On Tuesday, Bleacher Report made it crystal clear that the Minnesota Vikings aren’t a very solid squad heading into 2021. Read the full details here. The sports-reporting outfit has the Vikings pegged as the NFL’s 23rd-best team at this juncture of the offseason.
For those embroiled in Vikings day-to-day fandom, this low seeding was a jaw-dropping moment. Is this team really not that good? — was the sentiment from purple heads. The only true-blue weaknesses on Minnesota’s depth chart as of early May are the right defensive end spot and probably the kicker position (due to uncertainty).
But that’s about it. The rest of the roster, if healthy, should be a solid collaboration of men.
And The Sporting News agrees with that analysis more so than Bleacher Report. Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News concocted power rankings of his own on Tuesday. He evidently saw the Bleacher Report slums of #23 and raised the bar. Per Iyer, the Vikings are the NFL’s 12th-best team at the moment, climbing 10 spots (!!) as a result of the 2021 NFL Draft. Iyer briefly said on the ranking:
“The Vikings got plenty of immediate help to shore up some disappointing weaknesses from last season and they also stashed a little for the future, both at quarterback and for their steady defensive rebuild. They look on track to bounce back as a wild-card team.“
That is a more reasonable assessment than the NFL Staff at Bleacher Report offered. Interestingly, Bleacher Report didn’t openly lambast Minnesota in its write-up but chose a ruthless 23rd ranking for a team that showcases Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, Harrison Smith, Kirk Cousins, and Anthony Barr.
The Vikings were holders of one primary and glaring weakness in 2020 — the defense. And, it felt weird. Here’s why:
Ordinarily under head coach Mike Zimmer, the defense swarms while the offense does “just enough” to get by. In 2020, the tendency was the inverse [and worse]. The offensive was relatively high-octane with Justin Jefferson’s ascension whereas the defense was clumsy and stinky. Much of the season was spent by the Vikings defense without these perosonalities: Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce, Anthony Barr, Mike Hughes, and Eric Kendricks.
If you can believe it — those men matter. They change the course of ballgames.
Ergo, Zimmer is either suddenly inept at coaching defensive football — or the defense was indeed ravaged by too many injuries. 2021 will decide which verdict is truthful, if folks can stay healthy this season.
On the Sporting News post-draft power rankings, the Vikings are in a class with the Dallas Cowboys (10th) and Indianapolis Colts (11th). Notably, Iyer is higher on the Vikings in 2021 than he is the Seattle Seahawks, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers led the board, respectively. At the very bottom [in order of bad to worst] lived the Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans.
For broader coverage on the NFL as a whole, check out our nationally-themed affiliate, FranchiseTagged.com.