lone playoff representative in the division.
Frank Schwab of Yahoo Sports has similar feelings, as he recently ranked how tough all eight divisions are across the league.
Schwab put the NFC North in the No. 7 spot (or the second-easiest), and wrote:
This division would have been a mess if Aaron Rodgers left it. But he's back with the Green Bay Packers, and there could be intrigue in the division if the Minnesota Vikings take a step forward. The Chicago Bears might be a year away and the Detroit Lions might be years away, however.
The NFC East took the eighth and lowest spot on Schwab's list.
The NFC West was deemed as the toughest division, followed by the AFC North. That is important to note as the Vikings play both divisions this season.
Minnesota's full 2021 schedule can be found here.