Could the Vikings first Super Bowl title be on the horizon?
Albert Breer and Kalyn Kahler of Sports Illustrated certainly believe so.
A panel of 15 writers and editors from SI recently released their Super Bowl predictions, with Breer and Kahler going with the Purple to win it all.
If the Vikings can stay healthy, there isn't a major hole on the roster. Sure, there are depth issues along the offensive and defensive lines, but if they keep their guys upright in those areas — I am a tad concerned about that — this should be a 12- or 13-win team. And because they play in the NFC North, they'll be as battle tested as it gets coming out of the regular season. The AFC, which is much weaker this year than the NFC, really is a crapshoot, which is why I'm forecasting some playoff upsets before we get to Atlanta on Feb. 3.
Minnesota returns the majority of its 2017 starting lineup, and there's a lot to say about the importance and rarity of consistency in the league. The team added a more proven quarterback in Kirk Cousins, returned RB Dalvin Cook from injury and boosted a defense which ranked first in the league last season by adding safety George Iloka and defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson and drafting cornerback Mike Hughes in the first round. The NFC was deep last year, and it's only gotten more competitive this season. I could see the Rams, Saints, Eagles or Falcons all winning the Super Bowl this season. Even though [Tom] Brady always makes do with less and turns water into wine, I think the lack of offensive weapons, coupled by off-field drama that impacts on-field play, is too much for New England to overcome this year. The Vikings are the most complete team in the league, and this season they'll finally take home the title.
The Vikings were one of nine teams who were picked to win the Super Bowl. Minnesota was one of five teams who received multiple votes along with Green Bay, New Orleans, New England and Kansas City.
Cook could be primed for breakout year
Only five days remain until Dalvin Cook makes his regular-season return to U.S. Bank Stadium.
And some believe the Vikings second-year running back could be ready to announce his presence to the league more emphatically.
ESPN recently released a mega season preview for the Vikings in 2018, but Cook was the focal point for a pair of writers.
Mike Clay believes Cook will account for a large chunk of Minnesota's offense.
Cook ranked second to only Todd Gurley in carries through Week 3 of his rookie season. Cook tore his ACL in Week 4 but had racked up 85 touches and was the No. 8 fantasy running back prior to the injury. Cook was on the field for 69 percent of Minnesota's offensive snaps and averaged an impressive 4.78 yards per carry.
ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin also predicted big things for the 2017 second-round pick, as she wrote that Cook is a prime candidate to lead the NFL in rushing.
If injuries along the offensive line can be remedied, Minnesota should have no problem giving Cook what he needs to lead the league in rushing. The Florida State product is everything a team could hope for as a dynamic, pass-catching three-down rusher. The Vikings' leading candidate for Team MVP is also well-placed to contend for Comeback Player of the Year honors.
Cook ran for 354 yards and two touchdowns in three-plus games before his ACL injury. He returned to preseason action in the third game and played four snaps, but Cook looked explosive and ready in training camp.
Tarkenton to be featured on the SEC Network
Former Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton journey through the game of football will be featured on the SEC Network tonight at 8 p.m. (CT).
Tarkenton, who is in both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Vikings Ring of Honor, retired in 1978 as the NFL's all-time passing leader with 47,003 yards.