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Lunchbreak: ESPN's Barnwell Rates Vikings Chances of Returning to Playoffs

EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings Training Camp presented by Omni Viking Lakes Hotel featured players and coaches preparing for Thursday's night practice at TCO Stadium.

ESPN's Bill Barnwell ranked which 14 NFL playoff teams from last season have the best chances of returning in 2023. For his rankings, Barnwell evaluated "underlying level of play from last season, what elements of that performance typically travel well from year to year, the changes they've made this offseason and what their competition projects to look like in 2023."

Barnwell ranked the Vikings 12th in his exercise.

The Vikings went an unprecedented 11-0 in one-score games, while the Broncos and Raiders were a combined 7-18 in those games. A team synonymous with kicking disasters in the fourth quarter went 10-for-10 on field goals in the final stanza. Going back through ESPN's win probability data, which begins in 2009, Minnesota produced a staggering 7.7 wins in the fourth quarter, the most of any team over that span. The same team generated minus-1.6 wins over the first three quarters of their games, meaning the Vikings played like the 2022 Rams and Broncos in the first 45 minutes before turning into the best team in NFL history over the final 15 minutes.

Simply put, the Vikings were excellent last season when it mattered most. Barnwell does not like the Vikings chances of repeating 13 wins, but he does acknowledge that the NFC does not feature as many talented teams (or quarterbacks) as the AFC. He also considers the NFC North "wide open."

Click here to read Barnwell's full piece.

Sports Illustrated Highlights Jordan Addison's Progress in 1st NFL Training Camp

Rookie receiver Jordan Addison is off to an impressive start at Vikings Training Camp. The 23rd overall pick has already earned extensive work with the first-team offense.

Sports Illustrated's Will Ragatz wrote the following about Addison’s start to camp:

As advertised, he's a bit undersized and isn't going to jump out of the gym, but he's shown off all the traits that have the Vikings believing he has star potential at this level. Addison is a shifty, twitchy athlete who runs crisp routes and has reliable hands.

Those are skills that will earn him trust from quarterback Kirk Cousins.

"I think he's got a lot of ability," Cousins said. "We've thrown him in with all the complex run game rules and motions and formations and the route tree we're asking him to learn, and I think he's handled it really well and I think he's shown his athleticism and his ability as a receiver. He's a natural catcher of the football, he tracks the ball well, so I'm excited about just continuing to do more with him and get him involved."

Earlier this week receiver Justin Jefferson said Addison is becoming more comfortable on the field and inside the locker room. Jefferson is serving as mentor to the rookie, which Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said is helping Addison quickly absorb the playbook.

Ragatz added:

As an observer, what you can see on the practice field are the physical tools. But for Addison to be getting the volume of reps that he's had thus far — and to have success in full-team periods — tells you he's on the right track when it comes to learning the offense.

"He's off to a really good start," O'Connell said. "Completely put his (injury) issue from the spring behind him. He put in the work throughout the summer, so that was really not something I was particularly concerned about, but what he's done on the grass so far has confirmed a lot of the things that we expected from Jordan."

O'Connell brought up a specific play from Monday's practice. During a red zone period, Cousins moved around in the pocket to extend the play and Addison, after running his initial route, moved to the back corner of the end zone to give Cousins a target. The veteran quarterback eventually saw Addison was open and connected with him for a touchdown.