When we think about the NFC North, we think about the Green Bay Packers. We think about somebody having to dethrone them. But, I think one team is prepped, primed and ready to compete against them this season. And that’s the Minnesota Vikings.
Minnesota’s Divisional Outlook
The Green Bay Packers have won the NFC North three years in a row. And when you talk about the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions, I think they still have a little ways to go. But the Minnesota Vikings are a team the Packers have shown they struggle with.
This team in the purple does not fear Aaron Rodgers!
If we look at last season, the Vikings struggled a little defensively, and there was a little rift between the Quarterback and coach. So what do they go out and do?
They say, “let’s get an offensive coach, and let’s solidify the defense!” So the team hired Kevin O’Connell, previously offensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, and brought in Za’Darius Smith. Smith will serve as a bookend to what they already have in edge rusher Danielle Hunter.
If they can apply pressure, which the Vikings have proven they can do in years past, you can give that young secondary less time to have to cover. So that’s where I feel like they take a step and actually dethrone the Packers this year.
A Surprise at the Bottom of the Division?
I don’t think the Detroit Lions will finish at the bottom of the division this year. I think it will be the Chicago Bears. And I know a lot of people will be saying, “what is going on?” But the Detroit Lions will be biting at your ankles and knees and your kneecaps and the things dan Campbell talks about! They play with grit every single week.
It takes so much for a team to endure, to find out “how do we win.” Last year was that trying year for the lions— a year where they just didn’t know how to win. But you can see the shift. The culture is changing, and they’ll take another step forward this year.
I don’t think they’ll win the division, but I don’t believe they will end up last in this division either.
As for the Bears, I think there’s a little bit of a rift in Chicago, with rumors of Roquan Smith, “wanting out,” if you will. Combine that with the departure of one of the best edge rushers in the game in Khalil Mack. So there are a lot of moving pieces in Chicagoland where I don’t know if you have a young QB who can overcome those ills.