The NFL preseason is officially underway, but it won’t start for most teams until next week. Before we begin the preseason, predictions need to be released. Today, I will be releasing my personal prediction for the 2022 Minnesota Vikings.
Week 1 vs. Green Bay Packers: Loss
Vikings Record: 0-1
I believe that the Packers are the worst possible Week 1 matchup for the Vikings, a team that is debuting a new head coach in Kevin O’Connell. This is still, for the most part, a young defense, and Aaron Rodgers will once again carve up the Vikings as usual. Did the Packers get worse? Yes. But they still have Rodgers, a top-tier running game, and a defense with the potential to be a top-five unit. O’Connell is not going to have a good debut game against the divisional rival that has owned this team for the better part of three decades and will learn quickly that the main goal in this football town is beating the Packers and catching up to them. Kirk Cousins and the offense will also not have a good day against the Packers defense, which will be swarming the field all day. The Vikings lose this game and start 0-1.
Week 2 at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday Night): Win
Vikings Record: 1-1
The Vikings rebound from the loss against the Packers and snag a Monday Night Football win against the Eagles. I believe that the Vikings offense is going to have a great day in this game, especially with Justin Jefferson wanting to stick it to the Eagles for taking Jalen Reagor over him back in 2020. Cousins has also had great success against the Eagles since becoming a full-time starter in 2015, going 6-2 against them. Jalen Hurts and Co. will likely struggle against a Vikings defense that will get better by the week, but given that said defense is young, I see them doing just enough to keep it close. In the end, however, the Vikings win. O’Connell gets his first win and Cousins extends his Monday Night Football winning streak to three games.
Week 3 vs. Detroit Lions: Win
Vikings Record: 2-1
I like the Lions a lot this year as an improved team but they will not beat the Vikings in Minneapolis in Week 3. Cousins is undefeated against the Lions at home since becoming the Vikings starter and most of those games, except for last year, have been blowout wins for the Vikings. The Lions getting blown out in Minneapolis has become a theme and that will continue this year. Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter will get the better of the Lions’ young offensive line and the defense will put up their first truly dominant showing of the season. For the first time since 2019, the Vikings will have a winning record at some point in the season.
Week 4 at New Orleans Saints (London): Loss
Vikings Record: 2-2
Although I initially picked the Vikings to win this game, I think I’ve changed my mind. While Sean Payton is no longer the Saints coach, his successor Dennis Allen has often fielded top-flight defenses over the past five years and that isn’t going to change. Allen’s speciality unit will give the Vikings problems across the pond and the offense will struggle. While I don’t anticipate Alvin Kamara running for six touchdowns again, I do think that Jameis Winston and the aerial attack will get the better of the Vikings’ young corners. I think the Saints are an underrated team this year and they will make a statement here. The Vikings lose this game and drop to .500 again.
Week 5 vs. Chicago Bears: Win
Vikings Record: 3-2
For the first time in a long time, the first Vikings-Bears meetup of the year will take place in Minneapolis. The Bears will give the Vikings two free wins this year as I believe that they will be one of the three worst teams in football. The Vikings will push the Bears all over the field on both sides of the ball and will handily win this game.
Week 6 at Miami Dolphins: Loss
Vikings Record: 3-3
The Vikings haven’t won in Miami since 1976 and that will continue. I believe that the Dolphins are going to push the Vikings around offensively. While I don’t see Tua as a top QB in the NFL, I also don’t see the Vikings having the defensive personnel to contain the likes of Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, Raheem Mostert, and all of the other offensive skill players Miami is fielding. I think that this game could be a shootout between two electric offenses, but I also can see the Vikings playing catch-up for most of the game. Miami wins and the Vikings head into their bye week at 3-3.
Week 8 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Win
Vikings Record: 4-3
The Cardinals last won a game in Minnesota in 1977 and are 0-10 in the Twin Cities since. That record will drop to 0-11 as I believe the Vikings regroup from their bye week to win a go-either-way contest at home. Since 2019, when Kliff Kingsbury was hired as the Cardinals’ head coach, the Cardinals are 9-20 (including the playoffs) following Week 7. Last year, when these teams met, the Vikings defense collected three sacks and two turnovers off Kyler Murray, and now that defense is better and has been upgraded. Not only will the defense push around Murray and Co., but the offense will also have another great day. In last year’s contest, the Vikings put up 419 yards of offense, including 177 yards rushing. What you saw from the Vikings on both sides of the ball last year in Arizona will be mostly the same, if not more, and they will win this time around.
Week 9 at Washington Commanders: Win
Vikings Record: 5-3
This contest is going to be closer than people think. The Commanders’ fearsome front four, which should have Chase Young back by this contest, will push around the Vikings offensive line. The Commanders defense as a whole will get the better of the Vikings offense, but I believe the Vikings win this game because Cousins is simply better than Carson Wentz and will have extra motivation to win in his return to Washington. Wentz has struggled against the Vikings in his career, going 1-2, and has had some of his lowest career moments against the purple and gold. Even in his one win in 2016, Wentz had a subpar game with two interceptions. My gut feeling is that, in the fourth quarter, the Commanders will have this game locked up, but Wentz will make a silly mistake or two that will cost his team the game. As a result of this, the Vikings hang on to win close.
Week 10 at Buffalo Bills: Loss
Vikings Record: 5-4
Every team has one guaranteed loss a season and that game for the Vikings is Week 10 at the Bills. Plain and simple, this matchup is going to be brutal. Stefon Diggs, who is thirsty for revenge against the Vikings, will likely have a day against their young corners. Josh Allen will likely have a great day both through the air and on the ground. Von Miller and this defense will harass Cousins and Co. into multiple turnovers. Unfortunately, I don’t see any way the Vikings can win this game. This is just a brutal matchup for a young squad.
