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Head Coach: Mike Zimmer
2020 Record: 7-9
2020 was a disappointment for the Vikings, and they became something of a Jeckyl and Hyde team. The offense was, at times, dynamic. The big 3 of Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson was as good as most similar combinations across the league, and Adam Theilen almost put up a thousand yards; It was a unit that had playoffs written all over it. Unfortunately the D and special teams were less “playoff level” and more “mid level high school”.
Injuries and Covid were a big part with the D, but there really wasn’t a reason you can point to with the kicking and return games… they just flat out sucked.
2021 Draft Picks
1-23 T Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech
3-66 QB Kellen Mond, Texas A&M (f
3-78 LB Chazz Surratt, North Carolina
3-86 G Wyatt Davis, Ohio State
3-90 DE Patrick Jones, Pittsburgh
4-119 RB Kene Nwangwu, Iowa State
4-125 DB Camryn Bynum, California
4-134 DE Janarius Robinson, Florida State
5-157 WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Iowa
5-168 TE Zach Davidson, Central Missouri
6-199 DT Jaylen Twyman, Pittsburgh
The Vikings wound up with a ton pf picks, and they made the most of them Kellen Mond may end up being the steal of the draft in the 3rd round, they pulled a couple of beasts for the O-line, and a number of the defensive players that may become full timers.
Kyle Rudolph – TE (to Giants)
Mike Hughes – CB (to Chiefs)
Anthony Harris – S (to Eagles)
Losing Rudolph was a blow, but Irv Smith is waiting in the wings. Hughes and Harris won’t be hard to replace.
Key Pick Ups
Mackensie Alexander – CB (from Bengals)
Patrick Peterson – CB (from Cardinals)
Xavier Woods – S (from Cowboys)
You can’t compete in a division with Aaron Rodgers with a bad defensive backfield. All three of these additions should be difference makers.
Offensive Coordinator: Klint Kubiak
2020 Points Scored: 430 (11th)
The Vikings put up numbers in 2020, but they were inconsistent and sometimes went quiet in crunch time. The D was partly to blame; it’s hard to run an efficient attack when you’re forced to play from behind and win shootouts. With another year under their belt, though, the Vikings should start to win some of those games now. Whether they take that next step and join the elite will rest on Cousins. To date he’s Jeff George (google it)…. lots of numbers, but not a lot of wins or defining moments. He’s surrounded by talent, so if it’s ever going to happen this will be the year. To compete with the Packers though, that line will need to improve quite a bit.
Defensive Coordinators: Andre Patterson, Adam Zimmer
2020 Points Allowed: 475 (29th)
The good new is it can’t get any worse. The D line and secondary have been retooled and stocked with veteran free agents, and while they won’t be as good as the Vikingss’ D we’re used to, they should be far better. They still need to find a pass rush, but this shouldn’t be a unit that loses games for Minnesota this year.
Literally every critical position in the kicking game is going to be up for grabs in training camp… all of them. So who knows?
If Things Go Well
The schedule looks brutal going into the season, but most of the hardest games are at home. Cousins puts up another career year, and with these weapons there’s every reason to think he can… and the Vikings are able to hang up points with anyone. The D isn’t great, but they’re solid, and the kicking game improves… the Vikings return to the playoffs.
If They Don’t
The O line can’t protect again, Cousins looks like the Kirk Cousins we’ve all grown used to, the defensive reboot turns out to be less “Bringing in a wave of defensive veterans” and more “brought in a bunch of cast offs who can’t do it anymore”. The special teams continues to struggle. Suddenly that brutal schedule is a much bigger deal.
There’s just too much firepower here to think the Vikings will be left out of the playoffs again. They won’t catch the Packers, but if they stay healthy, this is probably at least a one and done playoff team. That’s actually the bad news… the good news is when Aaron Rodgers and Davonte Adams skip town in 2022, the NFC North should become Vikings territory.
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