The Vikings relied on a bevy of talent in 2017 as they won double-digit games, claimed a division title and reached the NFC title game.
Most of those same pieces are still on the roster, and they have been joined by a few fresh and talented faces.
With almost three months to go until the 2018 season kicks off, Gil Brandt of NFL.com recently have his opinion on the top 10 most talented teams across the league.
The reigning NFC North champions* came in at fourth* on Brandt’s list.
Case Keenum was a good quarterback for the Vikings in 2017, but Kirk Cousins will, in the long run, be more reliable and consistent, both over the course of the regular season and in terms of playoff potential. It's hard not to like this move for an offense that already ranked 11th overall after having Keenum at the helm for most of last year. And I think Minnesota made a good contingency move in acquiring backup QB Trevor Siemian. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen offer serious playmaking ability, but the receiver depth chart beyond those two is probably the weakest part of this team. Having Dalvin Cook healthy for a full season at running back will only further enhance this attack. As for the No. 1 ranked defense, adding Sheldon Richardson — who has proven Pro Bowl talent — is almost unfair.
The Vikings have had six players voted to the NFL’s Top 100 List so far, and Minnesota had seven Pro Bowlers last season.
Harrison Smith, Thielen, Everson Griffen and Xavier Rhodes all earned All-Pro honors in 2017, and the Vikings then bolstered their roster by adding big-name free agents such as Richardson and Cousins.
The Vikings were the only NFC North team on Brandt’s list, and the third NFC team listed behind the Eagles and Rams.
Cronin: Vikings rookie Hughes ‘right on track’
Mike Hughes is roughly six weeks into his pro career, and the 30th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft has focused on adjusting to the speed and nuances of the NFL.
The Vikings cornerback recently told Vikings.com that things in Minnesota have been a whirlwind early on.
“It’s been pretty busy,” Hughes said. “But it’s a good thing to be busy at this point. I’m trying to take in everything that the coaches and players are throwing at me.”
All indications are that Hughes is performing well. ESPN writer Courtney Cronin recently wrote Hughes is ‘right on track’ in terms of development and adjusting to the NFL.
He has impressed Vikings coaches with his acceleration and quickness, two traits that will serve him well wherever he plays during his rookie season, particularly in the return game. The former UCF standout is working to get as comfortable returning punts as he is on kickoffs and should be able to contribute early on as a returner. Hughes also has been playing a lot of nickel corner with the second-team unit during OTAs. It's too early to tell whether he'll truly push Mackensie Alexander for the job in training camp, but Hughes' work in the slot and at outside corner gives Minnesota versatility in its secondary and the benefit of having its top backup being a No. 1 pick.
Hughes started 11 games for UCF and made 49 tackles (37 solo) with four interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in 2017. He added one-half tackle for loss with 11 passes broken up and one forced fumble.