Like most Vikings fans, I have a chip on my shoulder. Maybe it’s there because I love a team that can’t win a Super Bowl. Maybe it’s because I love a team that keeps experiencing crushing loss after crushing loss. Whatever the reason, it’s there, and it never seems more evident than when dealing with the national media.
Whether it’s Joe Buck’s bias or Mike Florio‘s negativity, in the eyes of Purple fans, Minnesota just isn’t respected the way it should be.
Now is prime season for that disrespect. We are in the portion of the NFL off-season where ranking lists are coming out left and right. Here’s the top 10 wide receivers in the NFL. Here’s the top 5 coaching staffs in the NFC. Here’s the best hundred players under the age of 25. And on and on and on. As a Viking fan, you rarely feel satisfied with one of these lists. How the hell is Adam Thielen not getting the love he deserves? Why are people not ready to elevate Justin Jefferson to where I think he should be? Have you ever even seen Eric Kendricks play football?
Well, buckle up and get ready to change course dramatically. This morning I headed over to ESPN, the leader in sports, to look around and you’re never gonna believe what I found. Some positivity.
Bill Barnwell has ranked all 32 team’s offensive weapons from last to first. He has the Vikings at the incredible position of No. 5. Not incredible because I don’t think they deserve to be there, but incredible that they are getting the credit that I believe they deserve.
Here’s what Barnwell wrote:
It’s hard to think of a trade that looks more like a win-win for both sides after one season than the swap that sent Stefon Diggs to the Bills and allowed the Vikings to draft Justin Jefferson. All Jefferson did was produce one of the most impressive seasons by a rookie receiver in league history, as he led all receivers in yards (1,330) and yards per target (11.0) after entering the starting lineup in Week 3. Adam Thielen’s volume suffered, with the veteran losing a little over two targets per game from his 2018 peak, but he still scored a ho-hum 14 touchdowns.
At this point, everybody’s on the same page with Dalvin Cook: When the Vikings’ star running back is healthy, he’s right alongside Derrick Henry as the most fearsome back in all of football. But counting on him to be healthy can be dangerous; he missed two games in 2019 and had to leave three more with a shoulder injury. Last season, he sat out in Week 17 and missed a game and a half with a groin issue. Cook does more in 13 or 14 games than most backs do in a full season, but if we ever get to see the 2017 second-rounder piece together a full 17-game campaign, he’d be a threat to hit 2,000 yards.
Not only were they ranked No. 5, but they were also put one above the Kansas City Chiefs, who come in at No. 6. As much of a diehard as I am, even I recognize that that is pretty kind.
It’s nice to see someone in the national media view this offense the way many people locally view it. It also makes you hope that the Vikings spend a little more on their offensive line before the season starts. With all these weapons and an opportunity to be really, really good on both sides of the ball, it would be nice to have some depth on the o-line to make sure the fifth-best set of weapons in the league has a chance to do what they’re capable of.