TDT NFL Power Rankings No. 19 Minnesota Vikings

The expectations are unclear for the Vikings in 2017. Which direction will they trend?

The Minnesota Vikings ended an era in the offseason, as they will head into the 2017-18 without running back Adrian Peterson for the first time. But, they now believe that they are in better shape without him. The front office made a conscious effort to revamp their offense and continue to improve their young defense. The team is still without Teddy Bridgewater, but Sam Bradford proved last season that he is far from a shabby replacement.

What I Like: Yeah, the Vikings lost Peterson, but their backfield should be stronger this season than it has been in awhile. They went out and signed Latavius Murray, who showed the league that he’s a very capable running back. Then, they drafted Florida State’s Dalvin Cook, who could potentially become their home run threat. The Vikings should have one of the NFL’s most dangerous backfields this season.

What I Don’t Like: Two things — they need a third receiver to emerge and fill the glaring hole at weak-side linebacker. Stefon Diggs is a gifted athlete who has shown flashes of why he can be a true No. 1 receiver in this league. Adam Thielen overachieved a season ago. Minnesota needs Laquon Treadwell to be a factor this season. That linebacker position is definitely a weak spot and they’ll need to address that sooner rather than later.

Carlos Gonzalez/Star Tribune

Offensive MVP: WR Stefon Diggs. Diggs isn’t the biggest wideout, but he has the makings of a No. 1 option. Last season, he caught 84 passes for 903 yards. He only reached the end zone three times, but that’s because he’s been limited in the Vikings offense, which has been somewhat conservative. If they open it up, Diggs could really become a star.

Defensive MVP: DE Danielle Hunter. Speaking of stars, the Vikings may have found their own on the defensive side of things. Hunter broke onto the scene in 2016, recording 12.5 sacks on the season. The LSU product is a freakish athlete, especially considering his size. If the Vikings have their way, those sack numbers will increase in the upcoming season.

Season Outlook: Behind an improved offensive line and rushing attack, the Vikings offense should be much better than it was last year. The defense has a few holes, but is expected be a strong unit once again. One thing working against Minnesota, however, is the fact that they have a tough schedule to go up against. They have the talent to contend for a playoff spot this season, but everything needs to fall into place.

9-7, 3rd in NFC North


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