As Vikings fans we’re well versed when it comes to not getting respect from ESPN, whether it’s in their power rankings or even highlights for games not played by Brett Favre. So, while everything that comes from the four letter network has to be taken with an entire bottle of salt, it is still important to step outside of the bubble that comes from writing/reading about the Vikings to see what “Objective”, national sources are saying about the purple and gold from time to time.
With that comes the most recent Power Rankings from ESPN, which were written by … ESPN? So, that means, ESPN has become a self aware entity like Sky-Net? That makes so much sense and explains what happened to Stuart Scott… So, Let’s see what they had to say about the Vikings after the acquisitions of Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers, Datone Jones and Latavius Murray:
2016 record: 8-8
Post-Super Bowl ranking: No. 18
The Vikings ranked last in the NFL in rushing last season, and after declining Adrian Peterson’s option, it became clear the team was going in a new direction. Not only did Minnesota add running back Latavius Murray, it also added two new offensive tackles in Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers.
While I can’t disagree with the write up, I don’t know how a team that ended up 8-8 because of a bad rushing game and broken offensive line wouldn’t be at least better than 19th out of 32 possible teams after making improvements to both, unless the 18 teams above them made even more significant improvements. Sure, the Packers, for example, added Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, but are they really THAT much better? I mean, sure, they made it to the NFC Championship game with a bunch of injuries on their defense and the NFC is pretty weak right now, but third best in the league because of two tight ends? Give me a break.
It’s fair to have the two Super Bowl teams as one and two, but essentially what this article is saying is that the Packers are one of a few elite teams. I really don’t think that’s the case and that’s not just my hatred speaking. But, I guess at the very least the Vikes will have some great bulletin board material going into 2017, which is where they appear to operate best. So, I can’t complain too much. Hopefully they’ll load up in the draft on some talent (Curtis Samuel or Joe Mixon would be nice) to improve both the rushing and passing games as they are at least decently set on the offensive line and definitely need some help at the skill positions still. If Joe Mixon is available at 48, which he very well could be, it’d be hard for the Vikings to turn him down despite his history of punching a woman in the face at the bar. Many people have Mixon listed as the most talented running back in the entire draft, so he could really, really help fill the cleats left by Adrian Peterson both on the field and apparently off…
Stay tuned to see what ESPN ranks the post draft Vikings as. But, this could be a make or break year for Rick Spielman, so it’ll at the very least be interesting to cover.