Believe it or not, the Vikings are looking good to this point. Even before the season started and all of the injuries, I didn’t consider this to be a top-tier team. I definitely didn’t consider them when their emerging QB and veteren RB got hurt. I would by lying if I said I’m not surprised by this 5-0 start, but the pieces are coming together nicely for this squad. Yes, even the Sam Bradford piece.
I thought this team was doomed after the Vikings gave away a first round draft pick for a player like Sam Bradford. Apparently I am just very bad at guessing the success of quarterbacks this year. First Trevor Siemian and now Bradford? Sure, Bradford hasn’t exactly proven himself as a top-5 quarterback this year, but he is doing enough to get the job done. He’s no Tom Brady.
Through week 5, Minnesota’s offense has not put up great numbers. Not even ‘good’ numbers if we’re being honest. Middle of the pack in PPG, 30th in YPG, 23rd in pass YPG, and dead last in rush YPG. Not the numbers you would expect from the only undefeated team in the league. However, going back to Sammy B, he has made the best of the yards he could muster. He’s closing in on 1,000 yards for the season with a 70% completion rate. All while commiting no turnovers. The receiving core has been the brightest spot on this offense so far. Stephon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph are atop the leaderboard for this team in receiving and have stepped up when needed. And don’t even get me started on the abysmal run game.
Minnesota’s defense, aka the backbone of this 2016 team, has blown my mind already. Top-10 in every category with a notable #1 in PPG. Not once do I think I have heard someone say that the Vikings offense is the reason to the hot start. Everyone with any amount of common sense should be able to say the defense has them here. This came to a surprise to me because I still can’t name a single player on the defense. These guys have definitely shown their muscle early and have given their team a +11 turnover differential and have only allowed 12 points per game. 12. I don’t know if this is just a fluke because of weak opposing offenses or if this defense is just flat out dominant. Either way, that is an impressive number.
I don’t think that I am quite ready to call them the 2016 NFC North division champions just yet. I have a feeling that this squad will replicate when last year’s Atlanta Falcons team did when they started 5-0, finished 8-8, and missed the playoffs. If Bradford can continue to safely move the ball and the defense keeps harassing offenses, then they have a real shot. Until they win 11 or 12 games, I say this division will be up for grabs between them and a Packers team that is finally starting to look like the Packers.