View the best exclusive images shot by team photographers of Vikings defensive line during the 2018 season.
The Vikings are nearly a month into the 2019 offseason, as Minnesota has had plenty of time to focus on free agency and the draft after missing out on the postseason.
But it’s never too early to take a sneak peek at the 2019 season, which is what ESPN’s Bill Barnwell did earlier this week.
Barnwell looked at where some oddsmakers have the Vikings projected for the upcoming season in terms of win total, and pundits appear high on a rebound season for Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer’s squad.
The Vikings over/under total is at nine wins, which ranks among the higher projections for NFL teams.
It seems like the Vikings cycle between wildly successful and despair-inducing seasons from year to year under Mike Zimmer, but in the bigger picture, they've won an average of 9.5 games in their five years under the former Cowboys and Bengals assistant.
Minnesota doesn't have much cap room after the Kirk Cousins deal and could lose Sheldon Richardson, Anthony Barr, Dan Bailey and Latavius Murray this offseason, but if you ask Vikings fans, Richardson might be the only one in the bunch they'll miss.
The Vikings are one of four teams listed at nine wins along with Baltimore, Houston and Seattle, all of whom made the playoffs this past season.
Minnesota’s projected win total is tied for ninth among NFL teams but is the second-highest total among teams that missed the postseason in 2018. (Oddsmakers have Pittsburgh’s over/under at 10 wins).
Barnwell is spot on that the Vikings have had their ups and downs over the past five seasons.
Minnesota won NFC North titles in 2015 and 2017, going a combined 24-8 in those seasons. The Vikings have also missed the playoffs in three seasons as they have a combined record of 23-24-1.
Besides facing their usual slate against the NFC North in 2019, the Vikings will also play the AFC West and the NFC East. Minnesota will also play the Falcons and Seahawks.
All in all, the Vikings will face six teams in 2019 that made the postseason in 2018.
View the top 30 images of the Vikings taking the field at U.S. Bank Stadium during the 2018 season.
Vikings listed twice in greatest Super Bowls that never happened
Super Bowl LIII is less than a week away as the Patriots and Rams will each be looking to capture a world championship.
The Vikings have yet to claim a Super Bowl, but the franchise has been close on numerous occasions.
Minnesota has played in four Super Bowls, and has also narrowly missed out on making the big game in other years.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com looked at his top 10 potentially great Super Bowl matchups that never happened and included the Vikings twice on his list.
That included Harrison having the Vikings in the top spot as he said a Vikings-Broncos matchup in Super Bowl XXXIII after the 1998 season would have been a dream for NFL fans.
“The top two scoring offenses in the league, one led by a rookie phenom [in Randy Moss] and the other led by a 2,000-yard rusher [in Terrell Davis],” Harrison said “Oh yeah, not to mention John Elway, Randall Cunningham, Cris Carter, Rod Smith, Robert Smith and Shannon Sharpe. It was a potential game of legends in Super Bowl XXXIII.”
Minnesota went 15-1 in 1998 but lost to Atlanta in the NFC Championship. Denver went 14-2 and won its second straight Super Bowl.
Harrison also had the Vikings in the fifth spot and wanted a Minnesota-Indianapolis meeting in Super Bowl XLIV after the 2009 season.
That game would have pit Brett Favre’s Vikings against the Colts and Peyton Manning.
“A Favre-Manning super clash at No. 5. Two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history going mano a mano in Super Bowl XLIV,” Harrison said. “Remember, Brett Favre’s 2009 renaissance included throwing for more than 4,200 yards, 33 touchdowns and seven interceptions … at age 40.”
The Vikings won the NFC North with a 12-4 record but fell on the road in New Orleans in the NFC title game. The Colts went 14-2 and won the AFC South that season.