Could the Minnesota Vikings Be This Year’s Tennessee Titans?
11 November 2020
The 2020 NFL season has not been going well for the Minnesota Vikings. They began the season with three straight losses before finally recording a win against the hapless Houston Texans.
But the victory did not get the team on track because they dropped their next two—including one to the lowly Atlanta Falcons.
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With a record of 1-5, there was not much reason to have any hope the season would amount to much for the Vikings. Technically, they are not eliminated from anything.
But with that record, they will need an incredible turnaround and a whole lot of luck even to earn a wildcard spot.
Then they got Dalvin Cook back from the injured list going into their Week Eight game against the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay was favored by six, but behind 226 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns by Cook, the Vikings won by six.
The following week was more of the same. Minnesota was favored by three over the Detroit Lions, but they won by 14 behind Dalvin Cook’s 252-total yard, two-touchdown day by Cook.
While the last two weeks have been great ones for the Vikings, their record is still just 3-5. They are a longshot to win the NFC North (+2200; odds via DraftKings; Packers -770, Bears +550). Odds do not favor them making the playoffs, either (Yes +285; No -375).
If they aren’t making the playoffs, then it only makes sense that their odds of winning the NFC (+4000) and Super Bowl (+10000) are even longer.
So, it looks like the Minnesota Vikings are not worth betting on at any level this season—or are they? There was another team in a similar position last season, the Tennessee Titans.
Things did not work out too bad for them…
The 2019 Tennessee Titans
Last season was a prove-it year for former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. However, it became apparent after about six weeks that Mariota was part of the problem. They had a record of 2-4, but their defense had played well. It was the offense that was holding them back.
Head coach Mike Vrabel hoped that taking Mariota out and putting Ryan Tannehill in could provide a much-needed spark. If they were to overcome their +1600 odds to win the division, they needed something.
But that spark would have to ignite a fire under the offense if they were to win the AFC (+15000) or Super Bowl (+30000). It did not look too good for them just to make the playoffs either (+600).
Inserting Tannehill seemed to do the trick. The Titans won their next two to improve to 4-4 but then lost to the Carolina Panthers in Week Nine to fall to 4-5. At that point, it looked like something else was needed—and the following week, they got it.
Derek Henry started running over teams. Beginning with a 188-yard game in Week Ten against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Titans won every game the rest of the way when he ran for at least 100 yards. He only had 86 in Week 15 against the Texans and didn’t play in Week 16 against the Saints.
Tennessee lost both games. But then they rode him to a win in Week 17 and earned a wild card spot. Then they ran Henry all over the Patriots and Ravens to get to the AFC Championship game—where Henry only ran for 69 yards, and they lost (to the Kansas City Chiefs).
Could Something Similar Happen for The Minnesota Vikings?
Once the team started to lean on Henry, the Titans became one of the AFC’s best teams. With everyone focused on slowing down Henry, it was easier for Tannehill to do his job. As a result, they made the playoffs and made it to the AFC title game.
Could that happen for the Minnesota Vikings if they were to lean on Cook the rest of the way? It worked well in the last two games. If he can stay healthy enough to play, it is not hard to imagine.
If the playoffs were to start this week, they would be the tenth seeded team and out of the playoffs. In front of them are the 4-5 49ers and 5-4 Bears. Neither team is expected to continue winning games. But the Rams (seventh), Cardinals (sixth), and Buccaneers (6-3) do not appear ready to lie down just yet.
So, along with winning, they are going to need some help.
They can help their own cause with two wins over the Bears and should beat the Cowboys, Jaguars, and Lions. There is a good chance they will be favored against the Panthers, too. Wins in those games would make them 9-5 with games against the Buccaneers and Saints.
They will need to win at least one of those games to earn a wild card spot, if not both.
How Should You Bet When It Comes To The Vikings?
Green Bay will likely lose one or two more down the stretch, but not enough for the Minnesota Vikings to have a shot at the division title. But do not be shocked if they do manage to squeeze their way into the playoffs.
They will likely have to beat the Seahawks and Saints to make it to the AFC title game, though. But if they do make the AFC title game, they could meet the Packers there—who they just beat.
Betting Play: Minnesota Vikings to make the playoffs. There is value in betting on them to win the NFC and Super Bowl, but don’t risk much more than your pocket change.
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Travis a native-Texan which is where his love of football originated. But after moving around a lot when he was younger, he was able to develop an appreciation for the game and not just his favorite teams. He now lives in Indiana with his wife, Nicole, and two kids, Jackson and Addison. You can find him on Twitter at @FatManWriting.