A Bland “Bold Prediction” for Vikings

Oct 30, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. Mandatory Credit: Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports.

Well, this one is a bit bland. ESPN recently published a piece where they offer a bold prediction for each NFL team, so I was intrigued to see what the Vikings have in store for 2022.

According to ESPN, the Vikings will merely snag a Wild Card spot:

The Vikings are making the playoffs in coach Kevin O’Connell’s first season. They won’t beat the Packers for the NFC North title, but O’Connell has inherited a talented offense and will bring with him a scheme that helped win Super Bowl LVI when he was Rams offensive coordinator.

Getting into the playoffs is one part of the larger goal, so it is a laudable accomplishment. Nevertheless, merely snagging a Wild Card spot isn’t particularly bold. The one time Minnesota got into the playoffs over these past four seasons was through a Wild Card birth. Otherwise, the team has put forth pedestrian efforts that couldn’t even snag the 7th playoff spot.

It’s fair to say that recent expectations have looked beyond a mere playoff birth. I know things haven’t gone as hoped, but this is a team that has been trying to keep a Super-Bowl window open. Their goal isn’t just to sneak into the playoffs while the Packers take the North for the fourth-straight season. Nay, this is a team that has been and is continuing to act as if the Lombardi is within reach in 2022.

A far more bold prediction would involve the Vikings claiming the North. Another option would be that Minnesota not only gets in, but wins at least a game or two. For the sake of argument, I’ll lean into the purple optimism in Year 1 of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell. Put me down for an 11-6 record and a playoff win.

Don’t forget that simply playing somewhat competent defense against the Lions and then toppling the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys would have put the Vikings at 10-7 last season. Making that field goad against the Cards at the beginning of the year would have thus pushed Minnesota to a strong 11-6 record.

The safe money is surely on Minnesota getting in bed with mediocrity once again. Indeed, average has been a common bedfellow of late, so the likeliest outcome is to clothe humdrum in purple. Something a decent step beyond average thus strikes me as a bold guess, one that – if it comes to pass – would signal success for O’Connell in his first year as HC.