Minnesota Vikings 2018 Season Preview: Can Kirk Cousins push the purple over the top?

After Case Keenum led the Vikings on a magical run to the NFC championship game, the Vikings decided he wasn't good enough and inked Kirk Cousins to the league's first fully guaranteed contract. This roster is absolutely loaded and Mike Zimmer has established himself as one of the league's better coaches, this just might be their year. 

WHO'S NEW

QB Kirk Cousins (Free Agency)

Cousins long standoff with Washington finally ends and he now gets the long term deal he was seeking with a team that can help him win.


DT Sheldon Richardson (Free Agency)

Richardson forms one of the league's best defensive lines alongside Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Linval Joseph.

CB Mike Hughes (Drafted 30th overall) 

Hughes was a bit of a surprise choice, not because of a lack of talent but because he will be in a loaded secondary with Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes starting at corner. 


HIT THE TRAILS

QBs Sam Bradford (Signed with Arizona), Teddy Bridgewater (Signed with New York Jets), and Case Keenum (Signed with Denver)

Everyone thought the Vikings had three solid quarterbacks all hitting free agency. Their decision was to let them all go and bring in an upgrade. 

RB Jerick McKinnon (Signed with San Francisco)

McKinnon did a nice job for Minnesota, but with Dalvin Cook returning and Latavius Murray a capable backup, there was no need to bring him back, especially on starter's money. 


 2018 Schedule

Week 1 vs SF

Week 2 @ GB

Week 3 vs BUF

Week 4 @ LAR

Week 5 @ PHI

Week 6 vs ARI

Week 7 @ NYJ

Week 8 vs NO

Week 9 vs DET

Week 10 BYE

Week 11 @ CHI

Week 12 vs GB

Week 13 @ NE

Week 14 @ SEA

Week 15 vs MIA

Week 16 @ DET

Week 17 vs CHI

WHAT TO EXPECT

Cousins is going to need to adjust to his new team rather quickly with road trips to Green Bay, Philly, and Los Angeles in the opening five weeks. Two out of three wins in that stretch likely means a first round bye barring a collapse, but losing all three would give Green Bay a leg up in the division race. This team could win the Super Bowl as a top seed, or face a daunting NFC playoff bracket as a wild card that may need to travel to Philly and/or Los Angeles again.

Prediction: 11-5  

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