Heading into the 2017 NFL season, there are quite a few question marks surrounding the Minnesota Vikings. Last season, the Vikings finished the year with an 8-8 record and missed the playoffs. It was a rough year, but the Vikings believe that they can get back into playoff contention this season.
Sam Bradford appears to have made a good impression in his first season with the Vikings. He made enough of an impression that the Vikings chose not to pick up their contract option on Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a gruesome knee injury ahead of the season last year. Minnesota saw Bradford get more comfortable throughout the season, and they obviously believe he is a capable long-term starter for them.
Minnesota made some moves this offseason to improve their roster, although losing Adrian Peterson was a sad day for the fan base. To replace Peterson, the Vikings brought in Latavius Murray in free agency and drafted Dalvin Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Looking ahead to the 2017 NFL season, the NFC North appears to be a very tough division. Green Bay is always a top team in the NFC, while the Detroit Lions have taken major steps forward over the past few seasons. Chicago won’t be much of an issue for the other three, although they should improve this season.
All of that being said, what five bold predictions can be made for the Minnesota Vikings heading into 2017?
Sam Bradford Will Solidify Himself as the Starter
Even though Sam Bradford has had consistency issues in the past, he took steps forward last season. He will take even more steps this season to prove that he should be the starter in Minnesota. Bridgewater won’t give up without a fight, but a big season from Bradford will make returning to the starting role a difficult task for Bridgewater.
Dalvin Cook Will Take Over as Starter and Compete for Rookie of the Year
It appears that Latavius Murray will start the regular season as the starting running back. That may be the case, but rookie running back Dalvin Cook will have something to say about that. Cook will take over as the starter by the end of the season and will compete for the Offensive Rookie of the Year award this season.
Minnesota’s Defense Will Lead the League in Forced Turnovers
If there is one thing that the Vikings will have to do in order to make the playoffs, it is forcing turnovers. They have the defensive personnel to be a playmaking defense, and it will pay off. Minnesota will lead the league in forced turnovers.
The Vikings Will Win the NFC North Division
Green Bay is currently expected to win the NFC North, but the Vikings will have something to say about that. Minnesota will find a way to squeak out a division title this season. Just two years ago, the Vikings were able to win the NFC North in the final week of the season over the Packers, and they will find a way to get the job done again this season.
Minnesota Will Make it to the NFC Championship Game
Whether the Vikings make it to the Super Bowl or not, they will make it to the NFC Championship Game. It won’t be easy, but the Vikings have put together a lot of talent. Minnesota will surprise the NFL this season and will be one of the top two teams in the NFC when everything is said and done.
Expect to see a very entertaining season from the Vikings this year. They may not end up reaching the conference championship game, but that is a very reasonable goal for them.
Do you think the Minnesota Vikings are a Super Bowl contender this season? What do you think their regular season record will end up being? Let us know your thoughts in the comment box below!
[Featured Image by Charlie Neibergall/AP Images]