Why I’m excited about the 2018 Minnesota Vikings

In the wake of a slightly less than ideal preseason performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars Garrett Bradbury white jersey , fans of the Minnesota Vikings. . .as is our wont. . .have started to go about the business of freaking out about the upcoming season and declaring 2018 to be a failure before our favorite team has even taken the field in a meaningful game.Nonsense. Balderdash. Poppycock, even.Sure, we would obviously be much happier had Kirk Cousins and company gone out and lit it up on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. I would like to take this moment, however, to remind you that in their three preseason outings last season, the Vikings’ first team offense produced a total of zero touchdowns. Sam Bradford threw zero touchdown passes in the preseason in 2017. Dalvin Cook ran for exactly zero touchdowns, and the trio of Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph combined for zero touchdown receptions. All-in-all, the first-string offense played about five quarters of football in the 2017 preseason and generated a grand total of three points.Didn’t seem to affect them as far as the regular season went, eh?So, rather than focusing on the negatives and waiting for the other shoe to drop. . .even though, as previously mentioned, that’s what we’re conditioned to do. . .let’s talk about exactly why we should be excited about this team. Because, man, there sure are a lot of reasons. However, in the interest of time, I’ll limit those reasons to just a few.1) This is still, arguably, the NFL’s best defense, and they may be even betterThe identity of this team is still on the defensive side of the ball. As far as that side is concerned, the Vikings may have taken the best defense in the National Football League and improved it even more. The team has locked up nearly all of the most important pieces of this defense for the long term, and of the 11 starters, the only new face is a guy that not too long ago was named the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. As far as the starting 11 is concerned, this might be the best defense in the league, and if it’s not it’s in the Top 2.But this defense is deep, too. How deep? On Saturday Garrett Bradbury Minnesota Vikings Jerseys , the Jacksonville Jaguars. . .a team that was one quarter away from advancing to the Super Bowl last season. . .played their starters on offense for, essentially, the entire first half. They managed seven points. The first-string defense was pretty much done after one quarter of play, so the Vikings’ backups managed to hold the Jacksonville offense completely in check for the entire second quarter. This defense has talent on top of talent, and some lucky teams are going to be the beneficiaries of the Vikings having to cut some very good players.Whoever makes this team on the defensive side will most certainly have earned it. They will have shown that they’re good enough to be a part of the NFL’s #1 defense.2) The offense is going to be betterThe focus of the Vikings’ offseason was the signing of Kirk Cousins, and with good reason. When you give a guy the first fully guaranteed contract in the free agency era, you’re going to be scrutinized for it. Even with the rough performance against Jacksonville, there’s no reason to be worried about the Vikings’ offense at this point.For starters, we haven’t seen Dalvin Cook take the field this preseason. We saw in his brief time last year exactly what sort of impact Cook can have on the offense, and with all due respect to Latavius Murray, teams are going to have to defend an offense with Dalvin Cook on the field differently than they’ll have to defend one with Murray out there. Cook might play in the All-Important Third Preseason Game鈩?against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday. Then again, he might not. I don’t care either way. . .I want him out there against the San Francisco 49ers on 9 September.The rest of the offense is nothing to sneeze at, either, particularly what might be the NFL’s best 1-2 receiver duo right now. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen (and the rest of the team’s receivers) spent a lot of time working with Cousins this offseason, so I don’t think that chemistry is going to be an issue. After all, Case Keenum got just about zero time with the first-team offense last season, and he did just fine.Also, as Ted as said here recently, I’m not nearly as freaked out about the offensive line as I’m apparently supposed to be. On Saturday, when the offense looked rough, the starters on the offensive line were Riley Reiff and four guys that are, in all likelihood, not going to be starting in Week 1. Pat Elflein is going to be back soon. Mike Remmers is coming back. Brian O’Neill is showing more promise than expecte. The depth along the offensive line is better than it has been.Last, we know that John DeFilippo is the new offensive coordinator, and that he likes to do a lot of different and creative things. There is a non-zero chance that the offense we’ve seen from the Vikings this preseason looks absolutely nothing like the offense they’ll display in the regular season. The Vikings aren’t going to be showing anything of importance over the next couple of weeks, so I’m not particularly worried about the offense.3) There is, literally, no reason not to be excitedSeriously Minnesota Vikings Jerseys Stitched , folks, I’ve been a fan of this team for over 30 years. This might be, from 1 to 53 on the roster, the most talented Vikings team of my lifetime. Better than 1998, better than 2009, better than any of them. (Obviously I can’t speak to the teams of the 70s, so our older contingent will probably have something to say about that.) This team is on the short list of Super Bowl contenders. Some outlets even have this team at #1 in their preseason Power Rankings.There’s a reason for that. This team is really, really good. The expectations for this team are really, really high. And there’s every reason to expect that this team is going to, at the very least, meet those expectations.You may not be excited for the 2018 Minnesota Vikings right now, based on what we saw at U.S. Bank Stadium a couple of days ago. But you should be. . .and, I have a feeling that in a few weeks, you absolutely will be. EAGAN, Minn. 