With the Vikings officially in summer mode, now is a good time to take a step back, look at the big picture and take our best swing at what is going to happen in 2022. So let’s have a look at Vikings-related betting odds. All the numbers come via Draft Kings.
Super Bowl: +5000 (T-20th)
The Vikings’ odds to win the 2022 Super Bowl suggest that the sharks are extremely skeptical of the idea that they can take the leap from 8-9 last season to championship contention. While the team is better today than it was at the end of 2021, we don’t have to do anything more than a simple Google search to find all the articles last offseason about how the team improved its defense through free agency and was looking for a younger offensive mind to take Kirk Cousins to the next level. Also when the GM calls it a “competitive rebuild,” you can’t expect the odds makers to push the needle toward a Super Bowl. Making the Vikings prov they are a real contender is fair under the present circumstances, even if you can talk yourself into things being vastly different. Of course, it’s always worth saying that preseason long shots sometimes do surprise, just ask the Cincinnati Bengals in 2022 or 2019 San Francisco 49ers.
If you were wondering, the most comparable teams to the Vikings in terms of Super Bowl odds are the Saints, Patriots, Raiders and Dolphins.
NFC North: Packers: -175, Vikings +275, Lions +1000, Bears +1000
It comes as no surprise that the Packers are the heavy favorites considering they have won 13 games three years in a row and Aaron Rodgers remains their quarterback. Rodgers’ best receiver may be gone but Green Bay’s offensive line, running game and defense are very strong around the MVP QB.
The questionable part here is the Bears and Lions having the same odds. Detroit has the earmarks of a team that could compete with the Vikings for second place. They have drafted high for two years in a row and have a quality supporting cast around Jared Goff. They also improved as last season went on, winning three of their final six games. The Bears are in a similar place to the Lions before the 2021 season. They traded Khalil Mack and tore down everything that wasn’t nailed down (and didn’t have a first-round pick because of the Justin Fields trade).
In order to win the division, the Vikings have to check off a lot of boxes. Improve their offensive efficiency, improve their pass defense, stay healthy, maintain a low number of turnovers and manage games much better than last year… and have the Packers fall off by several wins from last season. Not likely but not impossible either.
Make the playoffs: Yes: -105, No -115
In an NFC that’s lacking depth in contenders, the Vikings being favored by a hair to miss the playoffs seems to lean on the harsh side. There are six teams that are favored to make the playoffs in the NFC: Philadelphia, Dallas, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Green Bay and San Francisco. The 49ers getting more benefit of the doubt despite an uncertain quarterback position raising an eyebrow but the rest of the teams have strong arguments for the postseason. The Vikings’ closest competition for the final spot if everything plays out this way is Arizona (+125 to make, -150 to miss) and New Orleans (+125 to make, -155 to miss).
If the Vikings fail to reach the playoffs, it would mean coming short of their own expectations. They may not have been braggadocios this offseason about their chances to get back to the postseason but the Vikings’ decision to stay the course at quarterback and sign veteran players like Za’Darius Smith, Harrison Phillips, Jordan Hicks and Patrick Peterson comes with the insinuation that they believe in their playoff chances more than Draft Kings.
Kirk Cousins MVP: +5000 (T-20th)
When you look at the top names on the list ie Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, Justin Herbert and Joe Burrow, you wouldn’t expect Cousins to fall in their tier of potential MVPs. However, you also wouldn’t think he’d be tied with two receivers, two running backs and Trey Lance either. You definitely wouldn’t expect him to land behind Jalen Hurts, Matt Ryan and Tua Tagovailoa. But Cousins’ history suggests that its ceiling is below the elite QBs. When he’s graded as one of the best QBs by PFF in 2019 and 2021, his counting numbers don’t match the aforementioned types. If there is a next level to Cousins that O’Connell can unlock, it would still take a statistical jump to match the type of numbers it requires to win an MVP and the Vikings would need to win at least 11 games. Whether you buy into QB Wins as a stat or not, the MVP voters aren’t giving it to a 9-8 quarterback with the 10th best offense in the NFL.
Dalvin Cook is +10000 and Justin Jefferson +150000. That doesn’t quite add up since Deebo Samuel and Cooper Kupp are at +5000 but Jefferson has more yards than both of them over the last two years.
Vs. Packers: +1.5 and vs. Eagles +2.5
The first two games of the season are absolutely vital to the Vikings’ season and they are not favored in either game. The Vikings have three winnable games following their home opener versus Green Bay and away MNF contest in Philly but they get into the difficult part of the schedule in the middle with matchups against Miami, Arizona, Washington, Buffalo, Dallas and New England after that. We saw over the last two seasons how difficult it can be to dig out of an early hole. The Vikings will need at least one upset to avoid falling behind again.
Pick-em vs. Washington, Dallas, Indy
Talk about crucial stretches: The two games sandwiching the toughest game on their schedule (at Buffalo) are both pick-ems (Washington, Dallas). We are far away from knowing what Washington will look like with Carson Wentz or whether the Cowboys can be as good with Amari Cooper now in Cleveland but you can easily envision both games playing a significant role in the NFC playoff race.
Defensive rookie of the year: Lewis Cine +3500 (19th), Andrew Booth Jr. +2200 (16th)
Considering Cine is projected to start right away and Booth Jr. presently sits behind Cam Dantzler and Patrick Peterson on the depth chart, the odds should be better for Cine. The Vikings’ first-round pick is going to play alongside one of the best safeties in the NFL in Harrison Smith, which has led to a lot of success for its predecessors, all of whom have been late-round draft picks or undrafted players. There are quite a few contenders for the award though. The top four overall picks in the 2022 draft were defensive players.
Coach of the year: Kevin O’Connell: +2000 (13th)
If O’Connell can follow the Kevin Stefanski path of arriving at a middling franchise and taking them to the playoffs, he’s got a shot at this one. The COTY voters love a new coach who beat expectations more than they appreciate a proven coach doing what he’s supposed to do. Especially if O’Connell’s offense is exciting and explosive, he’ll have a shot. The problem with picking KOC is that nobody has any idea whether he can successfully coach in the NFL. He has only a few years experience as an offensive coordinator and the HC job in Minnesota has been known to grind down those who take on the task.
Most passing yards: Kirk Cousins: +1800 (11th)
How much does Kevin O’Connell want to pass the ball? Cousins’ career high in passing attempts came in 2016 with Washington and he threw for nearly 5,000 yards. His offensive coordinator: Sean McVay. During that season, the vast majority of Cousins’ yards came when playing from behind (3,030 yards when trailing). Will O’Connell play a wide open style that results in high-scoring contests as opposed to Zimmer’s run-first offense that ended in many close games? It seems very much in the realm of reality.
Most rushing yards: Dalvin Cook: +750 (3rd)
Of course, if KOC is going to pass more, Cook is going to run less. Cook’s health is also a big factor here.
Most receiving yards: Justin Jefferson: (2nd)
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp are still going to be best friends this year but if Jefferson’s role is tweaked to get the ball even slightly more often, he could make a run at Kupp.