Believe it or not, the 2021 NFL season kicks off one week from tonight.
And while the Vikings will have to wait a few days after the Buccaneers host the Cowboys, there is plenty of intrigue around the league regarding how Minnesota will fare in the coming months.
ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin recently offered up her range for how the Vikings could do, projecting a ceiling and a floor for the Purple.
Cronin's ceiling for Minnesota is an 11-6 record, while her floor is a 6-11 season.
She noted that the Vikings revamped defense will have a big hand in how the team ultimately does in 2021.
Double-digit wins depend on whether the Vikings defense can truly bounce back to its traditional form. As we saw in the preseason, the depth behind Minnesota's starters is weak, especially at linebacker and in the secondary, so the Vikings have to see a strong return on their investment in players such as Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, Dalvin Tomlinson and a host of others. If it doesn't pan out, the Vikings might be looking at that six-win floor and a lot of turnover next offseason.
Minnesota has won double-digit games three times in Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's first seven seasons, with the Vikings making the playoffs in each of those seasons (2015, 2017 and 2019).
Zimmer is Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer is 64-47-1 as he enters his eighth season in Minnesota.
As for the other NFC North teams, Chicago's ceiling was listed at 10-7, while its floor was 5-12. The Lions ceiling was 8-9 and their floor was 3-14, while the Packers ceiling was 12-5 and their floor was 7-10.
Peterson among Brandt's top active players from 2011 draft class
Patrick Peterson has been around the block a time or two, as the veteran cornerback is now entering his 11th season in the NFL.
This is his first season in Purple, however, after he spent the previous 10 years with Arizona.
Peterson is among a select group of players from the 2011 draft class who are still going strong. Gil Brandt, an NFL.com Senior Analyst, recently took a look at that list and ranked where each player is heading into the 2021 season.
Brandt had Peterson in the No. 10 spot. He wrote:
After a decade in the desert, the ex-Cardinal headed for the colder climes of Minnesota, motivated in part by a desire to play under Mike Zimmer. The Vikings secondary underwent a complete overhaul over the past two seasons, and Peterson is set to play a starring role. The eight-time Pro Bowler slimmed down (to 195 pounds) — a wise move, considering the gradual decline in production we've seen from him over the past few seasons.
Peterson is an eight-time Pro Bowler and three-time First-Team All-Pro selection. He was also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2010s All-Decade Team that was announced in April 2020. He was one of three cornerbacks selected for that prestigious honor.
Zimmer said in late August that Peterson has made a seamless transition to his new team.
"Kind of as advertised. Really good. Like I've said before, wants to be coached," Zimmer said. "We're giving him a couple of different techniques to try. I actually mentioned to him yesterday that I saw him trying a couple on tape.
"I just think, sometimes, when a guy gets a little bit older, there's some things that can help [other] than doing the same thing he's done for 10 years or whatever it is, but he's willing to try," Zimmer added. "He's really been a great teammate, good in the locker room, good in the meeting rooms."