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Why This Team Could Surprise People This Season

The NFC is a fairly weak conference. Aside from the NFC West, there isn't much in the line of strong divisions. The NFC East is a joke, the NFC South only has Tampa Bay as a Super Bowl contender, and the NFC North appears wide open. That's why it's the perfect opportunity for the Minnesota Vikings to make some noise this season.

Why is that the case? For one, the Vikings have an extremely favorable schedule this season. Aside from facing their NFC North foes, they also take on the NFC East. The Vikings' toughest road games appear to be Buffalo and Green Bay. That's it. Plus, they only play one true away game (along with a neutral site game) in their first five games. The table is set for Minnesota to possibly go 5-0.

There are also the offensive weapons that the Vikings carry, starting with Kirk Cousins. The former Washington quarterback had a stellar season last year, throwing for 4,221 yards, 33 touchdowns, and seven interceptions (that's five less than what Tom Brady had last season).

There's also Dalvin Cook (1,159 rushing yards, six touchdowns), who was a dominant force before tearing his labrum. There's also emerging receiver Justin Jefferson (1,616 receiving yards, ten touchdowns) and his No. 2 Adam Theilen (726 receiving yards, ten touchdowns). On paper, Minnesota looks stacked on offense.

Also watch for the linebacker group for the Vikings, led by Eric Kendricks (81 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions). Minnesota has quietly built a solid group over the years that'll get better if Anthony Barr comes back.

There are some good reasons why some experts are picking the Minnesota Vikings to win the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers lost his best weapon on the Green Bay Packers, the Lions are garbage, and the Bears are still trying to find their offensive groove. That's why it wouldn't be surprising to see Minnesota hosting a home playoff game in January.

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