The 2018 NFL season is still almost six months away, but it's never too early to get a gauge on where teams stand in the pecking order.
Elliot Harrison of NFL.com recently released his offseason power rankings and had the Vikings sitting in the fourth spot.
Harrison applauded Minnesota for its recent free agency moves of signing quarterback Kirk Cousins and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
Hard to fault the Vikings so far this offseason. They upgraded at quarterback, even ifCase Keenum* played as well as — if not better than — Kirk Cousins last season. Recall that Cousins endured injuries on the offensive line, a backfield of transient backs and his supposed WR1 ending up as the biggest bust in last year's free-agent class. Moreover, signing Sheldon Richardson only helps the top defense in the conference. And we haven't even gotten to Dalvin Cook rehabbing. Dude.*
The Vikings were slotted behind Philadelphia, New England and Jacksonville. The Eagles topped the Patriots in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium, and the Jaguars and Vikings came up short of the big game by falling in their respective conference championships.
Minnesota's NFC North foes were ranked ninth (Green Bay), 17th (Detroit) and 23rd (Chicago).
Vikings could see plenty of TV time in 2018
The Vikings will face Philadelphia and New England on the road during the 2018 season.
John Holler of Viking Update recently wrote that those two games are just part of a challenging 2018 schedule.
Holler noted that the success of Minnesota's 13-3 season in 2017 combined with a schedule littered with high-profile teams means the Vikings are likely to get placed on plenty of prime-time games during this upcoming season.
Besides playing the NFC North at home and on the road, the Vikings also will face off against the NFC West and AFC East. Minnesota also will host New Orleans at home.
The Vikings have two problems facing themselves as they head into the 2018 season – a brutal road schedule and being an attractive national TV product as one of the favorites in the NFC when the league looks to showcase itself on national TV.
When it comes to playing on the road in the NFC North, it's never a picnic. The Vikings won all three divisional games on the road last year, but that has gone against recent history. The Vikings might also be hot consideration to play a third straight road game on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. Any time they face Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field, it comes with its own set of problems, and wins at Soldier Field have been hard to come by over the years.
The 2018 NFL schedule is usually released in April.