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ESPN’s ‘Future Power Rankings’ suggest Vikings’ trajectory is unclear

Dec 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford (8) passes an interception to the Indianapolis Colts but also gets roughed and keeps the ball on a play in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Colts win 34-6. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Summer is the perfect time for NFL fans and media to assess where each team is headed and attempt to project the future. An analysis by ESPN’s Field Yates, Louis Riddick and Mike Sando looking toward the next three years paints the Minnesota Vikings as a team whose future is difficult to predict.

The three analysts graded teams based on five categories in order to determine the club’s outlook.

Here’s how the Vikings finished:

As you can see, the Vikings ranked mid-pack in nearly every category, with the lowest score coming at quarterback.

“The uncertainty surrounding the quarterback spot drags them down in these rankings,” Yates wrote.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the teams with the most positive futures also have top-notch quarterbacks. The top five is made up of Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger.

It isn’t likely the Vikings can put themselves in the same company as teams with future Hall of Fame QBs, but almost any other outcome at the position is possible.

Heading into 2017, it appears that even GM Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer are unclear on whether Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater or Quarterback X will be starting on opening day 2018. Bradford’s contract is up after this season and the former Ram and Eagle said recently that he’s not aware of talks about an extension. Meanwhile, Bridgewater has been making progress in his recovery from a catastrophic knee injury last August, but there’s no telling whether he will be ready to play this season.

The Vikings have gone all-in to give Bradford a better offensive line and running game and took a risk on Michael Floyd to find their QB a deep-threat receiver. By the end of 2017, the Vikings are hoping to have a much better idea of whether Bradford is a bottom-third quarterback, as his ranking suggests, or if he’s good enough to make Minnesota a contender year after year.

At the conclusion of the year, the front office should also know whether Bridgewater can return under center. His status will likely play a big role in whether the Vikings give Bradford a long-term deal.

The roster is too young and talented to see a slide to the bottom of the league anytime soon – though there are still question marks on offense and defense. Will Xavier Rhodes sign an extension? Will Anthony Barr bounce back in 2017? Is Dalvin Cook the next elite all-around running back?

With so many aspects of the quarterback conversation up in the air, it’s very hard to predict whether the Vikings will return to the top of the NFC North as they were in 2015 or remain stuck in the middle.

  • Alan Light

    The rankings are absurdly low. Typical ESPN garbage…

  • Mike Link

    Sounds right to me. Viking fans are always ready for the Superbowl in the off season, but I have followed everyone of their seasons and I prefer to wait and see.

    • Andre Esters

      No shame to the wait and see game… plenty of Vikings fans skew heavy one way or the other, but something about that middle ground is a safe bet. I got faith in the fighter, I just wanna save my over zealous cheers for 12th round flurry.

  • Lester Stkl

    vikes have Zim on deck as the blind captain Ahab. He is the first mate for the incompetent and cheap GM.

    • B. A. Barakas

      Your comment makes no sense at all…

      • tk6


      • Lester Stkl

        figures since you probably can’t read. Go read Moby Dick

  • Vikomatic

    Its way too early to suggest anyone could adequately prognosticate when the O line was completely different in 2015, 2016, and now 2017. The Offense goes as the O line goes. I don’t think Bradford has ever reached his potential but his injuries were also catastrophic (not as much as Bridgewater’s but still). There is no way to tabulate the impact of Cook or Alexander (in the slot if he plays there instead of Newman). I don’t think we’re middle of the pack but I also don’t think we are in the top 6. O – line improvement, which probably won’t really come until 2018 is the critical issue to me.

    • homeofthebrave

      Spot-on…can’t value a qb with an o-line as bad as we had last year. So who are these top-line o-line replacements?

  • Mike Sullivan

    The Vikings have aggressively filled needs in both free agency and the draft. Hopefully stabilizing the offensive line, defensive line depth, and at receiver and running back. There is no reason they can’t compete with the Packers for the division title or maybe more. Depends on whether the O-line jells and they can just have a decent running game, and keep the defense fresh. If that can happen quickly, They could be a very dangerous team.

  • Topgunn

    Alan Light: Couldn’t agree more. I just don’t see the Vikings overall talent ranking smack dab in the middle of the league. This is a team with a young (for the most part) talented defense, a rebuilt O-Line, a rookie RB who could be electric and a QB who at worst is better than average. Having a coaching staff ranked 12th can’t hurt either. The Packers are better than us at QB, maybe O-Line (remember, the Pack lost some blockers last year) Kicker, and maybe in the receiving corps because they have a Jordy Nelson and we don’t. But our TE’s are better. I see us being VERY close to the packers in overall talent.


    It’s clear that these national “experts” have a pretty superficial understanding of most teams. In the article, Riddick tabs the team’s biggest worry as Mike Zimmer’s eye. I’ve seen the same take from other national guys as well. This screams out, “I don’t know much about the team, but I’ve heard…” If the team’s biggest worry is a increasingly unlikely chance that the coach will have trouble with one of his eyes, I think that suggests a pretty bright future.

  • Andre Esters

    Future Power Rankings?! Man… is it kickoff yet… these summer scrapings are a bit much to stomach.

  • beloitgopher


    I’ve been saying that since Bud and Jerry Burns have left the Team.

    • Jay Foxx

      More like since Denny Green left.

      • beloitgopher

        Denny is one of the reasons we struggled for so long!

  • Sherry Chappel

    the job is Bradford’s to win or loose. His play will decide if Teddy is worth the risk.

  • Jay Foxx

    Vikings go 8-8 again.

  • beloitgopher

    ESPN has turned into a Democratic sounding board and have lost most of the Football people. Drain the Swamp!

  • cka2nd

    Given the Seahawks’ offensive line, ranking Russel Wilson in the top five for QB futures seems awfully optimistic to me.


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