Vikings

Why Is the National Media So Down On the Vikings?

Photo Credit: Brad Rempel (USA TODAY Sports)

Ask your fellow Skoldier what their expectations are for this season and you’re more than likely to get a response that sounds something like this:

“We get Danielle Hunter, Anthony Barr, and Michael Pierce back this year! And all those free agents that Rick Spielman signed! And that offense with Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen! Why can’t the Minnesota Vikings win the NFC North this year?!”

Don’t get me wrong, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic. I mean, this Vikings defense HAS to be better than last year’s version that ranked 29th in points allowed, right?

Offensively, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team that has better skill position players than the Vikings in 2021. With Kyle Rudolph no longer part of the team, Irv Smith Jr should make a sizeable impact as he carves out a role alongside players like Cook, Jefferson, and Thielen.

So why is the vast majority of the national media so down on Minnesota this year?

Early Monday morning, Pro Football Focus came out with their initial power rankings for the upcoming season. And checking in at No. 23 was none other than the Minnesota Vikings.

Are Vikings fans drinking too much purple Kool-Aid this summer?

Are the national pundits playing one of their favorite hits by continuing to pick on a Kirk Cousins-led ball club marred in mediocrity?

Did Aaron Rodgers‘ return to the Green Bay Packers unofficially doom Minnesota’s hope for legitimacy this season before it even gets started?

Has the national media since forgotten that we’re in an odd-numbered year, which means the Vikings are all but guaranteed to win at least one playoff game this season?

The skepticism for the Purple doesn’t stop at PFF.

Something isn’t adding up here. Let’s not forget, with Justin Jefferson in the starting lineup from Week 3 on last season, Cousins’ 109.7 passer rating was second-best among all NFL quarterbacks — trailing only Rodgers. And the return of Hunter and his 29 combined sacks since 2018 will certainly bring the Vikings defense back to respectability, right?

With the critical pieces returning for Minnesota this season, is the national media way off base with their analysis?

Or are Vikings fans choosing to ignore the constant elephant in the room for this ball club — the offensive line.

Circling back on PFF: Shortly after they released their power rankings on Monday morning, PFF’s Steve Palazzolo released his offensive line power rankings for the upcoming season. And unfortunately for the Skols, the oft-ridiculed unit checked in at No. 27.

The Vikings are a fairly polarizing team right now — especially when you consider the local evaluations in comparison to the national talking heads’ expectations.

Are Vikings fans gearing up for the next major letdown attributed to yet another year of unrealistic expectations?

Or will the national media eat some serious crow when Zimmer’s defense returns to prominence with the comeback of his All-Pro defensive end while the offense remains a league-leader?

Only time will tell, but someone is about to be dead wrong about the 2021 Vikings.

Who’s it going to be?

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