1) Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings seem to be the team to beat in the division and that is because of head coach Mike Zimmer’s ability to have consistently good defenses and the emergence of the Viking offense.
The Viking offensive line needs to be better, but it’s not in shambles either. It played better than it’s individual pieces last season and Zimmer hopes they will again. Second-round pick Ezra Cleveland is one of many good draft picks Minnesota made this past April, but he may not crack the lineup in season one.
Minnesota has a one-two punch of their own in the backfield with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. Since the Viking rushing attack of Cook and Mattison was very good, it naturally set up the play-action for aerial success.
Former Michigan State Spartan Kirk Cousins did a good job of managing the Viking offense. Despite the fact that he’s being paid to be a franchise passer, he is more of a game manager. His efficiency outside of the play-action passing game wasn’t nearly the same and when push comes to shove he is only the third-best quarterback in the division. He should thank his lucky stars for Chicago.
But with the play-action opening up the aerial assault, he has been able to be efficient and help contribute to winning football in the Twin Citys.
Despite the trade of Stephon Diggs to Buffalo, the Vikings still have weapons in the passing game. Adam Thielen is a tactician. He runs precise routes, has great hands, and can be counted on to make the big play. Bisi Johnson came out of nowhere last season to prove he could also make plays. The addition of first-round pick Justin Jefferson gives the Vikings a potent trio of their own.
The Vikings also boast two of the top four tight ends in the division. Veteran Kyle Rudolph, who has terrorized the Lions for years, and Irv Smith Jr who is entering his second year.
All in all, the Vikings don’t necessarily have all the best offensive players in the NFC North, but the combination of players that complement each other and make Minnesota’s offensive system work allows them the be ranked the best offense in the division. At least for now.