Longtime NFL Writer Dumps LARGE Tub of Cold Water on Optimistic Minnesota Vikings Fans

Minnesota Vikings offseason OTAs
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

We’re at the part of the Minnesota Vikings offseason where, like every NFL team, optimism is there to be found for those seeking it. It’s the National Football League, afterall, where more than half of the playoff field gets turned over every season. A league made for parity, something we see play out year over year.

So, while the sportsbooks put the MN Vikings on one of their worst seasons in decades (6.5 wins), optimists are focused on (1) Justin Jefferson’s fresh contract and clean bill of health; (2) reports out of OTAs that Sam Darnold is a changed man under Kevin O’Connell; (3) rumors that Aaron Jones looks better than ever; (4) that defensive coordinator Brian Flores has hand-picked his talent for a defense that will surprise the league… etc.

Longtime NFL writer says the Minnesota Vikings have no chance in 2024

But don’t tell any of that to longtime NFL reporter, Vic Tafur, who wrote a piece today at The Athletic that picked the Minnesota Vikings to hit the under on their 6.5 over/under win total this season, essentially laughing at anyone who is optimistic about their chances in 2024.

Sam Darnold and/or Aaron Jones comeback seasons? Haha. Elite defense lying in wait? Yeah, right. Any chance at a hot start in September? Have you seen the schedule…

I don’t have much faith in either Sam Darnold — still getting chances as believers think the switch is finally going to flip in Year 7 — or college hand-off specialist J.J. McCarthy as a rookie. The Vikings also don’t have a very good defense and have a tough schedule. If they don’t beat the Giants on the road in the opener, there is a good chance they’re 0-6. Unless you see a win over the 49ers, Texans, Packers, Jets or Lions.

It’s also hard to see the Packers regretting dumping Aaron Jones and having the Vikings pick him up. That’s just not how things work out for aging running backs.

Vic Tafur picks the MN Vikings to hit the under on their projected 2024-25 win total (The Athletic)

It’s difficult to argue Tafur’s logic. From the outside looking in, it’s difficult to see a path to success for a team that is lead by Sam Darnold and will rely on Aaron Jones to be a 1,000+ all-purpose yard fixture in their offense. And that’s before we even get into the unknowns on the defensive side of the football.

If this team doesn’t get off to a good start and fails to gain confidence early, the Minnesota Vikings could be in for a difficult season. That’s far from an impossible, or even improbable, scenario.

But don’t lose hope in your MN Vikings just yet

Sam Darnold, Minnesota Vikings
Photo courtesy of the Minnesota VikingsCredit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

On the other hand, we saw what Kevin O’Connell was able to do with Nick Mullens, Josh Dobbs and Jaren Hall last season. Not even Vic Tafur would argue that Sam Darnold is better than all three of those QBs.

Not only that, but Justin Jefferson missed seven games with an injury in 2023, as well. And without a doubt, Aaron Jones will be an upgrade over Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler, in both the block, pass and run game. That cannot be argued, even if he is a year older.

Related: Reporters Blown Away by How Good Vikings’ Rookie Kicker Is

If Brian Flores is the defensive genius that we believe he is and Sam Darnold is half the QB he is drafted to be, I strongly reject the idea that Minnesota starts the 2024 season 0-6 or 1-5. Not only do I expect the Vikings to be better than Tafur and bookmakers project, but there’s no guarantee that Niners, Texans, Packers, Jets or Lions will be as good as they are projected right now.

So, to those MN Vikings fans that want to keep the faith, I implore you to shake off the pessimists out there. While it’s plausible this is a reset year for the purple, it’s not that difficult to see a road that leads to a suprising amount of success either.

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