PPT: Will The Team Be Ready by Week 1?
The folks who created the NFL schedule didn’t want to ease Kevin O’Connell into being a head coach. To begin his head coaching career, O’Connell will be taking on the Packers, the three-time division champs. Will the Vikings be able to take down such a formidable opponent in Week 1?
So much attention will be devoted to Aaron Rodgers, but I’m more worried about that defense. Up front, they’ll send out Rashan Gary, Preston Smith, and Kenny Clark (which is to say nothing of first rounder Devonte Wyatt). De’Vondre Campbell – who was a first-time All Pro last season – will partner with another first-round defender in Quay Walker. The secondary will be leaning on Jaire Alexander, Rasul Douglas, Eric Stokes, Darnell Savage, and Adrian Amos.
The point, folks, is that this is a group that doesn’t have too many weak points. I won’t be surprised if they finish the year as the NFL’s top-ranked defense.
Minnesota has a ton of talent on offense, and the O’Connell system ought to push this group higher than last season. One wonders, though, if it’ll still be a work in progress for the Vikings in Week 1. If so, it’ll be a long day.
The matchup against Rodgers isn’t as daunting as most years. He’s still excellent, but his receivers aren’t nearly as dangerous as past seasons. Losing Davante Adams is obviously the main issue. Losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling, though, is an underrated subtraction for Green Bay. His length and speed creates issues for a defense. Rodgers will need to respond by leaning on Randall Cobb, Christian Watson, and Allen Lazard. Some believe that GB’s QB1 will struggle to adjust to the lesser talent at receiver.
Stealing a Week 1 win against the Packers would serve as a major confidence boost for the Vikings. No one will really expect them to begin 1-0, but many will be hopeful simply because it’s the opening game for a new coaching staff. We’ll see if some of the offseason optimism translates to an unexpected strong start.
Editor’s Note: This series considers a variety of questions that Minnesota will be looking to answer during training camp and the preseason. The point is simply to provide concise discussions of pertinent purple topics. We’ll do one per day leading up to training camp, which begins on July 24th.
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