It shouldn’t be a surprise to many if the Minnesota Vikings are able to finish the 2019 NFL season with the league’s top scoring offense.
Back in 1998, the Minnesota Vikings were basically unstoppable on the offensive side of the ball. The Vikings had no trouble putting points up on the board and they ended up finishing the season as the NFL’s top scoring offense.
1998 is actually the last time a Minnesota team averaged more points per game than any other team in the league. During the 20 seasons since, the Vikings have only finished with a top-five scoring offense three times.
Under head coach Mike Zimmer, Minnesota has never ended a year ranking higher than 10th in points per game.
But this season could be a different story for the Vikings’ offense. If the majority of their top offensive players are able to stay healthy for most of the year, they have the potential to go down as one of the most explosive units in team history.
Despite the disaster of a play-caller that John DeFilippo turned out to be, Minnesota still showed flashes of their potential during a few games last season.
The Vikings had four matchups last year where they put up at least 29 points on the board and they also had six instances in which the offense ended a contest with at least 400 total yards.
More performances like these from Minnesota seem to have a higher likelihood in 2019 with the team now having a more competent offensive coaching staff that actually has a track record of success in the league.
Yes, Kevin Stefanski is entering his first-ever season as an offensive coordinator for an NFL team. But Stefanski has the luxury of being able to work with Gary Kubiak this year, who was brought in to be the Vikings’ offensive advisor this past offseason.
Kubiak knows a thing or two about what it takes to have success in this league on the offensive side of the ball and he’s been in charge of some of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen.
In fact, with him as the team’s offensive coordinator, the Denver Broncos finished the 1997 season with the league’s highest points per game average.
That 1997 Broncos team featured a talented quarterback in John Elway, an excellent running back in Terrell Davis, one of the best receiving duos in the NFL in Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey, and a versatile tight end in Shannon Sharpe.
The biggest difference between these two units is that Denver’s 1997 squad also had a solid offensive line. Minnesota is definitely going to need some better play from their blockers up front if they’re going to have a chance at scoring the most points in the NFL this season.
How many points the Vikings are able to put up in 2019 will also depend on the talent of the defenses they have to face each week.
In 1998, only two of Minnesota’s 16 games were against a team that was among the NFL’s 10 best defenses in terms of points allowed. Eight of the Vikings’ matchups that year were against defenses that were among the league’s worst 10 teams when it came to giving up points.
For this season, Minnesota has four games against opponents who ended 2018 with a top 10 scoring defense and six matchups against teams who finished last year with a bottom 10 scoring defense. So the Vikings’ schedule for this season appears to be harder than what they had to go up against in 1998.
That being said, last year’s results are no guarantee that the same teams will remain among the NFL’s top defenses this season. So Minnesota could still potentially end up facing some of the weaker defensive teams in the league this year.
We already know the Vikings are going to likely have one of the NFL’s best defenses again this season. But will Minnesota’s offense be able to step up their play to an elite level and emerge as one of the league’s top units in 2019?