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Lunchbreak: Vikings are 9th in ESPN Power Rankings as 2020 Offseason Begins 

The NFL's 100th season is now in the rearview mirror, as Sunday's Super Bowl put a close on meaningful games for the next seven months or so.

While most franchises have been in offseason mode for a few weeks, every NFL team is now focused on the 2020 offseason, especially as the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine kicks off in three weeks from Indianapolis.

As teams go to work focusing on the Combine, free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft, ESPN recently put together its power rankings as the 2020 offseason now begins.

ESPN had the Vikings in the top 10, as Minnesota was slotted in the ninth spot.

Each team was given a reason for optimism going forward, and ESPN Vikings reporter Courtney Cronin went with new Vikings Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak.

Cronin wrote:

The Vikings handed offensive coordinator duties to Kubiak upon Kevin Stefanski's departure, and it makes sense that the coach whose system Minnesota ran this past season is calling plays. Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he wanted to prioritize continuity on offense, and maintaining that should be a fairly seamless process given that the players won't have to learn a brand-new scheme despite being on their fifth OC in five seasons. Kubiak has been able to get a lot out of his quarterbacks and running backs through the years, which bodes well for Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook.

Kubiak, who was the team's assistant head coach/offensive advisor in 2019, was last an offensive coordinator in 2014 with Baltimore. He was also in that role with Denver from 1995-2005 when he helped the Broncos win back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

Kubiak has four Super Bowl rings to his name. He was the Broncos head coach in a 24-10 win in Super Bowl 50 against Carolina, won the two titles as Denver's offensive coordinator in the late 1990s and also captured a ring as the 49ers quarterbacks coach in 1994.

Kubiak has nearly 10 years of head coaching experience in the NFL and has an 82-75 overall regular-season record. He was the head coach in Houston for nearly eight seasons from 2006-2013 and went 61-64 while leading the Texans to a pair of AFC South titles and two playoff appearances.

Minnesota was the fifth-highest ranked team in the NFC, trailing San Francisco, New Orleans, Green Bay and Seattle.

The Vikings went 10-6 and made the playoffs as a Wild Card team in 2019. They beat the Saints on the road in overtime of the Wild Card round, but saw their season come to a close in the Divisional round on the road against the 49ers.

Jared Allen among HOF candidates in 2021

The Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 was announced Saturday, as former Vikings guard Steve Hutchinson got the call from Canton.

Hutchinson was one of five modern-era selections, as he is joined by safety Steve Atwater, wide receiver Isaac Bruce, running back Edgerrin James and safety Troy Polamalu in the 2020 class.

And while those players — plus 15 others from the Centennial Class of 2020 — will be honored in August, John Breech of CBS Sports took a peak at which players could be honored next year.

Breech picked out four players who he thinks have a strong chance of making the Hall of Fame in 2021, as the list included former Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.

Allen played for the Chiefs from 2004-07, Vikings from 2008-13, the Bears in 2014 and split the 2015 season with Chicago and Carolina.

Breech wrote:

For most of his career, Jared Allen was one of the most unblockable pass rushers in the NFL. As a fourth-round pick, the Chiefs got a steal with Allen in 2004 when they were able to nab him with the 126th overall selection of the draft. In Kansas City, Allen made an immediate impact with the Chiefs, racking up an average of 10.75 sacks per season during his four years with the team. Allen's biggest season in Kansas City came in 2007 when he led the NFL with 15.5 sacks. Although that's an impressive number, he actually topped it during his time with the Vikings.

In 2011, Allen tallied a eye-popping 22 sacks, which is still tied as the second-highest single-season total in NFL history. Allen recorded at least nine sacks in nine of his 12 seasons. The four-time All-Pro finished his career with 136 sacks, which ranks as the 12th most all time.

Allen recorded 136 career sacks in 187 career games, and also added 32 forced fumbles, 19 fumble recoveries, six interceptions, forced four safeties and had one defensive touchdown.

Allen set the Vikings single-season sacks record in 2011 with 22 sacks as he passed the late Chris Doleman's mark of 21 from 1989.

Allen spoke last week of his interactions with Doleman, a legendary Hall of Famer who passed away Tuesday night at the age of 58.

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