The Minnesota Vikings have parted ways with coach Mike Zimmer and brought in Kevin O’Connell, who is fresh off being the Offensive Coordinator for the Super Bowl winning Los Angeles Rams. This is his first time as a head coach, but the hope is that he can amp up the offense and increase Minnesota’s chances for success.
Though quarterback Kirk Cousins is much maligned, I think he is more than capable and you can see how the Vikings could easily have a nicely balanced top 10ish offense that could help them better compete with the top teams in the NFC.
Oddly, it was the defense that was slipping under Zimmer’s watch and that might have done him in. They have made some investments on that side of the ball, but nothing that looks like a game changer right now. One move that does stand out is the addition of DE Za’Darius Smith. He was hurt most of last year but the former Packer can be a dangerous pass rusher when healthy…and it will be a fun storyline if he has success with Minnesota.
Minnesota is looking to bridge the gap with Green Bay. I think they have a chance to do so this season. You will see why shortly.
Minnesota Vikings Win Total
Over 9.5 (+105)
Under 9.5 (-125)
Best Bet: Over 9.5
Minnesota has underperformed the last few seasons, hence the new leadership on the sidelines. This season, I think they can really turn things around, provided that O’Connell knows what he is doing.
The Vikings have a great schedule this season and should definitely get off to a strong start. They start with a home date against rival Green Bay and have four of their first five games at home (one of those is technically in the UK against a questionable New Orleans team). All these games are winnable and I give them a shot in their lone road game during that stretch (at Philadelphia).
Just after that stretch, they have to travel to Miami but there is a bad vibe around that team right now and I am not high on them at all. A 5-1 record heading into their early bye week looks very possible (and it gets us halfway to that over).
After the bye, the schedule stiffens with trips to Green Bay and Buffalo that could be ugly results, but there are still many games that should be easy wins, such as home games against both New York teams and trips to rivals Detroit and Chicago, both of who are down.
Minnesota might even have the best schedule in the league. Other than that trip to the Bills, I would give them a shot in pretty much every game and I would have them favored in 13 games right now (not sure if Vegas feels the same way or not). That gives us a lot of opportunities to get the wins we need to win the over and right now it is at a great value.
Minnesota is also a great bet to take the NFC North too. That’s an even better payoff than the over.