Although the Minnesota Vikings lost seven starters from its 2019 lineup that went 10-6 and won in the NFC Wild Card round, returning key contributors like Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen, Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith and potentially Dalvin Cook could keep the Vikings from slipping into obscurity.
But one NFL Network broadcaster Adam Rank, an unapologetic Chicago Bears fan, isn’t sold on the Vikings this season. Rank predicted the Vikings would go 7-9 in the regular season and finish third in the NFC North, ultimately missing the playoffs.
Rank’s prediction came down to the Vikings having to deal with too many changes this offseason:
“Too many changes with the Vikings. They did a great job in the draft. I think this is a team that’s going to take a little bit of a step back this season. Maybe a little bit of regression. I think 2021 is when this team is going to start to come together. (Minnesota had) some great draft picks. But given everything that’s going on, I think 7-9, third place in the NFC North.”
Predicting the rest of the division, Rank had the Detroit Lions finishing fourth behind the Vikings with a 3-13 record, the Green Bay Packers finishing second at 8-8, and the Bears taking the NFC North title with a 10-6 record as the only NFC North entrant in the 2020 playoffs.
Rank missed his mark in 2019, predicting a 5-11 season for the Vikings, but if Rank’s prediction this season proves true, it would be the Vikings first losing record since 2014.
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A Bears Sweep and Three-Game Losing Skid
Following Rank’s prediction, he saw the Vikings as a .500 team through the middle of the season, going 4-4 before a Week 10 meeting with the Bears.
Rank has the Bears sweeping the Vikings which isn’t entirely unfounded. Bears coach Matt Nagy has just to lose to the coach Mike Zimmer and the Vikings, winning four straight since he took over the Bears in 2018.
The Vikings visit the Bears in their fourth divisional game in Week 10, and again in Week 14 in the midst of what could prove as the toughest stretch of the season for the Vikings.
Facing Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 13, then the Bears, the New Orleans Saints at the Super Dome on Christmas Day and finishing with season with the Detroit Lions, Weeks 14-16 could be crucial in determining the Vikings postseason chances.
Rank picked the Vikings to lose all three games before picking up what would be a meaningless win over the Lions in Week 17. His prediction is very dependant on the development of the younger players on the Vikings roster, and without in-person training camps, Rank suspects they could fall behind this season.
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