The Minnesota Vikings offense was one of the best in the league in 2020, but a notably bad defense kept them playing from behind most of the season. After starting 1-5 they did go 6-4, but it was too little, too late. They’ll look to improve their defense this season and keep their offense rolling in 2021.
7-9, 3rd in NFC North
Points: 29.7 points per game, rank 29th
Yards: 6.1 yards per play, rank 27th (tied with 1 team)
Football Outsiders Ranking: 18th
Points: 26.9 points per game, rank 11th
Yards: 6.2 yards per play, rank 4th
Football Outsiders Ranking: 8th
Super Bowl: +4000
AFC/NFC Champion: +1800
Win Total: 9 (Over +110, Under -134)
The Vikings lost offensive lineman Riley Reiff and safety Anthony Harris, both strong players at their position. They also let tight end Kyle Rudolph walk in free agency along with defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo.
They picked up defensive end Stephen Weatherly from the Panthers and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson from the Giants. They also added to their secondary with Patrick Peterson, Mackensie Alexander and Xavier Woods. And with their first round pick in the draft they took tackle Christian Darrisaw with the 23rd overall pick.
Biggest question entering training camp
The offense should be able to continue putting up numbers with running back Dalvin Cook and wide receivers Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson. There’s no doubt that Kirk Cousins does leave fans wanting and it may be tough for him to lead the team over the top teams in the league, but he does help them put up above average offensive stats.
The big question will be if their offseason additions can move the needle on defense. Does Peterson still have shutdown corner ability? Can their additions to the defensive line shore up a shaky unit?
What needs to happen for the Vikings to win the Super Bowl?
To win the big game we’ll of course need to see a big improvement at all spots in the defense, but ultimately it would come down to Cousins elevating the offense to go toe to toe with the best in the league. He hasn’t shown that ability in his career yet.
There’s a good chance the Vikings can play better on defense and get back into the playoff hunt this season, but I don’t expect a dominant season. The defense likely didn’t get better in a huge way, while the offense is still missing a stud at quarterback.