Coming off what could very well be the game of the year, and improving to an 8-1 record, there are questions as to if the Minnesota Vikings can be true Super Bowl contenders come playoffs.
Do Current Super Bowl Contenders Include the Minnesota Vikings?
How Does the Offense Look?
Some of Minnesota’s greatest strengths were apparent in their victory versus the Buffalo Bills. Dalvin Cook rushed for 119 yards; his longest rush was an 81-yard touchdown run. While, outside of his long run, Cook was relatively quiet, he stepped up when needed. He provided 20 yards at the beginning of overtime to set the tone of the drive that would eventually account for Minnesota’s go-ahead field goal.
Obviously, Justin Jefferson had the highlight of the game with his 30-yard catch on 4th & 18 with 2:00 left in the game.
JUSTIN JEFFERSON CATCH OF THE CENTURY. pic.twitter.com/Cos6v0yPIC
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) November 13, 2022
Even outside of the catch, Jefferson had one of his best games of the season. He racked up 193 yards and a touchdown. He’s solidified himself as someone the quarterback can trust in late-game scenarios. Throw it up to him and he will make a play. Jefferson will continue to draw the defense’s attention and open up the field for K.J. Osborn, Adam Thielen, and newly acquired tight end T.J. Hockenson.
While they have some of the most dynamic and entertaining playmakers at their respective positions, with Jefferson and Cook, their team has plenty of shortcomings. For one, Kirk Cousins, never a bad quarterback, has not been contributing as much as he has in previous years. He is currently on pace for 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. In comparison, he has averaged 34 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in the past two years.
Cousins has also never consistently won on a big stage. Everyone knows his primetime struggles. He also lacks experience in the playoffs, playing only four games and a 1-3 record. If Minnesota expects to make a run in the playoffs, they will have to rely on the quarterback at some point; Jefferson can only provide so much. If Cousins is unable to step up in the playoffs, there may be questions about his future, especially with the uber-talented offense around him.
What About the Defense?
Minnesota’s defense is not exactly the most fearsome unit. They rank 26th in pass yards allowed per game and are not ranked top 10 in any major defensive stat. Josh Allen marched all over them in crunch time, with a quick drive at the end of regulation and a strong overtime possession, before eventually throwing a pick in the red zone. The defense will continue to be tested as Minnesota tends to make games harder than they should be. At some point down the line, the offense will struggle mightily and they will be asked to step up. Will they answer?
The Minnesota Vikings have talented playmakers at almost every position. The question that will determine whether they can make or win the Super Bowl lies with whether they can get out of their own way and continue to make statement wins, as they did this past weekend. Nevertheless, Minnesota fans have plenty to look forward to for the rest of the season and beyond.
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