The Minnesota Vikings enter the 2018 season with Super Bowl aspirations. But in order to achieve their goals, the Vikings will have to slow down a number of the NFL’s best quarterbacks. In fact, they play seven of Pro Football Focus’s top 15 quarterbacks from 2017. With that said, let’s have a look at how the rank in terms of degree of difficulty…
1 – Green Bay Packers, Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers did not get his chance to enact revenge against the Vikings last season after Anthony Barr ended his season. While Mike Zimmer has had some success against Rodgers, the last time the two faced off was in Green Bay late in the 2016 season. Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns that day. His supporting cast isn’t perfect, but there are few quarterbacks who can leave a great defense feeling helpless like Rodgers.
2 – New England Patriots, Tom Brady
Every year we wonder when Brady is going to fall off and every year he proves that he’s still top dog. Brady ranked No. 1 last year by PFF’s grading system and led the Patriots to a Super Bowl appearance. Because his team lost, it will go forgotten that he threw for 505 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles. The Vikings haven’t matched up against Brady since a 30-7 loss in 2014.
3 – New Orleans Saints, Drew Brees
Just when the Vikings thought they had Brees defeated, the future Hall of Famer came roaring back in the divisional playoff game. He threw for 294 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions against the Vikings and would have earned a comeback victory if not for the Minneapolis Miracle. Last year he led the NFL in yards per attempt, in part because New Orleans has built a strong supporting cast around him.
4 – Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson
At one time, pundits debated whether Wilson was simply a game manager. If that hadn’t been put to bed already, it certainly was in 2015 when he led the team in rushing and was consistently pressured due to an abysmal offensive line. Wilson led the NFL in touchdown passes and tacked on 586 yards rushing at 6.2 yards per carry. His dynamic skill set and special big-play ability helps make up for some significant weaknesses around him.
5 – Philadelphia Eagles, Carson Wentz
Zimmer welcomed Wentz to the league in 2016, holding him to 138 yards passing – which is still his career low. But the third-year quarterback has come a long way since then, putting himself in the MVP conversation last year by going 11-2 with a 101.9 quarterback rating. The one question is how quickly Wentz will bounce back from a brutal knee injury suffered at the end of last year.
6 – Detroit Lions, Matthew Stafford
Over the past few years, Stafford has bounced back from a few down seasons in the middle of his career. He’s accomplished a rare feat: Beaten the Vikings at US Bank Stadium twice. Though his two performances against the Vikings were mediocre overall. Stafford registered just an 84.1 rating in the teams’ two matchups. His excellent set of weapons and vastly improved offensive line from years past make Stafford a tough matchup.
7 – San Francisco 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo
It falls under the small sample size category, but Jimmy Garoppolo had an incredible beginning to his career in San Francisco. He went 5-0 with a 96.2 quarterback rating and averaged an outstanding 8.8 yards per attempt. Before Garoppolo arrived in San Francisco, they had just one win. With Kyle Shanahan in charge of his offense and new weapons added to the mix, the 49ers are a trendy pick to compete for the NFC West.
8 – Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff
Goff had a terrific sophomore season, leading the NFL in yards per completion (12.3). He finished with a 100.4 rating and an 11-4 record. He did not have a great day at US Bank Stadium. Goff lost to the Vikings 24-7 and threw for just 225 yards.
9 – Arizona Cardinals, Sam Bradford
Vikings fans know first hand that if Sam Bradford is healthy, he can make throws with the best quarterbacks in the NFL. His arm strength and accuracy is top notch, but his heath has often gotten in the way of a promising career. If Bradford’s knee does not hold up, there’s a chance the Vikings face off with Josh Rosen when Arizona comes to town.
10 – Chicago Bears, Mitch Trubisky
Trubisky is one of the more difficult quarterbacks to project. The Bears cleaned house, hired Matt Nagy from Kansas City and added weapons around their young quarterback. Could Trubisky be this year’s Jared Goff? The Vikings allowed just 306 yards in two games to Trubisky in 2017.
11 – Miami Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill
For several years, Tannehill flirted with taking the next step toward being a true franchise quarterback, but never quite got over the hump, in part because of a dysfunctional franchise that struggled to put talent around him. An injury last year set him back even farther.
Ongoing QB competitions:
New York Jets
Teddy Bridgewater will be battling for a job this offseason with Sam Darnold and Josh McCown. It would certainly be a fascinating matchup to see Bridgewater face his former coach. If his knee is in tact, that will be the best shot the Jets have to win against the Vikings.
If Josh Allen doesn’t win the starting job as a rookie, the Vikings will be taking on either AJ McCarron or Nathan Peterman. The Vikings’ home game Buffalo is by far the easiest QB matchup on their schedule no matter who starts.