You may have heard, they were very lucky last season
11 mins read

You may have heard, they were very lucky last season

(Yahoo Sports Graphics by Hana Luca)

(Yahoo Sports Graphics by Hana Luca)

Years ago, Minnesota Vikings fans could enjoy their 13-win season at Slam.

For better or for worse, everyone is getting smarter now when it comes to analyzing football. We understand that spread can help predict future performance. The converging gains were a bit risky. Any advanced stats you want are a click away. We get that just because a team won 13 games doesn’t mean it was dominant.

Vikings fans were constantly reminded last season that their team wasn’t nearly as good as its 13-4 record. They went an incredible 11-0 in regular season games decided by eight points or less, including a record-breaking comeback against the Indianapolis Colts when they trailed 33-0 at halftime. They had a difference of minus 3 points, which is unfathomable for a team that has gone beyond 0.5 matches. No other 12-win team in NFL history has ever been recorded during a season, let alone a 13-win team. Minnesota is ranked 27th in the state DVOA for outsiders in soccer. In FO’s Estimated Wins metric, the Vikings are rated as a 6.3 win team.

It must have been stressful for Vikings fans. The Vikings kept winning games, and social media kept reminding them that their team was a scam.

There were plenty of victory rolls when the Vikings lost at home to the New York Giants in a wild card playoff. All the talk of the Vikings about being lucky seemed justified.

Downgrading the 2022 Vikings and their accomplishments isn’t fair — wins and losses still matter, and there’s something to be said about the Vikings having the mental toughness to win many close games — but it’s relevant to the 2023 team. It’s not like we can start with a 13-4 record as a basis for prediction. What the Vikings will be up to this season.

Minnesota didn’t have a big vacation. Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, receiver Adam Thielen, cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebacker Eric Kendricks have all gotten money elsewhere in free agency. The team traded rushing Zadarius Smith, who had 10 sacks last season, for very little then stopped running back Dalvin Cook. Some of these veterans are nearing the end of their careers, but they still have a lot to lose in a single season.

The Vikings still have NFL Player of the Year Justin Jefferson. Kirk Cousins ​​is the competent quarterback. Alexander Matteson and rookie Jordan Addison are intriguing replacements for Cook and Thielen. The defense may improve once new coordinator Brian Flores is hired.

Justin Jefferson won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award last season.  (Photo by Stephen Maturin/Getty Images)

Justin Jefferson won the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award last season. (Photo by Stephen Maturin/Getty Images)

The Vikings should be proud of this past season. The victories were exciting. Comebacks against the Colts have a place in NFL history. Only one other Vikings team has topped the 13 wins the 2022 team has combined. The division title was their first since 2017. Jefferson is one of the most exciting players in the sport and it was good to see him as the best player in football. It was an interesting historic season for the Vikings.

It will be difficult to do that again this season.

offseason degree

The Vikings lost more than they gained. The Cleveland Browns believed defensive offense Dalphin Tomlinson was worth $57 million over four years. The defense also lost cornerback Patrick Peterson and linebacker Eric Kendricks, two veterans. Receiver Adam Thielen is on the decline, but it was shambolic to see his happy story with Minnesota end when he signed with the Carolina Panthers. The arrogant Zadarius Smith was traded to the Browns and the Vikings got two punts late in return. Dalvin Cook’s solid run with the Vikings ended when he was snapped. The big signing was tight end Josh Oliver with $21 million over three years, which seemed like a lot. Oliver is a good line blocker, and the Vikings believe he’s worth $7 million a year. Cornerback Byron Murphy and defensive end Marcus Davenport are signed and could pay off. Drafted receiver Jordan Addison in the first round was wise but was the only one in the top 100 on the team. It’s hard to feel Vikings is better, though maybe there’s something to be said about making the roster younger.

degree: d +

Quarterback report

It’s not even worth discussing Kirk Cousins ​​anymore. Those who think he stinks won’t be convinced otherwise, unless he wins the Super Bowl. Those who think he was so good wonder why he ignores his comeback wins and dismisses his stats as something of a trifle, as too many yards and touchdowns don’t help the Vikings. Whatever you think of Cousins, it doesn’t change.

Breakdown of BetMGM odds

Sportsbooks are smart and don’t give away money. They have all those advanced stats available too. The Vikings win total is 8.5 at BetMGM, which is 4.5 wins less than last season’s total. Bettors love the over, which is up to 140 odds. However, the Vikings for not making the playoffs is -140 (yes in the playoffs it is +115). I don’t think it’s fair to act as if the Vikings had nothing to do with their 13 wins last season, but those stats are hard to deny. I tend to under 8.5 wins at +115 odds.

