The Minnesota Vikings rolled to their second NFC North title in three seasons and earned a first-round bye on the strength of 11 wins in their last 12 regular season games. If there was any team that didn’t want to have an off-week during the Wild Card round it was probably the Vikings. But they allowed some bumps to heal and face the New Orleans Saints in the Divisional Round, a team they handled easily in the regular season opener.
A lot has changed on both sides since that first game and the Vikings will rely on journeyman Case Keenum to lead the offense. We’ve seen how first-time quarterbacks have fared this postseason and Keenum joins the group. But it was because of him and a stout defense that the Vikings are currently in the position they’re in. Keenum threw for over 3,500 yards and 22 touchdowns after taking over as the starter in Week 6. More importantly, he valued the football with just seven interceptions in 481 attempts.
The Vikings aren’t counting on Keenum to win the game; they just don’t want him to lose it. That’s because he’s got the No. 1 defense in the NFL behind him. The Vikings allowed only 17 total points in their final three regular season games and allowed just 276 yards and 15.8 points per game, both numbers topped the league. Their red zone defense was third-best and the Vikes won the opener by holding the Saints to just one touchdown in five red zone trips, and that came on the final drive with the outcome already determined.
2017 Record: 13-3
2017 ATS Record: 11-5
2017 Over/Under Total Record: 7-9
Current Super Bowl Odds: +355
Current Odds to Win NFC: +120
Current Odds to Win NFC North: N/A
Current NFL Odds: Vikings -4
Over/Under Total: 45.5
Vikings vs. Saints NFL Preview: The Vikings controlled the Saints in their Week 1 meeting, as they actually led by 17 points at one point. Both teams look much different from that early season meeting.“They’ve all changed, we’ve changed, but there’s the base things on both sides of both teams are still the same,” Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer said this week. The Saints still have Drew Brees and a potent passing attack, but they now have a great rushing attack. They are the first team in NFL history to have two running backs go for more than 1,500 scrimmage yards in Kamara and Ingram. Continue
Wild Card Round: BYE
Week 17: Vikings 23, Bears 10
ATS Result: Bears +13.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 38.5
Latavius Murray had a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs and the Minnesota defense was stifling, closing out the year with a win that secured a first-round playoff bye. The Vikings allowed just 201 yards and kept Chicago’s offense out of the end zone even while defending 11 plays from inside their own 10-yard line in the fourth quarter. However, a late Chicago field goal saddled Minnesota with just its fifth ATS loss of the season.
Week 16: Vikings 16, Packers 0
ATS Result: Vikings -8.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 41
The Vikings marched 39 yards with their first possession, settling for a Kai Forbath field goal that would be the only points needed in their first shutout since 1993. But to make sure and cover the spread for a second game in a row, Keenum tossed a scoring pass to Stefon Diggs later in the first quarter for the only touchdown. Two Harrison Smith interceptions ended drives and the Vikings forced three turnovers on downs in the second half to cash the under.
Week 15: Vikings 34, Bengals 7
ATS Result: Vikings -12.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 42.5
The Vikings caught a break in the schedule and took full advantage against a disinterested Bengals team. Latavius Murray scored on their first possession and the Vikings built a 34-0 lead early in the fourth, setting the stage for the return of Teddy Bridgewater. Making his first appearance in 16 months, Bridgewater’s first pass was intercepted, allowing the Bengals to avoid being shutout with a short scoring run. Still, the Vikes comfortably covered the spread for the eighth time in nine games.
Week 14: Panthers 31, Vikings 24
ATS Result: Panthers +2.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 40.5
The Vikings had a tough time stopping the run and a pair of scoring jaunts helped Carolina to an early lead. After cutting the deficit to a point on a pair of Kai Forbath field goals, the Vikings fell behind 24-13 entering the fourth. Adam Thielen had a scoring grab followed by a 2-point conversion to get within three and Adam Sendejo’s interception set the Vikings up for a go-ahead score. But the Vikes had to settle for a field goal after starting the drive at the Panthers’ 6 and it proved costly as Carolina scored on its next possession to get the cover win.
Week 13: Vikings 14, Falcons 9
ATS Result: Vikings +2
Over/Under Total Result: Under 48.5
Keenum was efficient and the defense dominant in Minnesota’s seventh-consecutive cover. Keenum threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Falcons were kept out of the end zone as the Vikings controlled the football for 34 minutes. After the Falcons took a 9-7 lead, Keenum orchestrated an 89-yard drive that chewed up over eight minutes and resulted in the game-winning touchdown.
Week 12: Vikings 30, Lions 23
ATS Result: Vikings -2.5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 46
The Vikings controlled the game but almost let it slip away. Keenum threw for a pair of scores and added another on the ground for a 20-3 lead late in the first half. Latavius Murray added a TD in the third for 27-10 lead, but the Lions roared back. Leading by seven late, Kai Forbath had his field goal attempt blocked and returned for a score, however the Lions were offside on the play, giving the Vikes a first down and they ran out the clock to secure the cover win.
Week 11: Vikings 24, Rams 7
ATS Result: Vikings -1
Over/Under Total Result: Under 46
The Vikings allowed a touchdown on the Rams first drive and then it was lights out. They were helped by an LA turnover deep in their own territory that kept the game tied 7-7. Minnesota exploded for 288 second half yards to put the game away. Leading 14-7, Adam Thielen turned a simple out pattern into a 65-yard touchdown after juking a defender to seal the game and give the Vikings a fifth consecutive ATS win.
