Well damn, that huge Kirk Cousins free agent signing prior to the 2018 regular season didn’t work out very well for a Minnesota Vikings team that was expecting to really challenge for a Super Bowl appearance after adding the veteran former Washington redskins signal-caller!
Now, with the franchise hand-cuffed to Cousins because of his insane contract, the Vikes have no choice but to shoot for the stars again in 2019 with the clearly just above average Cousins under center. Will the NFC North playoff hopefuls get back into the postseason to give themselves a shot at winning it all or will Minnesota – and Cousins – flounder again when it matters most?
No matter what happens to the Vikings over the course of the coming season, there are a bunch of insightful things you need to know about Minnesota before they take to the gridiron for the upcoming 2019 NFL regular season. Let’s get started.
Minnesota Vikings 2019 NFL Season Betting Guide
- ATS: 8-7-1 (W-L) / 8-7-1 (ATS) / 4-3-1 (Home) / 4-4-0 (Away) / 2-2-0 (Grass) / 6-5-1 (Turf)
- O/U: 6-10-0 (W-L) / 2-6-0 (Home) / 4-4-0 (Away) / 3-1-0 (Grass) / 3-9-0 (Turf) / 43.8
One season after going 13-3 and reaching the NFC Championship game opposite Philadelphia, the Vikings went an uninspiring 8-7-1 last season while posting an identical 8-7-1 ATS mark that included covering the chalk at home and on the road an identical four times. The Vikings used their still solid defense to play Under the total 10 times, including a half-dozen times at home.
- Total Yards: 345.6 / Rank 20
- Passing Yards: 252.2 / Rank 13
- Rushing Yards: 93.3 /Rank 30
- Points Scored: 22.5 / Rank 19
- Field Goal %: 68.8 / Rank 32
The Vikings finished the 2018 season ranked 20th in total offense, a respectable 13th in passing, a dismal 30th in rushing and uninspiring 19th in scoring (22.5 ppg). To address their needs on the offensive side of the ball the Vikings signed veteran backup quarterback Sean Mannion and guard Josh Kline in free agency. Minnesota also drafted NC State center Garrett Bradbury with the 18th overall pick before selecting Alabama tight end Irv Smith Jr. and Boise State running back Alexander Mattison in the second and third rounds respectively.
- Total Yards: 309.7 / Rank 4
- Passing Yards: 196.2 / Rank 3
- Rushing Yards: 113.4 /Rank 15
- Points Allowed: 21.3 / Rank 9
- Field Goal %: 91.7 / Rank 30
Defensively, Minnesota was still mostly outstanding in ranking fourth overall, an even more impressive third against the pass, a modest 15th against the run and encouraging ninth in points allowed (21.3 ppg). However, it should be known that Minnesota clearly took a step backwards on defense after ranking first almost across the board in 2017. While the Vikings don’t have many needs on the defensive side of the ball, they did sign veteran place kicker Dan Bailey while drafting USC linebacker Cameron Smith in the fifth round and Arkansas defensive tackle Armon Watts in the sixth round.
- Touchdowns: Stefon Diggs (9)
- Rushing: Dalvin Cook (615)
- Passing: Kirk Cousins (4298)
- Receiving: Adam Thielen (1373)
- Sacks: Danielle Hunter (14.5)
- Interceptions: Anthony Harris (3)
Last season, wide receiver Stephon Diggs tied for the team lead in touchdowns scored in his fourth season while topping the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards, though it was fellow wideout Adam Thielen that led the team in receiving yards while also finding the end zone nine times in his sixth season. While oft-injured running back Dalvin Cook led the team in rushing with 615 yards, he missed five games a year ago after having his rookie season limited to just four games because of an ACL tear.
After their huge free agent signing of veteran quarterback Cousins, the Vikings entered the 2018 regular season as one of the top favorites to reach and win Super Bowl 53 a year ago. Unfortunately, Cousins mostly flopped in his first season despite completing a blistering 70.1 percent of his passes for 4,298 yards while throwing 30 TD passes and just 10 interceptions. You see, from Minnesota’s Week 11 road date at Chicago until the end of the season, Cousins, topped the 300-yard passing mark just once as the Vikings dropped four of their final seven games while losing to Chicago twice, New England and Seattle. Veteran defensive end Danielle Hunter led the team with a career-high 14.5 sacks in his fourth season while safety Anthony Harris led the team in interceptions with three in his fourth season.
While I am definitely expecting Kirk Cousins to be more comfortable in his second year in Minnesota, I’m not quite sure that the Vikings are going to improve all that much on the field. In addition to four difficult division contest against Chicago and Green Bay, Minnesota also has tough non-division matchups against Atlanta, Philadelphia, Kansas City, Dallas, Seattle and the L.A. Chargers. Right now, I’m thinking the Vikes are clearly a bit behind Chicago in the NFC North, but a 10-win season could be possible, even though I’ve got the Vikings coming up just short of reaching that figure in 2019.