Even After Draft, Bleacher Report Considers Vikings a Low-Tier Team

Oct 13, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Jordan Howard (24) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr (55) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

You, the Minnesota Vikings enthusiast, might be high on the franchise following the NFL draft and subsequent selection of Christian Darrisaw, Kellen Mond, and Wyatt Davis. Outwardly, the draft felt like a fairly apt exercise in wisdom and efficiency.

But not everybody believes that.

For example, Bleacher Report is shockingly unimpressed with the Vikings standing at the start of May. Following the draft, Bleacher Report re-ranked all 32 NFL teams in power-ranking format. Last year’s Super Bowl participants — the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs — topped the rankings. The bottom-feeding twosome was the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions.

Sadly, the Vikings are much closer to the Texans and Lions than the Buccaneers and Chiefs, at least according to Bleacher Report. Minnesota checked in at #23 on BR’s post-draft power rankings. The article was authored by a hodgepodge of men and women as the piece is attributed to “NFL Staff.” Those folks said this about the Vikings at #23:

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the more difficult teams in the league to get a bead on. On one hand, there’s quite a bit to like about a Vikings team that made the postseason two years ago. Kirk Cousins isn’t an elite quarterback, but he isn’t a liability. Dalvin Cook is one of the most explosive running backs in the league. Adam Thielen and youngster Justin Jefferson are a dangerous duo of wide receivers. Edge-rusher Danielle Hunter, linebacker Eric Kendricks and safety Harrison Smith are all talented defenders, while first-round pick Christian Darrisaw should help shore up the Vikings line. But that offensive line ranked 26th in the league last year, per Pro Football Focus. The arrival of Patrick Peterson and the return of Mackenzie Alexander will help Minnesota’s 25th-ranked pass defense, but the back end remains a question mark. So is the pass rush after Hunter missed the entire 2020 season. If things break the right way, the Vikings have already shown they have the potential to make a playoff run. But as last year’s backslide demonstrated, this team has precious little margin for error.

And this write-up is odd because it denotes all the improvements that the Vikings have orchestrated while briefly mentioning reservations about the offensive line. So, it seems Bleacher Report is saying “they’re pretty good, but let’s plop in the bottom third of the league nonetheless.”

Under head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have alternated terrific seasons with mediocre campaigns. 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020 were seasons mired in disappointing mediocrity whereas 2015, 2017, and 2019 were exciting years. If the calendar doesn’t lie, Minnesota should be on tap for a winning 2021.

Via free agency, general manager Rick Spielman added key defensive pieces in Patrick Peterson (CB), Dalvin Tomlinson (3DT), Mackensie Alexander (CB), Stephen Weatherly (DE), Nick Vigil (LB), and Xavier Woods.

The draft class looks like this:

  • Virginia Tech — OT Christian Darrisaw
  • Texas A&M — QB Kellen Mond
  • North Carolina — LB Chazz Surratt
  • Ohio State — G Wyatt Davis
  • Pittsburgh — DE Patrick Jones II
  • Iowa State — RB Kene Nwangwu
  • California — S Camryn Bynum
  • Florida State — EDGE Janarius Robinson
  • Iowa — WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette
  • Central Missouri — TE Zach Davidson
  • Pittsburgh — DT Jalen Twyman

In about four months, onlookers will determine who is closer to a sound prediction — Bleacher Report with #23 or the masses with a forecast a lot loftier than that.