The Minnesota Vikings finished the 2019 regular season with an overall record of 10-6, but were second to the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. Minnesota lost several players to free agency and no longer has star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, but were able to add 15 new players at the draft which should help on both sides of the ball in the competitive NFC North.
Kirk Cousins returns as the Minnesota starting quarterback and in all likelihood Sean Mannion will be his backup. Cousins had a solid 2019 season Throwing for 3,603 yards, 26 touchdowns and six interceptions. The offensive line protecting Cousins and opening holes for the running game will include Ezra Cleveland, Riley Reiff, Garrett Bradbury, Brian O'Neill and Rashod Hill. Cleveland was drafted out of Boise State and the 6-foot-6 331-pound left tackle will be in charge of protecting Cousins' blind side. This season the offensive line will be Young with not much experience but a great deal of depth.
The running game is led by Dalvin Cook, who last season rushed for 1,135 yards and 13 touchdowns and was second in receiving with 53 receptions for 519 yards. CJ Ham plays fullback for the Vikings after signing a three-year contract during the off-season. With Diggs no longer playing for the Vikings, the leading receiver will be Adam Thielen, while Tajae Sharpe and Olabisi Johnson both have NFL experience. Justin Jefferson was selected No. 22 overall by the Vikings in the speedy, precision route runner will make an immediate impact at wide receiver. Kyle Rudolph will lead a trio of tight ends that also includes Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin.
During the 2019 offseason and leading up to the 2020 regular season, the Minnesota Vikings experienced wholesale changes on their defense with players leaving after signing free-agent deals, players being traded and new draft picks coming aboard. The drafted players will see immediate action in a very young defensive unit for the Vikings in 2020. Mike Hughes will be a key at cornerback for Minnesota as Hughes now has the most experience of any player in the secondary. Troy Dye will also be an important part of the secondary moving from the nickel position into a full-time role at one of the safety spots. Rookie Cameron Dantzler could eventually become the best cornerback the Vikings have.
The defensive line is expected to be led by Ifeadi Odenigbo who is expected to have a breakout season after bursting on the Vikings scene while playing in a rotation last season. The defensive lineman is equally strong against the run as the past and after losing Everson Griffen during the off-season, Odenigbo is expected to become the Vikings best rushing down lineman. The linebackers unit will be led by Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, and Eric Wilson, while Demarcus Gates and Cameron Smith will see plenty of action in different defensive packages.
The Minnesota Vikings are expected to have a strong offense behind quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook. However, the wide receivers lack depth and that could cause opposing defenses to focus on the Vikings running game and shutting that down making Minnesota beat them through the air. The defensive side of the ball for Minnesota has gone through a big transition with four or five of the top players lost to free agency and that will cause problems as the season progresses. Minnesota will finish the regular season third in the NFC North with an overall record of 9-7.