8 bold predictions for the Minnesota Vikings 2021 season

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) Kirk Cousins /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Mike Zimmer /

Minnesota will miss the playoffs

In a perfect world, the Vikings will return to becoming a top 10 defense, the offense will continue to produce explosive plays, and the team will return to the playoffs. In reality, Minnesota has a lot of flaws they’ll need to correct if they want to be a playoff team.

It’s a safe bet to think that Mike Zimmer will help the defense return to form, but their biggest concern may be the offense. If Kirk Cousins gets off to a slow start or misses time, backups Kellen Mond or Sean Mannion won’t be enough to keep this team afloat.

Dalvin Cook’s usage is a major concern in the backfield and the lack of a true third receiving option could have this team feeling a lot like they did in 2018. That team rebounded for a 5-3-1 record heading into the bye week, but they slumped down the stretch and finished 8-7-1 to miss the playoffs.

If the Vikings want to avoid that fate, they’ll have to get off to a fast start. That might be hard to do with Seattle and Cleveland coming to U.S. Bank Stadium early in the year. The schedule gets tougher after the bye with a Sunday night meeting with the Dallas Cowboys and trips to Baltimore, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Green Bay.

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The end could be what the Vikings have experienced throughout the current regime. They’re good enough to compete, but not good enough to be a Super Bowl contender. In the fourth year of the Cousins experiment, it should be what drives a change in Minnesota.