There have been plenty of surprises this NFL season, and one of them has been the Minnesota Vikings.
They have a 7-1 record, which is the second-best mark in the NFC, as well as in the entire league, behind only the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles.
But some people are hard to convince, and there are still some pundits who think Minnesota’s record may be somewhat of a mirage.
Are the Vikings legitimate Super Bowl contenders, or are they merely pretenders?
The Case Against
The biggest knock against what the Vikings have done this season is that they lack wins against the NFL’s elite.
They did defeat the Miami Dolphins in Week 6, but that was when Tua Tagovailoa was out following his concussion scare.
In fact, every other team Minnesota has defeated so far this year is currently under .500, which makes its 7-1 record look much less impressive than it may at face value.
In Week 2, the Eagles destroyed them on Monday Night Football, 24-7.
The Vikings will have a chance to get a proverbial statement win this Sunday when they visit the Buffalo Bills, the team that was picked by many when the season started to win the Super Bowl.
The Case For
Kirk Cousins may not be one of the game’s best quarterbacks, but the Vikings do have big weapons elsewhere.
Running back Dalvin Cook has 608 rushing yards, which is 10th in the NFL, to go along with five touchdowns, while wide receiver Justin Jefferson is second in receiving yards with 867.
Justin Jefferson got 🆙 pic.twitter.com/4NERMsyUrs
— PFF (@PFF) November 6, 2022
In addition, new linebacker Za’Darius Smith is leading their pass rush attack with 8.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and 15 QB hits.
The NFC doesn’t have a ton of teams that are over .500 right now, and that will also help Minnesota’s cause.
The defending world champion Los Angeles Rams are 3-5, the San Francisco 49ers are 4-4, and other teams with strong records, such as the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks, don’t look like true contenders.
Don’t be surprised if the Vikings find a way to reach the NFC Championship Game this winter.