2021 NFC North preview: How do the Detroit Lions stack up?

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press)
Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell (Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press) /
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Minnesota Vikings, Kirk Cousins
Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Minnesota Vikings

The Twin Cities last two seasons have been a “Tale of Two Defenses” in 2019-2020. The Minnesota Vikings were the 14th-ranked defense in 2019 and the 27th-ranked unit in 2020.

Head coach Mike Zimmer’s teams have traditionally been very well coached and been tough on the field. Injuries, opt-outs, breaking-in rookies, and some bad luck doomed a promising season but they have a chance to redeem themselves in a big way in 2021.

In 2020, the 7-9 Vikings lost some players and had to rebuild a secondary with Harrison Smith as the glue that holds their back end together. In 2021, they’re looking to reload as the team has signed cornerback Patrick Peterson, free safety Xavier Woods, and had a year to develop young draftees.

The team boasts three players in Pro Football Focus’s Top-50 players in the NFL, lead by running back Dalvin Cook (26th), Harrison Smith (32nd), and Eric Kendricks (33rd).

Their roster is superior to the Detroit Lions, unless things are not as they appear. The Vikings have been the toughest team to beat historically for the Lions and we don’t see 2021 being much different.