Success in any given season is earned, and it is certainly not predicated on what a team did the previous year.
The Vikings know this well, as they have alternated between missing and making the postseason each season since 2014.
Minnesota won division titles in 2015 and 2017 and entered the 2018 season with sky-high expectations, only to go 8-7-1 and miss the dance.
Yet as the 2019 season looms, Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic believes the Vikings will put together a winning season and return to the postseason.
In fact, out of each of the 20 NFL teams who missed out on the playoffs in 2018, Kapadia recently opined that the Vikings have the best chance of doing so.
Kapadia explained how he thinks Minnesota could carve out its playoff path:
[Vikings Head Coach] Mike Zimmer works his magic, Danielle Hunter leads the league in sacks, and the Vikings finish in the top five in defensive efficiency for the third straight season. But it's the improvement on the other side of the ball that gets them back to the playoffs. [Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor] Gary Kubiak and [Offensive Coordinator] Kevin Stefanski work brilliantly together to maximize Kirk Cousins' strengths and develop a scheme that masks deficiencies up front. Rookie center Garrett Bradbury looks like a seasoned vet and provides stability on the offensive line while running back Dalvin Cook develops into a multi-dimensional weapon and piles up 1,300 yards from scrimmage.
Zimmer is 47-32-1 with Minnesota as he enters his sixth season at the helm of the Vikings.
And over the past four seasons, the Vikings have 40 wins, the most of any NFC team. That total ranks fourth in the NFL behind New England (50), Kansas City (45) and Pittsburgh (43).
As for the other two NFC North non-playoff teams from 2018, Kapadia had the Packers with the sixth-best chance to make the playoffs, while Detroit was 16th.
Cronin says WR3 battle will continue into preseason
Zimmer mentioned the Vikings wide receivers as a group that stood out to him during the night practice at TCO Stadium on Saturday.
But the Vikings Head Coach then reminded people that, aside from Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, nobody is set in stone at that position.
ESPN Vikings beat reporter Courtney Cronin agreed with Zimmer's assessment, as she recently wrote that the battle for the third wide receiver spot (and beyond) will go well into training camp and the preseason.
The position battles in Vikings camp center on backup roles. The third wide receiver is intriguing because that role has changed yearly in Minnesota's offense. Behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Chad Beebe appears to be the leading candidate for the job. There are some others in the mix, including ex-Broncos wideout Jordan Taylor and two late-round draft picks, but if Beebe can stay healthy, the shifty slot receiver could present the best fit for the job coupled with his abilities as a returner.
Beebe and Taylor have routinely seen time with the first-team offense, while Laquon Treadwell and Brandon Zylstra have mixed in, as well.
Rookie Bisi Johnson, a seventh-round pick from Colorado State, has recently started to earn some reps with the top unit, and had a touchdown catch in the red zone during a 7-on-7 drill at Monday's practice.