Former Vikings Executive Delivers Bold Season Prediction

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing season with a 7-10 record in 2023, the Vikings want to re-claim a winning record in the upcoming campaign. They will continue to play without passer Kirk Cousins, who missed nine games last season because of a torn Achilles tendon and has since departed to the Atlanta Falcons.

Partly because of his exit, many oddsmakers believe another seven-win record will arrive in 2024.

Former Vikings Executive Delivers Bold Season Prediction

Former Vikings Executive Delivers Bold Season Prediction
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell (left) and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah react during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, some fans still believe their team will make some noise in 2024, but they are not alone. Minnesota’s former general manager, Jeff Diamond, joins them, predicting that the team will reach the postseason after a one-year absence.

He is well-known as the man who acquired some Hall of Famers in the past, most notably Randy Moss and John Randle. Diamond worked in various positions for the Vikings from 1976 to the end of the 1998 season. He is now a regular contributor to VikingsTerritory and predicted a 9-8 record, enough to land the final seed in the NFC playoff picture: “Vikings finish the regular season 9-8, make the playoffs as the NFC’s No. 7 seed, and lose at San Francisco in the Wildcard round.”

A trip to the postseason would be the second in Kevin O’Connell’s tenure as the head coach. This time, the team would lose to the scary San Francisco 49ers, which would undoubtedly be less disappointing than tripping over the Daniel Jones-led New York Giants in January 2023 after a 13-4 regular season.

“It may seem like a pipe dream with all of the offseason changes and playing in such a strong division,” Diamond explained. “But I think it’s doable if things break right for a Vikings team that is more talented than most people believe. After all, this is a league where there are always about six new playoff teams every year.”

NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions
Sep 17, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell looks at the scoreboard in the third quarter of their game against the Seattle Seahawks at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

Indeed, the division is envisioned to be one of the league’s best, with Detroit coming off an unusual trip to the NFC Championship Game and Green Bay fielding the youngest roster in the league and still winning a contest in the postseason. Chicago’s improving defense and the presence of first-overall pick Caleb Williams have turned the unit into another sneaky contender for the crown in the North.

The key to a successful season is the QB play. If the duo of Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy can play at a decent level, the team can rack up some wins. Upgrading from Cousins is unlikely, but improving the unit compared to the QB carousel from last season is realistic. Diamond pictures Darnold to claim the starting role until McCarthy enters the lineup in a home contest against the Colts in Week 9.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores watches his team play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Another key for Diamond is defensive coordinator Brian Flores, whose blitz-heavy defense can be a big problem for opposing quarterbacks; as last year showed, especially inexperienced players can see ghosts against his unique mix of blitzes and three-man rushes. The revamped pass rush has to replace Danielle Hunter, but Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Dallas Turner form a solid group.

A five-game winning streak in December plays a huge part in Diamond’s prediction. The wins will come over the Cardinals, Falcons, Bears, Seahawks and Packers. A loss in Week 18 facing Detroit can’t prevent the franchise from making the playoffs, but the 49ers are too good to move on to the divisional round.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and prefers Classic rock over other genres. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt