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Lunchbreak: Reasons Why Brooks & Jeremiah Believe Vikings Will Improve on 2019

The Vikings have compiled 50 regular-season wins since the start of 2015.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team is one of six teams to hit that benchmark over the past five years.

Minnesota, the only NFC North team to reach 50 wins in that timespan, is joined by New England, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Seattle and New Orleans.

That sustained consistency is a prideful point for Zimmer, who turned 64 today, but the head coach would be quick to point out that he wants to see his team have another strong season in 2020.

NFL.com analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah believe that will be the case for this upcoming season. The duo went through the NFC North and opined whether or not each team will improve or get worse, and tabbed Minnesota to take a step forward in 2020.

View photos of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer who celebrates his birthday on June 5.

"This is a team that got a win in the postseason last year, but I actually think this team is going to be better," Jeremiah said. "You look at Justin Jefferson, Jeff Gladney is another first-round pick and them [third-rounder] Cameron Dantzler has some ability.

"Some big names leaving … but I think Gary Kubiak replacing Kevin Stefanski as the offensive coordinator … this is Kubiak's offense," Jeremiah continued. "He's long been one of the best play-callers in the NFL, and I think you're going to see Dalvin Cook be in the running as the MVP of the league.

"I think the run game is outstanding; they've upgraded the offensive line at the tackle position," Jeremiah added. "It's all set up for Dalvin Cook in Gary Kubiak's system to have a big year. I'm in on the Vikings. They are going to be better."

Brooks added: "I think Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins will have big years. Gary Kubiak is one of the best in the business at calling plays. That stretch-bootleg system leads to a lot of explosive [plays]."

The Vikings went 10-6 and were a Wild Card team in 2019, get a road playoff win over the Saints before falling to the 49ers in the Divisional Round.

The Lions are the other NFC North team that the NFL.com pair expects to be better in 2020. Brooks and Jeremiah said that the Packers and Bears could take a step back this season.

Allen recalls 22-sack season, dishes on curling career

Former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen recently chatted with Chad Graff of The Athletic to touch on a variety of topics on Graff's podcast.

They talked about Allen's path to the NFL and his 2008 trade to the Vikings, along with his historic 22-sack season in 2011 that set a franchise single-season record.

Allen told Graff that he believes he had a chance to set the NFL single-season record but simply stumbled a bit.

Graff wrote:

But as Week 17 approached, Allen was at 18.5 sacks. He needed 3.5 to set the Vikings franchise record and 4.5 to break Michael Strahan's all-time record. He joked that week that if Bears quarterback Josh McCown wanted to pull a Brett Favre — who famously seemed to go down pretty easily to give Strahan the record-breaking sack — he'd take it.

Allen had 1.5 sacks by halftime, then notched the 21st sack of his season on the first play of the second half. He broke Chris Doleman's franchise record with more than five minutes left in the third quarter.

Suddenly, he had a shot at the NFL record. In the fourth quarter, Allen was matched up against the tight end on a play. He knew he was going to go outside him, and with the right jump, Allen figured he'd get the record.

"I took off and I slipped," Allen said. "I was 1-on-1 with the tight end, I slipped and the ball got out."

The two also talked about how Allen's curling career got started, with Allen noting that he actually took an interest in badminton first.

Graff wrote:

It all started with a bet he made with a buddy that he could make a PGA Tour event. After a few cracks at that came well short, Allen changed the bet to say that he could make the Olympics.

Allen's journey started by looking up sports that the U.S. hadn't won a gold medal in. He figured it'd be easier to make the Olympic team in one of those competitions. Badminton stood out. He'd played by the lake growing up, he's tall, and he's athletic. It'd be easy, he figured.

Allen first thought he'd play singles but his wife encouraged him to at least have a buddy to play with if he was going to spend hours training for the Olympics in a sport he'd never played competitively. He recruited former quarterback Marc Bulger, one of his neighbors at the time in Nashville.

"So then we start watching all these doubles matches," Allen said. "I'm watching these dudes fly around the court. I'm like, I'm going to get hurt. I've already ruptured my L5 twice. I don't need this again. Oh my gosh, this is aggressive. Marc calls and he's like, 'I can't do that, my body can't handle that. This is way more movement than I thought it was going to take.'"

Allen then switched to curling and noted he is trying to earn a spot on the 2022 U.S. Olympic team.

The full interview with Graff and Allen can be found here.

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