ESPN Gives Minnesota 15th-Best Odds For The Elusive Lombardi

Kirk Cousins and Russell Wilson
Aug 24, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) meet after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

I’ll admit I didn’t see this one coming. I thought we’d see yet another piece that insists Minnesota will be stuck in the doldrums of mediocrity. Now, I know what you’re thinking: ranking 15th isn’t exactly reason to throw a parade; in fact, it’s basically the definition of mediocre. To a certain extent, that’s definitely true. Nevertheless, I think it’s a fair position, especially since the article acknowledges that we have a reasonably high ceiling.

We had a lousy 2020 season, and the conference is looking relatively strong. There are also several teams in the AFC that have a better shot than we do, so I really can’t quibble with the mid-teens position (there would be some serious quibbling if we were down in the 20s).

The ESPN article puts us ahead of notable teams like the Steelers, Cards, and Colts. I could make a case for us being ahead of Miami, New England, and even New Orleans, but I still think we’re in a pretty fair spot. As I’ve mentioned before, the Vikings have a high ceiling and low floor this year. I won’t be surprised if we’re great; I won’t be surprised if we’re awful. For the record, I’ve got us as a playoff team with an 11-6 record.

Here is what the ESPN piece had to say: “Odd year Vikings! Minnesota has gone 34-14 (.708) in odd years under Mike Zimmer but only 30-33-1 (.477) in even years, including 7-9 last season. Disappointingly for one of the league’s best defensive coaches, it was the defense that did in this team. After never ranking lower than 11th in points allowed in any season under Zimmer, the Vikings ranked a woeful 29th.” Barnwell goes on: “Everything seems on the table for them. If the returning veterans fix the defense and — insert annual text here — the offensive line is finally fixed, they could have one of the league’s most talented and comprehensive rosters.”

Barnwell hits the nail on the head.

Anything is possible for our Vikings. The article gives us a 45.4% chance of making the playoffs and a 2.1% of winning that elusive Lombardi Trophy. I’ll take it.