By: Jeremy Trottier
The Minnesota Vikings have been pushed out of the top of the division for three seasons in a row now, primarily due to Green Bay becoming a powerhouse. However, that could all change this season, as the Vikings could be primed to take over the division this season. From offseason moves to the development of currently rostered players, this could definitely be the case.
In this article, I will be going over three reasons as to why the Vikings could put a stranglehold on the NFC North, and knock the Packers off the top.
Aaron Rodgers Developments
As most of us know by now who follow NFL news, the Rodgers-Packers situation has turned increasingly sour for the majority of the offseason. From Rodgers supposedly mocking the Packers GM, to the media speculation surrounding it almost every single day, this situation is devolving seriously quickly. If Rodgers is going to leave the NFC North and go to the AFC, that automatically puts the Packers in a hole as they will not have their MVP and Super Bowl winning QB.
The odds of this happening according to betting lines is pretty high as of now actually, as the Packers are not favorites in many games they should be favorites in, which shows they expect some massive decline, likely for this reason. Granted, the Packers are not completely in a fish out of water scenario without Rodgers, as Jordan Love could be ready to take the reigns, but if he fails then they are in huge trouble come regular season games.
Exceptionally Strong Draft Class
In my opinion, the Vikings did an absolutely phenomenal job drafting this year both for immediate impact and for the future. With their 1st round pick as well as four 3rd round picks, they made a huge impact in the first half of their draft.
Starting off with Christian Darrisaw, who many saw going within the top 15 more than likely of the NFL draft. Being able to pick him up at pick 23 in the first round is absolutely fantastic value, and his presence at the OT spot cannot be overlooked. Then they picked up Kellen Mond, which honestly makes a lot of sense for the long term. Bringing in a relatively raw QB prospect to learn behind Kirk Cousins for a few seasons before likely taking over is a great future investment, or if Kirk were to get injured this year specifically having that depth is great news.
Guard Wyatt Davis is another player who could have gone in the first round, however he fell all the way to pick 86 for the Vikings, which is a steal no doubt. Any player with the prestige of Ohio State, especially those in the trenches, are great pickups most of the time. Finally the Vikings brought in two defensive studs who can most definitely help in one way or another. Chazz Surratt to fill in one of the linebacker spots when needed, and Patrick Jones II who can either start immediately opposite Danielle Hunter, which would be monstrous, or in place of him if he leaves.
Development of Current Players
Finally, we have their development and the amount of young playmakers they have. The primary two being Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook, Jefferson being a sophomore this coming season and Dalvin Cook only being 25. Both of these players have had absolutely massive impacts on the team, Jefferson being the runner up for OROY and Dalvin Cook being one of the top backs in the league.
With another year to develop Jefferson and giving him true rookie training camps, he should turn out to be even more effective in the league, potentially breaking out to be one of the top receivers in the game. As well as Dalvin Cook, who on his current trajectory is already a top player in the league before the true RB prime ages of about 27-29 normally.