Take Yahoo Fictional

From Scott Pianowski of Yahoo: Opinions differ on Alexander Matteson, who is projected to be a Minnesota quarterback again for 2023. Yahoo draft picks have pushed his ADP into the 70 range; he’s down a round or two later at some other spots.

Matteson’s play the past two years has been mediocre. He’s clocked in at 3.7 yards per carry since 2021, and last year he managed to gain a tiny 91 yards on 18 targets. He always looked like a capable backup while Dalvin Cook was at Minnesota, But maybe Mathison will get the better of his skates as a promoted rookie.

The Vikings’ offense isn’t necessarily a tailwind, though, with superstar Justin Jefferson. Kirk Cousins ​​saw most of his performance stats slip last year, and his offensive line is below average in 2023. I’m not discounting Mattison’s fantasy value out of control, But for me it’s a reactive selection—someone I need at my preferred cost—not a proactive selection as we prepare for recruiting season.”

Stats to remember

Justin Jefferson broke Randy Moss’ NFL record for Most 100-yard games Through a player’s first four seasons in the NFL. Moss had 23. Jefferson had 24. Also, Jefferson wasn’t even I started Fourth season in the NFL. There are a lot of superlatives surrounding Jefferson’s amazing start to his career. Last season, he led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards, becoming the youngest player to do so. He broke the record set by legend Don Hutson in 1936. His 4,825 rushing yards over three seasons is the most in NFL history, 662 more than Moss for second. The single season record for receiving yards is 1964 by Calvin Johnson (Jefferson’s 1809 last season ranks sixth) and it shouldn’t surprise anyone if Jefferson breaks that record.

burning question

How far can Brian Flores run his defense?

Ed Donatell was a constant target of criticism last season, and then the Vikings defense looked horrible in losing a playoff game to the Giants. Donatel was unsurprisingly fired, and was replaced by former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores. Donatel’s scheme has been passive and steady, and Flores promises more peeks and multiples.

“I am naturally aggressive, this is something I believe in,” Flores said when he was introduced to the media. via Fox9. “I like to be aggressive rather than reckless. There is a method to madness, and there is a good reason. … It is vital to championship football.”

Flores’ scheme needs to be better and will help clear up some of the misunderstandings and confusion that doomed the Vikings’ pass defense last season. But there is a question of talent. The Vikings finished 31st in yards allowed last season and it wasn’t all practice. Some recruiting errors have hurt the high school. Daniel Hunter is a good passer but the Vikings need a little more help on the front seven. Don’t expect Flores to be a miracle worker.

best case scenario

The Vikings won 13 games, after all. No matter how bad it gets, it’s pretty hard to beat 13 NFL players in one season. Maybe there’s something to be said for being able to win all those close matches. The offense should be fine as long as Justin Jefferson is healthy, and Brian Flores could be a great upgrade on defense. It’s not hard to buy the NFC North’s winning Vikings back.

nightmare scenario

We know decline is coming for the Vikings. Their record of close games won’t be repeated, and injured luck probably won’t hold up either (Minnesota was one of the healthiest teams in the NFL last season). You can see the holes in the roster, especially on defense. The Vikings shouldn’t be so bad that they finished last in the NFC North, but it could happen. Perhaps a particularly bad season will lead to the Vikings clawing their way out of the Kirk Cousins ​​era.

crystal ball says…

The Vikings will never go 13-4 again. This seems safe to predict. But how far will they slip? Rough season doesn’t help. But the Vikings team last season wasn’t bad. They weren’t just as good as their record. Minnesota will be strong on offense, the defense will be better because of Flores and they will be in the playoffs for most of the season. Making the playoffs, and maybe even winning the division, will end up catching a few breaks. The Vikings just need to hope they didn’t use up all their luck last season.

Other team previews

32. Arizona Cardinals

31. Houston Texans

30. Chicago Bears

29. Tennessee Titans

28. Los Angeles Rams

27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

26. Indianapolis Colts

25. Washington leaders

24. Las Vegas Raiders

23. Carolina Panthers

22. Denver Broncos

21. Atlanta Falcons

20. Green Bay Packers

19. New England Patriots

18. New York Giants

17. Minnesota Vikings

16. New Orleans Saints

15. Pittsburgh Steelers

14. Cleveland Browns

13. Los Angeles Chargers

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

11. Seattle Seahawks

10. Baltimore Ravens

9. Miami Dolphins

8. New York Jets

7. Detroit Lions

6. Dallas Cowboys

5. San Francisco 49ers

4. Buffalo bills

3. Cincinnati Bengals

2. Philadelphia Eagles

1. The Kansas City Chiefs

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