MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the upcoming Minnesota Vikings season, which starts Sept. 8 at Detroit, followed by a Sept. 15 match-up at Chicago.
While it’s rare to start off an NFL regular season with two division games on the road, it’s a great chance to get things going in the right direction early. Christian Ponder is back from a shoulder injury that forced him to miss a playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers after he helped get them there.
Adrian Peterson is coming off a historic season, nearly setting the single-season rushing record less than a year after a major knee injury. Percy Harvin was traded, but the Vikings acquired Greg Jennings in free agency and drafted rookie Cordarrelle Patterson.
On defense, Antoine Winfield is gone but the Vikings drafted Xavier Rhodes for the secondary, acquired Desmond Bishop to play linebacker in free agency and drafted rookie Sharrif Floyd for the defensive line.
But at least one CBS expert isn’t so confident about the Vikings’ chances to make the playoffs this season. Senior NFL Columnist Pete Prisco has predicted Minnesota to finish 7-9 overall, good for third in the NFC North Division and missing the playoffs. Prisco has the Packers winning the division with a 14-2 record and losing to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship.
Prisco also has the Cincinnati Bengals beating the Falcons in the Super Bowl, 31-30.
For the Vikings, he has them losing both at the Lions and the Bears to start the regular season 0-2. Minnesota bounces back to 2-2 with a home win over the Browns and a narrow win over the Steelers in London.
Prisco then thinks the Vikings will lose three of their next four, with the only win coming at home against the Carolina Panthers. The losses are at the New York Giants, at home to Green Bay and at Dallas. He also gives the Vikings a home victory over the Redskins to put them at 5-3 halfway through the season, meaning they would finish 2-6 to miss the playoffs.
Prisco’s NFC divisional winners are New York, Green Bay, Atlanta and San Francisco, with the two wild cards going to New Orleans and Seattle.