NFC NORTH PREVIEW
August 23rd, 2016
Minnesota didn’t do much this off-season to upgrade their offense, but they didn’t need to either. This was a very successful unit last season that showed vast improvement from the year before, and was a Blair Walsh missed field goal away from advancing in the playoffs. They are all now another year more experienced and will start ZERO rookies and only one 2nd year player. They are not overly deep, so health is the biggest concern, but if that should hold, the Vikings will win the North in 2016.
It’s much of the same story on the defensive side of the football, as the Vikings defense bring a perfect blend of youth and experience to the table. The Vikings are starting no rookies, and Linval Joseph from the Giants as well as Terrance Newman from the Bengals are the only two new comers on defense. That is a Viking Boat load of experience, so expect the Vikes to be extremely stout on defense.
Linemen, especially on offense are constantly getting overlooked, so here’s where they get some love. The Vikings added two major offensive cogs when they signed Alex Boone from San Francisco and Andre Smith from Cincinnati. All the experience a team can afford should be spent on the O-line as the Vikings have done, and when you have a young QB with young WRs plus an aging RB – bolstering that area of the offensive is money well spent. Look for Adrian Peterson to benefit right way, and when he doesn’t don’t forget why.
The easy X-factors on this team are the continued dominance of Adrian Peterson, whom experts seem convinced that he will digress. Which is fine, but this argument has been made every year for several years. One year he may actually digress and that those experts will be correct, but this year they are wrong. Some more low hanging fruit is Teddy Bridgewater, but he is going to pace himself and will produce with out being the focal point of the offense. Which means the true X-factor is going to be this year’s first round draft pick Laquon Treadwell.
The former Ole Miss WR is a true playmaker with a pure wide receiver body. He’s got plus hands and plus speed to go along with good size and is ready to start on Sundays. He’s 2nd on the depth chart, but that won’t last, and if he figures it out, he will be a game changer.
Stefon Diggs has the most potential on this team to get you the best value. Peterson you will have to pay for, but Diggs could be a top 20 WR in PPR leagues. He had a great rookie campaign and progression in this offense is more likely than digression.
This team has an 11-5 season in them, as the schedule sets up favorably for them. The Vikings have to go to Carolina, and Jacksonville, and they have a tough matchup hosting Arizona, but aside from that they have a good shot to steam roll the rest of their schedule which includes a split with Green Bay. They may have a hiccup or two down the road, but they will have a good chance to see where they stand in Week 2 when they host Green Bay in prime time. Here’s your division champ, mark it down.
The Minnesota Vikings are a -3.0 point Road Favorite vs. Tennessee Titans in week 1. Get all of your NFL Week 1 odds.