Can the Vikings Build on a Strong 2022 NFL Campaign?
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For most of the 2022 National Football League season, it was very fun to be a fan of the Minnesota Vikings.
Well, maybe fun is not the correct word: it was more like a nail-biting, manic existence that comes with a team that wins so many games late.
Minnesota went 13-4 in 2022, and 11 of those wins came by a touchdown or less. Perhaps the game that explains the season the best came a week before Christmas: the Vikings overturned a 33-0 halftime deficit against the Colts to win the game 39-36 in overtime, just as time expired. It was possibly the greatest game in NFL history, with some of the best plays (Justin Jefferson’s catch, anyone?) the league has ever seen.
The Vikings won the NFC North by four games over the Detroit Lions, who had just the opposite kind of luck in close games: six of their eight losses came by four points or less.
So when various sportsbook apps around the country put out the odds for the NFC North, you would think the Vikings would be the favorite, right?
Ahead of the NFL Draft, when the Vikings have just five picks, and the Lions have four picks in the top 60 alone–and two in the top 18 picks of the first round (six and 18)–it is Detroit that has the best odds to win the NFC North.
The Lions are currently around +140 odds to win the division as per aGamble.com, while the Vikings are +280 to +300, just ahead of the Chicago Bears (odds of +350, who went 3-14 in 2022.
Do the sportsbooks know something we do not? Probably, as that is their job.
Can the Vikings go 13-4 in 2023? It is possible, as the blueprint is right there in front of you. But if the Colts’ game happened again, would you still think the same outcome happens? What about the 10 other games Minnesota won by a touchdown or less?
Eventually, that stuff evens out: it is a tough break for fans that it happened in the NFC Wild Card Round, as the Giants exacted revenge for a close loss in Week 16. But over the course of an 18-week season, you would think the Lions–who are going to be better in 2023–win a few more of those games they lost in 2022, and the Vikings lose a few more of those games they won in 2022.
However, there is very good value on the defending NFC North champions to repeat. It might be worth a shot.
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