Week 10: Vikings 38, Redskins 30
ATS Result: Vikings -1
Over/Under Total Result: Over 43
Three straight Keenum touchdown passes staked Minnesota to a 35-17 lead and they had to hold on, recovering a last ditch onside kick attempt by the Skins to cover the spread for a fourth straight game. Minnesota’s usually stingy defense was picked up by Keenum and the offense, which surged for over 400 yards while amassing their highest point total of the year to easily cash the over.
Week 9: BYE
Week 8: Vikings 33, Browns 16
ATS Result: Vikings -11
Over/Under Total Result: Over 38.5
The Vikings scored the game’s final 18 points turning a 16-15 deficit into their fourth consecutive SU win and third in a row ATS. Jerick McKinnon scored on a 1-yard run, Keenum threw his second TD pass of the game and Kai Forbath added his fourth field goal during the spurt, allowing the Vikings to cover the 11-point spread while cashing the over for a second straight game.
Week 7: Vikings 24, Ravens 16
ATS Result: Vikings -5
Over/Under Total Result: Over 37.5
The Vikings didn’t get much from Case Keenum in this one, but they really didn’t need him other than to hand the ball off. Latavius Murray ran for 113 yards, scoring the Vikings’ only touchdown on a 29-yard scamper, and Kai Forbath made all six of his field goal tries to give Minnesota its second-straight cover win. The Vikes surrendered a touchdown on the game’s final play to help cash the over.
Week 6: Vikings 23, Packers 10
ATS Result: Vikings +3
Over/Under Total Result: Under 46
It was a defensive gem from the Vikings and the over never had a chance. They knocked out Rodgers, picked off three passes and collected four sacks while holding Green Bay to 227 total yards. Jerick McKinnon scored two touchdowns and Kai Forbath kicked three field goals to supply enough points as the Vikings won outright as a 3-point dog.
Week 5: Vikings 20, Bears 17
ATS Result: Bears +3.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 41
Keenum provided a spark and the defense pulled the shades on Mitchell Trubisky’s debut by flipping a pair of turnovers into points, including the game-winning field goal with seconds left. Minnesota limited the prized rookie to just 128 yards and the conservative game-plan never put the over in trouble. Keenum led the Vikes on a touchdown drive to open the second half, but Smith’s interception put the Minnesota in prime position for the SU win.
Week 4: Lions 14, Vikings 7
ATS Result: Lions +2.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 43
The defense played well enough to get a win, but the Vikings couldn’t create anything offensively and suffered a huge blow when Cook went down. The game swung on turnovers with the Lions scoring 11 points off two of the Vikes’ three miscues. Detroit’s D did the rest, not allowing Minnesota to dent the scoreboard or cover the 2.5-point spread.
Week 3: Vikings 34, Buccaneers 17
ATS Result: Vikings PK
Over/Under Total Result: Over 41
The Vikings scored on their first possession and used a 21-0 run into the third quarter to turn this one into a rout, easily cashing the over. The Bucs were a bit shorthanded defensively, which had a hand in Keenum’s numbers, but not many full-strength defenses could have stopped him on this day.
Week 2: Steelers 26, Vikings 9
ATS Result: Steelers -8.5
Over/Under Total Result: Under 43
The line opened at Minnesota +6.5 and climbed as high as +9.5 with news that Bradford wouldn’t play. It didn’t matter. The Vikings gave up two long first-half scoring drives, both aided by pass interference penalties, to fall into a hole Keenum and the offense couldn’t get out of. The Vikes committed uncharacteristic penalties, squelching their own drives and extending Pittsburgh’s. Minnesota pulled within 17-9 early in the third, but wouldn’t score again, failing to cover the 8.5-point spread.
Week 1: Vikings 29, Saints 19
ATS Result: Vikings -3
Over/Under Total Result: Over 47.5
With all the talk about the Vikings offense and how they chewed up the Saints for 470 yards and 29 points, it’s easy to forget about the defense. Minnesota effectively shut down Drew Brees and the Saints’ offense, holding them without a touchdown until the final two minutes of the game when the outcome was already decided. The defense carried the team last year when the offense couldn’t run the ball or sustain a drive. Now it’s time for the offense to pick it up. They did against the Saints, but New Orleans has had one of the worst defensive units in the NFL for the past few years.
Preseason Record: 2-2
ATS Record: 1-3
Over/Under Total Record: 2-2
It was a small sample size but the Vikings new-look offense wasn’t all that effective during the preseason. There was a mid-season change at offensive coordinator and many faces on the first-team unit are new, so it might take time to get acclimated to Pat Shurmur’s offense. If the group continues to struggle, at least the defense is there to keep them in games.
Week 1: Vikings vs. Saints, Monday, Sept. 11, 1:10 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 2: Vikings at Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 3: Vikings vs. Buccaneers, Sunday, Sept 24, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Vikings vs. Lions, Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Vikings at Bears, Monday, Oct. 9, 8:30 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 6: Vikings vs. Packers, Sunday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 7: Vikings vs. Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 8: Vikings at Browns in London, Sunday, Oct. 29, 9:30 a.m. ET – NFL Network
Week 9: Bye Week
Week 10: Vikings at Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 12, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 11: Vikings vs. Rams, Sunday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: Vikings at Lions, Thursday, Nov. 23, 12:30 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Vikings at Falcons, Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Vikings at Panthers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 15: Vikings vs. Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 17, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 16 : Vikings at Packers, Saturday, Dec. 23, 8:30 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 17: Vikings vs. Bears, Sunday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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