Vikings News NFL: Minnesota Vikings sign safety George Iloka from the Cincinnati Bengals.



Minnesota Vikings 2018 Season Preview




Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Posted on 8/27/2018.


Minnesota Vikings Free Agency Recap


Minnesota had a quiet under the radar type of offseason. They got Sheldon Richardson as a 4-3 defensive tackle. Minnesota also added George Iloka from the Cincinnati Bengals to compete for the strong safety job. Minnesota brought in Kendall Wright at wide receiver to push 2016 first round pick Laquon Treadwell for the slot receiver job.



Minnesota Vikings Draft Recap


The Minnesota Vikings drafted Mike Hughes out of Central Florida in the first round. He's barely beating out both Terence Newman and MacKenzie Alexander for the nickel cornerback job. Minnesota also drafted Brian O'Neill out of Pittsburgh. He's done well enough to force right tackle Mike Remmers to move inside to right guard.




Minnesota Vikings Quarterback Summary: Minnesota signed Kirk Cousins to be their new starting quarterback after losing Case Keenum. They made Trevor Siemian the backup quarterback. The crazy thing is Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford were backups on Minnesota last year along with Keenum and they are competing for starting jobs on other NFL teams.


Offensive coordiantor John DeFilippo was a quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Minnesota hired him to replace Pat Shurmur who took a head coaching gig with the New York Giants. Kevin Stefanski enters year two as the quarterbacks coach. Stefanski is the longest-tenured member on Minnesota's staff entering year thirteen. Stefanski has worked with tight ends, running backs, and quarterbacks during his time in Minnesota. DeFilippo only has experience working with quarterbacks and it feels like promoting Stefanski would have been the smarter thing to do.


I'm not saying Stefanski would make a good head coach. I do think he deserves a shot as offensive coordinator, if Minnesota's offense does worse this year with all their offseason moves. Someone who can develop players at nearly every position on the offensive side of the ball outside of the wide receiver and offensive line positions deserves a shot to be an offensive coordinator at some point so teams can measure if they have a future head coach on their hands.


Minnesota Vikings Running Back Summary: Minnesota has Dalvin Cook as the starting running back. Latavius Murray compliments him as the backup running back.


Kennedy Polamalu did well as Minnesota's running backs coach last year. He enters his second season as the running backs coach on the Minnesota Vikings.


Minnesota Vikings Wide Receiver Summary: Stefon Diggs remains Minnesota's #1 target despite having the size of a slot receiver. Adam Thielen is the secondary wide receiver due to his work ethic. Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota's first round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, is set to move to slot receiver. Minnesota also brought in Kendall Fuller for depth.


Darrell Hazell did well as the wide receivers coach in his first season. He's expected to continue to do well in his second season as a wide receivers coach with the Minnesota Vikings.


Minnesota Vikings Tight End Summary: Kyle Rudolph is one of the leagues best starting tight ends when healthy. Minnesota has no depth behind Kyle Rudolph so he's the one player on this offense besides Kirk Cousins that Minnesota cannot afford to lose. Minnesota re-hired Todd Downing as the tight ends coach. He was a tight ends coach with the Vikings until 2005 and now rejoins Minnesota nearly fifteen years later.


Minnesota Vikings Offensive Line Summary: Minnesota was stacked on the offensive line last year. Riley Reiff kept his job at left tackle. Minnesota had a huge need to upgrade their guard spot and they neglected that need in the 2018 NFL Draft.


Nick Eason is out for the year at left guard. That means Tom Compton will start at left guard in 2018.


Pat Elflein did better then I expected in his first year. Mike Remmers has regressed to the point where he got kicked inside to right guard. That leaves Rashod Hill and rookie Brian O'Neill in an intense competition for that right tackle job. Minnesota traded a 2019 seventh round pick for New York Giants starting center Brett Jones.


Tony Sparano died too right before the season so Minnesota does not have an offensive line coach. They have two co-offensive line coaches so with the disfunction the offensive line is having along with the untimely death of Sparano, don't be surprised if this offensive line struggles to give Kirk Cousins time in the pocket. I still believe the Vikings can run block well enough for Dalvin Cook to gain 1,000 rushing yards though. At the same time, Cousins pass protection won't be as effective as it was when he was with the Washington Redskins.


The Vikings should be a top 15 offense in points scored, total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards. If the offensive line wasn't such a liability you could argue Minnesota would be a top 10 offense in some of these categories.



