Editor’s note: Tune in to the “Ultimate Betting Show” on NESN on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. ET for NFL training camp previews. Next up: Minnesota Vikings
As so many other teams have done prior, the Minnesota Vikings got with the times and replaced their older defensive-minded head coach with a younger offensive innovator in Kevin O’Connell this offseason.
O’Connell, who is fresh off helping the Los Angeles Rams to the Super Bowl, will take over at the helm for Mike Zimmer. O’Connell, a first-year NFL head coach, has been an offensive coordinator for three seasons after serving as an assistant coach on the offensive side of the ball since 2015.
One key objective will be to help quarterback Kirk Cousins, who’s now under contract for two years, reach his potential. Cousins will continue to benefit from having a dynamic group of playmakers, including Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and running back Dalvin Cook.
Here’s what bettors need to know about the 2022 Minnesota Vikings, with odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook:
2021 in review
8-9, second in NFC North
9-8 against the spread
Key offseason additions
Head coach Kevin O’Connell
OLB Za’Darius Smith
LB Jordan Hicks
Key offseason losses
Head coach Mike Zimmer
LB Anthony Barr
Look ahead to 2022
Super Bowl: +3500
Win total: Over 9 (-120)
To make playoffs: Yes, -115
2022 award contenders
MVP: Kirk Cousins +5000
Offensive Player of Year: Justin Jefferson +2000, Dalvin Cook +3000
Defensive Player of Year: Za’Darius Smith +6000
The Vikings, as depicted by their middle-of-the-road futures, feel like a middle-of-the-road team. They have star power in the sensational Jefferson, but just about everything else is lackluster. Simply, it doesn’t feel like the Vikings have the makeup of a contender. Minnesota might very well benefit from the Packers trading away receiver Davante Adams, as they, at least on paper, profile as a less superior Green Bay group than in recent years. And sure, the Vikings also benefit from playing the Chicago Bears, who enter the season with low expectations, but Dan Campbell’s rebuilding Detroit Lions could provide a headache twice per season. All told, until some team proves otherwise, it’s Aaron Rodgers’ division.