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Lunchbreak: ESPN Projects Vikings 2018 Win Total

The Vikings are past the midpoint of Organized Team Activity practices, meaning there is still plenty of time to go until players and coaches start thinking about the 2018 schedule.

But that didn't stop some from predicting the outlook for Minnesota.

ESPN's Football Power Index recently released the projected win total for each NFL team, and had the Vikings at 9.4 wins. Courtney Cronin, the Vikings beat writer at ESPN, took the over.

Cronin wrote:

The Vikings runner-up finish in the NFC was no fluke. Minnesota has elite playmakers on offense and is backed by the league's No. 1 defense. With Kirk Cousins taking the reins in hopes of leading this team past where it left off last season, it's not unreasonable to expect 10 or 11 wins at a minimum in 2018. It certainly won't be easy with a schedule that features road games against the Rams, Eagles, Patriots and Seahawks. The NFC North is also no cakewalk. Still, the Vikings are one of the league's most complete teams and are in the right position for another deep postseason run.

The Vikings went 13-3 and won the NFC North in 2017 while advancing to the NFC title game. Minnesota has won at least 10 games 19 different times in franchise history.

Vikings receive high marks for 2015 draft class

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman's philosophy has always been to draft and develop homegrown talent on the roster. 

That's certainly been the case with Minnesota's 2015 draft class, which has provided plenty of results over the past three seasons.

Connor Orr of The Monday Morning Quarterback recently regraded the Vikings 2015 draft picks and handed out an 'A,' which was tied for the top mark given.

Spielman and Minnesota's front office hit on multiple picks in 2015, landing key pieces such as cornerback Trae Waynes, linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter and wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Orr wrote:

Kendricks goes on to receive all-rookie honors, Hunter turns into an elite pass rusher and Stefon Diggs makes one of the most iconic plays in NFL history to propel the Vikings into the NFC title game. Waynes is also getting better every year and had his first 16-game starting season in 2017.

The quartet has helped the Vikings win two NFC North titles in three seasons. Waynes has turned into a key starter on the league's top defense, and Kendricks has led the Vikings in tackles in each of his three pro seasons.

Hunter had 4.5 career sacks in three seasons at LSU but has 25.5 sacks so far in his pro career. Diggs has 2,472 receiving yards, 200 receptions and 15 touchdowns in 40 career games.

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