Looking ahead at the 2019 season, which teams will return to the NFL playoffs, which will miss the postseason and which will make an appearance after missing the cut in 2018?
Two seasons ago, the Vikings advanced all the way to the 2017 NFC Championship but fell short of the 2018 playoffs when they suffered a home loss to the Bears the regular-season finale.
ESPN's Dan Graziano recently made 10 "bold NFL predictions" for the 2019 campaign, including that "new playoff teams" will be the Vikings, Titans and 49ers. He wrote:
Minnesota's offense clicks better in Kirk Cousins' second season there. The AFC South starts to look like the league's new power division, with Tennessee pushing the Colts and Texans. And assuming Jimmy Garoppolo gets through the season healthy, another busy and productive offseason should put San Francisco in position to make some noise.
The 2018 playoff teams whose places these three take are the Bears, Colts and Cowboys, respectively. The Eagles reassert themselves atop a once-again-weak NFC East.
Other predictions by Graziano included that four quarterbacks will be first-round draft picks in April, the Browns will win the AFC North, Steelers WR Antonio Brown will sign with the 49ers and lead the league in catches, and Super Bowl LIV will be between the Saints and the Texans.
View pictures of the Vikings players, coaches and staff in the community throughout the 2018 season.
7 Vikings in Fabiano's top 200 fantasy players for 2019
While several media members and analysts are releasing their early power rankings for the 2019 season, NFL.com's Michael Fabiano recently ranked his top 200 fantasy players for the upcoming season.
Three Vikings made Fabiano's list in the top 30. He placed wide receiver Adam Thielen at No. 19 overall and as the eighth receiver ranked. Running back Dalvin Cook, who is entering his third NFL season, was tabbed at No. 22, and receiver Stefon Diggs made the list at No. 28.
Four other Vikings also were in Fabiano's top 200: QB Kirk Cousins (140), TE Kyle Rudolph (165), RB Latavius Murray (172) and the Vikings defense (185). It is worth noting that Minnesota's defense was the fourth defense ranked on Fabiano's list behind Chicago (181), Baltimore (183) and the Rams (184).
The front end of Fabiano's list of fantasy players was running back-heavy. Here are the top 10, starting from the top: Giants RB Saquon Barkley, Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott, Rams RB Todd Gurley, Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey, Saints RB Alvin Kamara, Chargers RB Melvin Gordon, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell, Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins, Steelers WR Antonio Brown and Packers WR Davante Adams.
Kendricks provides cheer for patients at children's hospital
Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks is enjoying some respite from the Minnesota winter and recently still found time to give back to the community, this time in his home state of California.
Starlight, an organization that works to bring comfort to hospitalized children in the U.S., tweeted Tuesday that Kendricks, a UCLA alum, made a special visit to UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, where he spent time talking with and doing activities with the young patients.