Week 11 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Win
Vikings Record: 6-4
Although Dallas has gotten the better of Minnesota for the past two seasons and sport a 3-0 total record at U.S. Bank Stadium, I think the Vikings will exact revenge in this game. There is no question that the Cowboys got worse this offseason, and there is no doubt that they will not go 12-5 this year. With the Cowboys having a weakened receiving core, I can see the young corners for the Vikings having a great game against Dak Prescott, and I think that the offensive line for the Vikings will hold its own against a weaker set of pass rushers. Given that Dallas offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Zack Martin don’t have the best of health mid-season, I can see the pass rush having a day as well. I also don’t think Cousins and the offense will struggle against Dallas like they did last year. In the “Anthony Barr Bowl,” Barr’s old team does enough to finally knock off the Cowboys.
Week 12 vs. New England Patriots (Thanksgiving): Win
Vikings Record: 7-4
I was initially going to have this game as a loss given how often Bill Belichick dominates rookie head coaches, but the Vikings are just simply the better team. While there’s no question that Belichick will try and take Justin Jefferson out of the game in the aerial attack phase, Cousins can go to other receivers such as Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn. Given their lack of wide receiving talent, the Patriots could try and run the ball down Minnesota’s throat with guys such as Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, but the Vikings can do the same with Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. The Vikings also have a much better offensive line than the Patriots, and the defenses will likely be about even. Everything the Patriots do well, the Vikings can do just as well. It’s close, but I’ll take the home team to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving feast.
Week 13 vs. New York Jets: Win
Vikings Record: 8-4
In the last game of a three-game home stretch for the Vikings, I’ll take the home team easily. People say the Jets got better during the offseason, but it feels like they say that every year and the Jets do nothing to show for it when it counts. I think the Vikings are going to have their way on both sides of the ball with a young team that will likely disappoint us this year. Just like the Bears and Lions games, this is a layup for the Vikings, who are now 8-4 after 12 games.
Week 14 at Detroit Lions: Loss
Vikings Record: 8-5
One young team that is not going to disappoint us this season is the Lions, who I said in my Week 3 prediction will be better this season. In a close game, I think the Lions will beat the Vikings as this Lions team continues to be a young one on the rise. I think Penei Sewell and the rest of the Lions offensive line will hold their own against the Vikings this time, and Jared Goff will have a better day throwing the ball. Lions rookie receiver Jameson Williams, who wants to prove to the Vikings that they should’ve stayed at 12 to draft him, will also have a breakout game. In a flashback to last year, the Vikings give up a late fourth-quarter lead and lose to the Lions… again.
Week 15 vs. Indianapolis Colts: Loss
Vikings Record: 8-6
The Vikings return home for the fourth time in five games, this time to take on a top AFC contender in the Colts. The Vikings haven’t beaten the Colts since 1997 and that’s unfortunately going to continue in this game. Matt Ryan, who carved up the Vikings in his last trip to Minneapolis in 2020, will do much of the same with a better offensive line and skill people. Jonathan Taylor will also run the ball effectively against the Vikings defense and will have himself a day. The Colts front seven, led by Shaquille (Darius) Leonard and DeForest Buckner, will give the Vikings offensive line problems and the defense as a whole will likely swarm the field all day long. The last time the Colts came to Minneapolis, they won 34-6. The score won’t be 34-6 this time around, but the Colts will likely win by double digits.
Week 16 vs. New York Giants: Win
Vikings Record: 9-6
The Vikings get their fourth home layup of the year and dominate the Giants in their home finale. The Giants simply don’t have the offensive or defensive personnel to match up well with a team like the Vikings. If Daniel Jones is starting this game, which is likely, the Vikings defense will probably collect multiple turnovers off him. Cousins will probably carve up the Giants defense as well, which will lead to guys like Jefferson and Cook having a day. Another easy home win for the purple and gold to secure their first winning season in three years.
Week 17 at Green Bay Packers: Loss
Vikings Record: 9-7
If the Vikings can’t beat the Packers in Week 1, they won’t do it in Week 17. I’m sorry but I believe that the Packers will sweep the Vikings this year in what I see as a “transitional” year for the latter franchise. Aaron Rodgers will, as usual, carve up the Vikings defense for about the millionth time, the Packers run game will be stout, and the now-refined defense will give Cousins and the offense a lot of problems. The Packers will be better in Week 17 than in Week 1, and that’s why I simply think the Packers will sweep the Vikings this year. I just think these matchups came at a bad time for the Vikings, facing the Packers Week 1 with a new coach isn’t ideal and neither is facing them in Week 17 while the latter is probably trying to secure another one seed.
Week 18 at Chicago Bears: Win
Vikings Record: 10-7
There is one game a year that the Vikings play down to their competition for no reason, and this will be that game. Minnesota has struggled at Soldier Field significantly since the turn of the millennium, compiling a 6-16 record at the venue since 2000. It hasn’t been until recently that the franchise has found in the Windy City, as they currently sport a 2-game winning streak at the venue that has haunted them for so many years. This game will be seen as a blowout win for many, but I see it as a very close game. This will be a windy defensive battle where both offenses will struggle mightily. However, I think that the Vikings offense does just enough to get the job done and a late touchdown secures them a final record of 10-7 for the season.
That concludes my Vikings record prediction for the 2022 season. For a team with a new general manager and head coach, 10-7 isn’t a bad place to be at all. I believe that, in a weaker NFC, this is enough to secure the men in purple their first playoff berth of the decade. They will be a wild card team, as I am picking the Packers to win the division, but they are still in the playoffs.
Please feel free to leave any feedback and maybe even leave your personal record predictions in the comment section below. Thank you for reading and SKOL VIKINGS!