Vikings season prediction: 8-8
August, 28, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
The Vikings' run to a 10-6 record and a wild-card spot in 2012 was one of the most surprising stories of last season. It also was, in many ways, a charmed run.
Aside from Percy Harvin, the Vikings lost remarkably few starters to injury. Five of their first eight games were at home, allowing a young team to get comfortable early. And Adrian Peterson's 2,097-yard MVP performance helped the Vikings overcome the league's second-worst passing attack.
Things don't line up so favorably in 2013. The Vikings start the season with tough road contests against division foes Detroit and Chicago -- plus a trip to London for a "home game" against the Steelers -- and begin an eight-week stretch in late October against teams that finished no worse than 8-8 last season. No running back has come close to 2,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, and even if Peterson can buck that trend, the Vikings will need more from Christian Ponder and a retooled receiving corps than they got last season. They are also counting on four cornerbacks with a combined 70 NFL games under their belts after parting with Antoine Winfield.
It's possible the Vikings will improve as young players like Harrison Smith and Cordarrelle Patterson develop, but it's hard to imagine the team being so fortunate two years in a row. In a tough division, the Vikings might be in line for a step back.
Predicted finish in NFC North: second
Final San Diego 22 Buffalo 10 Final Dallas 34 St. Louis 31 Final Washington 34 Philadelphia 37 Final Houston 17 New York 30 Final Minnesota 9 New Orleans 20 Final Tennessee 7 Cincinnati 33 Final Baltimore 23 Cleveland 21 Final Green Bay 7 Detroit 19 Final Indianapolis 44 Jacksonville 17 Final Oakland 9 New England 16 Final San Francisco 14 Arizona 23 Final/OT Denver 20 Seattle 26 Final Kansas City 34 Miami 15 Final Pittsburgh 37 Carolina 19