Minnesota Vikings Defensive Line Summary: Minnesota is loaded with 4-3 defensive ends. They have Everson Griffen as a starting 4-3 right end with Danielle Hunter complimenting him as a starting 4-3 left end. Minnesota has Linval Joseph and Sheldon Richardson as their starting 4-3 defensive tackles with Jaleel Johnson for depth.


Andre Patterson was the Vikings defensive line coach in 1998-1999 when the Vikings went 15-1 before rejoining the team. Patterson is a great defensive line coach which is one reason why the Vikings usually get pressure on the opposing quarterback. Mike Zimmer specializes in developing defensive linemen as well.


Minnesota Vikings Linebacker Summary: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and Ben Gedeon form an great linebacking core. Minnesota has three players that consistently produce at linebacker. Kendricks is a middle linebacker while both Gedeon and Barr are versatile to play either outside linebacker role. Ben Gedeon out of Michigan is expected to be a backup outside linebacker after being a middle linebacker at Michigan. You also got Missouri middle linebacker Kentrell Brothers for depth behind Kendricks.


Head coach Mike Zimmer can develop defensive linemen or linebackers in a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme. Defensive coordinator George Edwards specializes in developing linebackers, but he's learned a lot about developing defensive linemen as well as Mike Zimmer's understudy. Edwards may be a future head coach candidate in the waiting. Linebackers coach Adam Zimmer is Mike Zimmer's son so the Vikings have three coaches that specialize in developing linebackers as well as defensive linemen. Mike Zimmer handles play calling with the linebackers, Edwards handles run stuffing and blitz schemes, and Adam Zimmer focuses on having the linebackers drop back into coverage. Each coach plays a critical role in how the Vikings linebackers develop.


Minnesota Vikings Defensive Backs Summary: Xavier Rhodes is the Vikings #1 field cornerback. He's also now the leagues highest paid cornerback. Trae Waynes did enough to solidify himself as the boundary cornerback. Rookie Mike Hughes out of Central Florida is beating out both MacKensie Alexander and Terrence Newman for the nickel cornerback job with Alexander edging out Newman for the dime cornerback role leaving Newman to fall from boundary cornerback to quarter cornerback on the depth chart.


Strong safety Andrew Sendejo is starting. George Iloka is pushing Sendejo for that starting strong safety job.


Minnesota has Harrison Smith as the teams starting free safety. Antone Exum like Smith, Griffin, and Sendejo has the versatility to play free safety or strong safety. You could say the same thing about third stringer Anthony Harris, a 2015 draft pick from Virginia.


Minnesota is loaded on the secondary. Jerry Gray is a great defensive backs coach, but a horrible defensive coordinator.


The Vikings had the NFl's best defense last year. I don't see why they decline in this area. Minnesota should have a top 5 defense in the NFL once again in sacks, points allowed, total yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and passing yards allowed.



Minnesota Vikings Special Teams Summary: Minnesota has Daniel Carlsson at kicker. Ryan Quigley is their punter. Mike Hughes will be both a kick returner and punt returner on the Vikings. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer will have his hands full.




Minnesota Vikings Worst Case Scenario: Minnesota goes 8-8 and misses this years NFL Playoffs. There is enough talent on this team for Minnesota to win 8 games. They don't take the next step and build on that due to some coaching changes.


Minnesota Vikings Best Case Scenario: Minnesota goes 12-4. They somehow end up winning the NFC North as a result.


Minnesota Vikings 2018 NFL Schedule


Week
Date
Opponent
Time
Cable Network
Result
Week 1
September 9
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 2
September 16
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 3
September 23
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 4
September 27
AT
8:20 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 5
October 7
AT
4:25 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 6
October 14
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 7
October 21
AT
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 8
October 28
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 9
November 4
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 10
Bye Week
Week 11
November 18
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
W
Week 12
November 25
VS
8:20 PM EST
NBC
W
Week 13
December 2
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 14
December 10
AT
8:15 PM EST
ESPN
L
Week 15
December 16
VS
1 PM EST
CBS
W
Week 16
December 23
AT
1 PM EST
FOX
L
Week 17
December 30
VS
1 PM EST
FOX
W


Minnesota Vikings 2018 Projected Record (9-7): Minnesota has enough talent to get the final wild card in the NFC. With some of the coaches they lost, I'm not sure this is the same team from last season. The Vikings have enough talent on their roster to get the final wild card in the NFC at the very worst.









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