Minnesota Vikings preseason preview

Connor Van Hulzen—Staff Writer

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) scores a field goal against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings finished their 2020 season with a meager 7-9 record, leading to their exclusion from the playoffs.

After this poor showing, the Minneapolis team used their offseason to reload and prove their Super Bowl window had not yet slammed shut.

The Vikings made some splashes over the spring and summer. They signed multiple defensive veterans to bolster a unit that finished near the bottom in almost every significant category. Hopefully, it will result in a better overall defensive product this year from head coach Mike Zimmer’s favorite side of the ball.

At his disposal, Zimmer will now have a future a Hall of Famer (admittedly past his prime) in cornerback in Patrick Peterson. He also has at his disposal a new run stuffer in Dalvin Tomlinson, a versatile corner Bashaud Breeland, and a veteran safety Xavier Woods.

Since Vikings fans have already called for the firings of Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman, this season becomes the ultimate proving grounds for the Vikings to potentially compete in the Super Bowl.

Unfortunately for the Vikings, these playoff hopes are reliant upon a patchwork defense full of new faces and an offense led by the much maligned and controversial quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Aside from his now infamous, “If I die, I die” quote from last year, Kirk Cousins did not complete much of note last season.

This offseason, Cousins already managed to wander into hot water with Zimmer during his refusal to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. Zimmer’s insistence that his players receive their vaccine and the Vikings’ current status as one of the least-vaccinated teams in the NFL has become a point of contention.

Cousins’ unmatched ability to go from MVP candidate to a walking turnover machine from week to week will test the Vikings’ resilience this season. He will be essential to the Vikings’ success, and if he performs in a way that matches his $31 million contract for this season, the Vikings may make a deep playoff run.

Unfortunately, Cousins’ week-to-week play may as well rely on a coinflip.

One encouraging sign for the Vikings’ prospects this season is their success in odd-numbered years during the reign of Zimmer. He became coach before the 2014 season and failed to make the playoffs in his first year. Since then, Zimmer has made the playoffs in 2015, ‘17, and ‘19 – missing in ‘14, ‘16, ‘18, and ‘20.

This statistical analysis means that the Vikings will unquestionably qualify for the playoffs and threaten for a Super Bowl title… right?

Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings are an entity which seems to be governed by no logic or reason. The Vikings will be governed only by chaos until on one glorious day, the team will finally piece it all together.

Odds are, it just won’t be this year.

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