鈥?After finishing one game short of the Super Bowl last season and spending big to make Kirk Cousins their franchise player, the Minnesota Vikings were surrounded by high expectations from the start.That championship chase simply never picked up any steam.“It wasn’t what we wanted, what our fan base wanted. It’s OK to be disappointed. I think, if anything, it will sharpen us and give us an edge as we prepare for next year, and I think that’s a good thing,” said Cousins, who signed a three-year, fully guaranteed, $84 million contract to become the fourth primary quarterback in four seasons for Minnesota.More Vikings coverageTop Tweets: Minnesota teams send best wishes to GophersVikings sign veteran guard KlineVikings agree to terms with kicker Dan BaileyVikings add RB depth, re-sign Ameer AbdullahFormer Vikings guard Easton agrees to four-year deal with SaintsBy聽losing 24-10 at home to Chicago聽on Sunday, the Vikings fell out of the second wild-card spot in the NFC that was claimed by Philadelphia. They missed the playoffs for the third time in five years under coach Mike Zimmer. They won the NFC North in 2015 and 2017 by finishing 11-5 and 13-3 respectively, but their records in the even-numbered seasons were 7-9, 8-8 and now 8-7-1.“Every year’s a new year. That’s just how this league works. You’re going to have new guys. There’s going to be different coaches Garrett Bradbury black jersey ,” said wide receiver Adam Thielen. “You have to learn how to win with whatever you’ve got out there, so we’re going to go back to work and try to figure that out.”Cousins will be back, of course. His megadeal has already dictated that.His uneven performance in the four losses by the Vikings over the last seven weeks of the season, at New England and Seattle and twice to the Bears, has raised questions about his big-game ability. Cousins finished with career highs in touchdown passes (30) and completion percentage (70.1). The offensive line was largely in flux in front of him, and the Vikings finished with the third-fewest rushing yards in the NFL.Thielen and Stefon Diggs became the seventh set of teammates with 100-plus receptions each and the first Vikings duo since Randy Moss and Cris Carter in 2000 with 1,000-plus receiving yards apiece. But the offense was not good enough to complement a defense that was still top tier despite more lapses than last year, let alone take over a game in the clutch.Zimmer fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo with three games to go. Whether interim replacement Kevin Stefanski gets the job in 2019 or the Vikings go outside the organization, the new play caller will have to find a better way to keep Thielen, Diggs and running back Dalvin Cook from being neutralized so much.The Vikings were seventh in the league in rushing in 2017 under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur while also using a more effective mix of play-action, bootleg and screen passes with quarterback Case Keenum.“If we did have it figured out, then we wouldn’t be in here today talking about what could have been,” running back Latavius Murray said on Monday. “I think at times we played well and showed how good we can be, but then we mostly didn’t play good enough.”The schedule for 2019 sure doesn’t promise any respite. Five of their eight road games will be against playoff teams: the Bears, naturally, and Cowboys, Chiefs, Chargers and Seahawks. That quintet has a combined record of 56-24.With the 18th selection in the first round, they will have their highest draft pick since 2015, when they took cornerback Trae Waynes at 11th overall. That’s another opportunity to bolster the offensive line that was again a significant problem after some improvement in 2017. One bright spot was the development of rookie right tackle Brian O’Neill, the second-round choice out of Pittsburgh who replaced Rashod Hill in the starting lineup. But the status of guards Tom Compton and Mike Remmers is tenuous.Murray will be the most prominent unrestricted free agent on the offense when the next league year begins in March. But with contracts expiring for linebacker Anthony Barr and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson there are pressing issues for the front office on the other side of the ball as well.Then there’s the matter of the special teams, which were problematic. Kicker Dan Bailey will also become an unrestricted free agent, and he didn’t fare well enough after replacing rookie Daniel Carlson to ensure a return.Zimmer, now tied for the fifth-longest tenure in the NFC, will be back. The Vikings scheduled his season-ending news conference for Thursday.“He’s going to tell you how it is whether you like it or not,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “He’s going to try to find ways to win, so he’s the guy.”
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