MOBILE, Ala. — In addition to opportunities for evaluating top prospects, the Senior Bowl practices offer moments to check in with experts and get their takes on the current state of the Vikings.
Vikings.com asked experts what they think the biggest question facing the Vikings in 2019 is and to complete the thought, 2019 will be better for the Vikings because …
Here's what they said.
What is the biggest question facing the Vikings in 2019?
Lindsay Jones, The Athletic | @bylindsayhjones
"I think it's going to be, 'What's this offense going to look like, and can they take that next level to win those big games?' How can Coach [Kevin] Stefanski and Gary Kubiak put Kirk Cousins in those best situations to thrive in those Monday Night games and Sunday Night games in the fourth quarter, those moments where it hasn't quite clicked?' Those are the big knocks on Kirk Cousins right now, so that's the big question, to take that next level because I think the defense is still going to be really good. They have a lot of key players returning that are still under contract, so it's going to be, 'What is that next step that the offense can take?' "
Pete Prisco, CBSSports/@CBSSportsHQ | @PriscoCBS
"Probably their offensive line. Fix it. You look at the final four teams, the Saints had a really good offensive line, the Chiefs have a good offensive line, the Patriots have a good offensive line because [coach] Dante Scarnecchia is one of the best in football and has done a great job, and the Rams have one of the best offensive lines in the league. You better be good up front. If you're good up front, you're going to be able to do a lot of good things. You can run the ball and do stuff off that."
Tom Pelissero, NFL Network | @TomPelissero
"I think, as everybody who tweets at me incessantly would say, it's the offensive line, and how you patch that together. That was a significant issue last year. It hindered them in a lot of different ways on offense. Also, of course, what does Kevin Stefanski and his offense look like? I know he was a strong supporter. He wanted Gary Kubiak and Klint Kubiak, who he is tight with from [Klint Kubiak's] first stint there. He wanted those guys to come in.
"It gives them a little more experience, more of a sounding board," Pelissero added. "Those are probably the two biggest things. The defense certainly did not play their best in Week 17 and didn't start the strongest either, but through the middle of the season, you saw how good those guys can be. Really, it comes down to can you protect Kirk Cousins and get him to another level. Mike Zimmer, of course, talks about balanced [offense] and running the football, but all of that meshes together. They've just got to be more productive on that side of the ball."
2019 will be better for the Vikings because…
Jones: "I think offensive consistency. I think bringing Stefanski back was really important to keep some continuity there. You didn't want to blow up your entire offense. It will be interesting to see his philosophy. He's been there for so long, but now it can be his offense with some assistance from Gary Kubiak. I think it will have that new voice, but a consistent voice."
Prisco: "They ran the ball, and Zimmer got what he wanted. I know Mike Zimmer, man. He wants to run the ball and play great defense. If you're watching, Zim', I know who you are and what you want to do."
Pelissero: "I'm not getting into predictions, so let's not put the headline, 'Tom says they're going to be better.' I would say, that you would think with it being the second year with Kirk Cousins as the quarterback, not a new system, but a new play caller, there's going to be a transition there, but I'll also tell you Kevin Stefanski, players really like him. I remember Dalvin Cook telling me he thinks like a player. He's been in just about every room, coaching different position groups during his time with the team, so what's his offense going to look like? Can you get that to the next level? Cousins having another offseason to work with those receivers, develop a rhythm and everything else in the NFL passing game is a big part of it."