Minnesota Vikings 2022 preview: Over or under projected win total of 9?

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) warms up before a preseason NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

2021 record: 8-9

2022 bye week: 7

Most impactful additions: LBs Jordan Hicks and Za’Darius Smith, S Lewis Cine (first round), DB Andrew Booth (second round)

Most impactful departures: S Xavier Woods, LB Anthony Barr, DT Michael Pierce, TE Tyler Conklin

Easiest part(s) of schedule: A six-game stretch from Weeks 3 through 9 with their bye in Week 7 against Detroit, New Orleans (in London), Chicago, at Miami, Arizona and at Washington could be the springboard the Vikings need to surpass the Packers in the NFC North.

They also have a four-game run with just one winning team from 2021, as Minnesota gets the Jets in Week 13 followed by at Detroit, Indianapolis and the Giants before finishing at Green Bay and at Chicago.

Toughest part(s) of schedule: There really are only two really tough spots, and they each last only two weeks. (Well, some might consider the second one three weeks long.) The bad news is the first one is right out of the chute, as the Vikings will host Green Bay in Week 1 and then travel to Philadelphia.

In Week 10, they travel to Buffalo and host Dallas the Sunday before Thanksgiving, when they’ll host New England.

Caesars over/under win total (as of Aug. 27): 9 – Over -135 / Under +115; Odds to win Super Bowl LVIII at +4000.

Book it: OVER. Run – don’t walk – to get your phone and place a bet on this over. Granted, you’re not quite getting the value you would have received had you bet it a month or so ago, and -135 is rarely something to run toward. But how in the heck can this team not get to 9 wins as a floor?

The aforementioned six-game stretch with the bye in the middle of it is at least a 4-2 proposition and probably 5-1. Other spots say this is a much easier schedule than the Packers have, and if they can split with them, I think they become the favorites to win the NFC North (which you can get them at +250 as of Aug. 18).

Kirk Cousins has as many weapons as any other quarterback in the league, and that includes one of the top 1-2 punches at running back with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison and one of the top three or four receiver trios in the league with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and up-and-coming KJ Osborn. (Our handicapping expert, Adam Chernoff, says Jefferson is an excellent buy for Offensive Player of the Year.)

Brother Martin alum Irv Smith has become a weapon at tight end, as well. The only downfall is whether this offensive line can hold up and move toward the center of league rankings.

This far down the preview, and we haven’t even mentioned new coach Kevin O’Connell, who is the antithesis of former coach Mike Zimmer, who was defense first and defense second (although they weren’t very good). The ball will be flying around plenty, and it might not even matter if their defense stinks again.

(Well, it will matter in the playoffs, but we’re not putting too much on their conference (+1600) and Super Bowl odds.)

Projected finish: 11-6

Categories: Upstate Action

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