The Minnesota Vikings have added a lot of new faces to a defense that struggled badly last season.
You can make a strong argument that the offense will be a bigger question mark than the defense. Yes, the offense must be good again, but can they hold back? It is possible.
They would certainly benefit from having a much improved defense, but they would start a junior left tackle, Cristian Darrisso, and have a junior offensive coordinator at Clint Kubik.
The offensive line should be better, but the question is how much? Ezra Cleveland and rookie Wyatt Davis shouldn’t be worse than Dakota Dozier and Drew Sublime, but could Darrisaw be as good a rookie as last season’s Riley Reiff? Darrisaw could end up being a strong left-handed interventionist for years to come, but asking him to play as Reiff did last season is a tough job for a novice.
While Clint’s father, Gary, wasn’t a great caller last season, he wasn’t bad either and would have made a continuation of this offense. Since Norf Turner resigned during the 2016 season, the Vikings have started each season with a new coordinator. The lack of continuity can make it difficult for the offense, especially early in the season.
Since Clint has been with the team the past two seasons as a quarterback coach, he’s going to bring some continuity, but to what extent? Would it also be a good coordinator or would it be better? Will it be worse? We don’t know yet. One thing that might help though. He’s young, so his theatrical connection might be up-to-date with most leagues and not old school.
The Vikings offensive came fourth overall in the league last season, and had 26.9 points per game in 11th place. They should be in the top 10 again except for major injuries, especially Kirk Cousins. If this team wants to compete for the Super Bowl, taking a step back offensively could really hold them back no matter how well the defense does. Even if they stayed the same, it might not be enough for them to compete for the final prize.
The schedule will also be very challenging this season. At home, they will face the Seattle Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. On the way they will encounter the Baltimore Ravens. As usual, they will, of course, face the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. It is very likely that they will split up on both teams, assuming Aaron Rodgers returns.
This team could compete for the Super Bowl if they can avoid major injuries and have another strong draw class. However, there are still some doubts to be overcome
Kubiak is probably a great offensive coordinator and gets the look of a coach. Perhaps Darrisaw and Davis will have exceptional rookie seasons. It would be interesting to know.