The national media thinks the Vikings are going to be pretty mediocre
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There appears to be a disconnect between how local followers - fans, media, etc. - and national followers view the Minnesota Vikings' chances in the NFC this season.
Locally, it's safe to say most people believe the Vikings - despite a tougher schedule, especially on the road - can get back to the 10 or 11-win plateau as long as Christian Ponder and the passing game take some semblance of a step forward.
The national perception is much different.
Of the six national predictions and/or projections we tracked down this morning, none have the Vikings finishing with more than eight wins.
Las Vegas has the Vikings' official over/under win total at 7.5.
Mike Tanier, who write for the stat-driven FootballOutsiders.com and Sports on Earth, has the Vikings at 7-9. "The Vikings deserve credit for recognizing the 2012 season for what it was," Tanier wrote. "They did not go all-in for a misguided Super Bowl push this year (see the Colts for a counterexample); instead, they traded Harvin and reloaded through the draft, with Patterson expected to help immediately and Floyd and Xavier Rhodes preparing to fill holes on defense as they open. Frazier and Ponder don't provide much of a tingle, but both did enough to keep their jobs last year, and both understand that their main task is to stay out of Peterson's way. The Vikings must build a championship-caliber supporting cast before Peterson starts to fade. That will take more than a season, but Peterson is one of those transcendent athletes who could blow the age curve, and the Vikings are wise to not rush."
Pat Kirwan, formerly of NFL.com and now writing at CBSSports.com, says the Vikings will finish 8-8. "Time for Christian Ponder to be more than a guy who hands off to Adrian Peterson," Kirwan wrote. "Some call him a system QB, and 18 TD passes last season was far off the average (27) for playoff teams. The defense generated only 10 interceptions last season, so they need rookie CB Xavier Rhodes to step up quickly."
Ben Goessling, who made the switch from the Pioneer Press to ESPN.com earlier this month, believes the Vikings will finish 8-8 -- and his prediction was the most optimistic of an ESPN.com bunch that also included Adam Schefter. John Clayton, for instance, has the Vikings finishing third in the NFC North. "The Vikings have seven games on the road against teams that were 8-8 or better last season," Clayton wrote, "which will make it tough to get back to the playoffs and the 10-win level."
ProFootballFocus, which does video scouting analysis of every play in the NFL each week, sees the Vikings as a 7-9 team.
If you found any other national projections, feel free to post them in the comments section below.