The 2018 season has not gone exactly as the Minnesota Vikings had planned. Coming off a 13-3 season with a backup QB and a Minneapolis Miracle in the playoffs, expectations were high. Add in an $84 million quarterback to the mix and a Super Bowl seemed to be more of a demand than a hope.
Coming into Sunday’s game with a record of 3-2-1, the Vikings have rebounded from a shaky start. We can’t ignore the difficulty of their schedule. After opening against a weak but pesky 49’ers team, having away games against the Packers, Rams, and Eagles is no walk in the park. Even the Bills, who we thought were the laughing stock of the NFL, have proven to be better than we thought (Not 27-6 better, but I’m trying to be positive here).
The New York Jets provide another manageable challenge this Sunday, much like the rest of the Vikings schedule which features plenty of games that Minnesota should be favored in.
Traveling to the East Coast is never easy, but this Jets squad isn’t particularly strong at any phase of the game. They rank in the bottom half of the league in pass offense, pass defense, and run defense. As long as we can control their 7th best in the league running game, the Vikings should be able to scrape out a win.
The rest of the schedule is as follows: Saints, Lions, @ Bears, Packers, @ Patriots, @ Seahawks, Dolphins, @ Lions, Bears.
If the Vikings are able to take care of business in the division, they should be looking strong going into the week 17 matchup with the Bears that could potentially decide the division. Doing a quick glance at the rest of the season, I would guess we would win against the Jets, Lions, Packers, Dolphins and Lions again. I would mark at the Patriots as a loss and I would classify at the Bears, at the Seahawks, and home against the Saints as toss ups.
That would put the Vikings at a potential 9-5-1 going into week 17.
The Bears are 3-2 and their remaining schedule is: Patriots, Jets, @ Bills, Lions, Vikings, @ Lions, @ Giants, Rams, Packers, @ 49’ers, @ Vikings.
A quick analyzation would say wins against the Jets, Bills, Lions, Giants and 49’ers. I would mark down losses against the Patriots and Rams. I would say they will split between their games in Detroit and against the Packers and Vikings. This would put the Bears at a potential 10-5 record going into the week 17 matchup with the Vikings with the NFC North Division on the line. I like the Vikings’ chances at home here.
Now, this is all of course very hypothetical and the wins and losses could shake out very different. The Bears are relying on a shaky 2nd year quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky and the Vikings still seem to be improving week by week. I could see a world where the Bears offense can’t do enough to support their great defense and they finish 8-8 or 7-9.
I also can see a world where the Vikings really start to hit their stride and go on a run like last year to finish 11-4-1. This whole column was just a means to say this: The Vikings did not start out the season very well. However, there is a lot of football to be played and they have looked stronger week by week. The Bears are certainly not a powerhouse and the division is entirely up for grabs. The Packers aren’t even worth mentioning.
After starting 1-2-1, it is safe to say that the Vikings are back on their feet again.