The Minnesota Vikings have reloaded since parting ways with seven starters from its playoff team that upset the New Orleans Saints on the road in the NFC Wild Card round in 2020.
Minnesota spent over $42.7 million on the defense in free agency this offseason to improve the unit that allowed the fourth-most yards per game (393.3) a season ago.
Whether Mike Zimmer’s defense has returned to its former glory remains to be seen. However, the Vikings are becoming a force to be reckoned with.
NFL.com columnist Adam Schein recently selected Minnesota as one of the top teams to win their first Super Bowl in 2021.
The latest Vikings news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Vikings newsletter here!
‘Don’t Let the Haters Forget’
Schein, a self-proclaimed lover of history, offered his “Schein Nine” rankings of the 12 teams that have not won a Super Bowl in the order of their chances of making their own history and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time.
Before revealing where Minnesota landed, here’s Schein’s prognosis of the Vikings:
This might be the most fascinating team in the NFL this year. If Aaron Rodgers never plays another snap for the Packers — and I don’t see any sign that he will — Minnesota is my pick to win the North. Danielle Hunter is back on defense, and that puts the Vikings back in the mix. The pass rush was nonexistent without him.
I loved the Patrick Peterson signing, a perfect match with defensive guru Mike Zimmer. Justin Jefferson enjoyed a magical rookie season and it was no fluke: The guy is a dominator outside. If Adam Thielen can stay healthy, Minnesota could have the best 1-2 WR punch this side of Julio Jones-A.J. Brown. Of course, Dalvin Cook is a gamebreaking star in the backfield. Which leads us to the lightning rod…
Look, say what you will about Kirk Cousins, but he’s a very good player. Is he elite? No. He ranks somewhere in the 8-16 range of quarterbacks. Is he good enough to win in the playoffs? Yes. Remember when Cousins and Co. shocked the Saints in New Orleans two postseasons ago? Don’t let the haters forget it.
After that glowing preview, Schein ranked the Vikings sixth among the 12 teams that have not won a Super Bowl.
Die-hard Vikings fan? Follow the Heavy on Vikings Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Skol Nation!
Vikings Should Be Better Than No. 6
While Schein did his homework on his selections, the order offers a bit of a contradiction.
- 1. Buffalo Bills
- 2. Cleveland Browns
- 3. Tennessee Titans
- 4. Arizona Cardinals
- 5. Los Angeles Chargers
- 6. Minnesota Vikings
- 7. Cincinnati Bengals
- 8. Atlanta Falcons
- 9. Carolina Panthers
*Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans not listed
The top-ranked Bills and No. 2 Browns on Schein’s list make sense — both AFC teams won a playoff game last season and have maintained their rosters. The third-ranked Titans also make a strong case after making the AFC Championship in 2020.
However, four of Schein’s top five teams above Minnesota are in the AFC. There’s a likely bottleneck of how far each AFC team could go as they have much more difficult paths to the Super Bowl than the Vikings.
Minnesota is increasingly becoming a favorite to take the NFC North this season. The veteran additions made this offseason and the Aaron Rodgers situation in Green Bay continuing to spiral spells a strong chance for Minnesota to return to the playoffs — fulfilling the every-other-year playoff appearance trend under Zimmer.