In this edition of Five Downs, Dairyland Express connected with The Viking Age, to breakdown everything NFC North.
Five downs will be a regular segment devoted to covering five questions across a wide variety of items. The hope is to cover hot topics with all sorts of different personalities. Although we may not always agree or like the answers, it’s interesting to see opinions from different points-of-view.
Joining us for this edition of Five Downs is recent FanSided Hall of Fame inductee Adam Carlson. Adam is not only a Site Expert for The Viking Age, but he is also the Site Expert for the Undead Walking.
Adam brings to the table a vast knowledge of the NFC North and everything Minnesota Vikings. We talk about a variety of topics along with the rivalry that is the Vikings versus the Green Bay Packers.
Dairyland Express: How do you think the acquisition of Kirk Cousins will impact the Minnesota Vikings this season?
Adam Carlson: Even though Case Keenum had a great season with the Vikings, Kirk Cousins is a significant upgrade for several reasons. Cousins has a track record of solid play and provides a consistency at quarterback for the next three seasons.
After throwing for over 4,000 yards in the last three seasons, Cousins could be the first quarterback to accomplish this feat for the Vikings since Brett Favre led Minnesota a few yards short of a Super Bowl appearance in 2009.
What’s even scarier is that Cousins has a much more talented group of players around him on offense in Minnesota compared to what he had in Washington, meaning the offense could be one of the best units in the league if everything clicks.
Dairyland Express: Do you see the Green Bay Packers as a greater or lesser threat than from one season ago?
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Carlson: The Packers defense isn’t nearly as scary as they used to be, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have potential. Green Bay’s rookie cornerbacks could come out of the gates and be very impressive, but an aging Clay Matthews leading a unit that gave up the third most yardage per pass play last season isn’t very good for their unit.
That said, you can never count out Aaron Rodgers. He’ll be returning and looking to show just how important he is to the team’s offense, especially considering he could cash in even more with a great performance. But having Rodgers under center instead of Brett Hundley is just about as significant of a change as there can be in the NFL.
Green Bay will always be a threat, but with Rodgers looking to return from his injury and some young talent, the Packers should be considered the biggest obstacle for the NFC North crown.
Dairyland Express: From top-to-bottom, how do you think the NFC North will finish this upcoming season? Feel free to give a brief explanation of each team.
4. Chicago Bears – The jury is still out as to whether or not Mitchell Trubisky can be the savior for Chicago, more weapons should help the team as they fight to avoid the cellar of the division. However, the other teams are just too talented and established not to put the Bears last.
3. Detroit Lions – Matthew Stafford is a good quarterback, but hasn’t proven to be able to take the Lions to the playoffs on a regular basis. In other divisions, Detroit could likely compete for the division title…but the top two teams in the division will keep the boys in Honolulu blue from rising up.
2. Green Bay Packers – The Packers have a favorable schedule compared to the Vikings and also boast a returning Aaron Rodgers and some fresh talent on defense, but unless they can tighten up their defense or win shootouts against some of the top or emerging offenses in the league, they won’t be able to fend off Minnesota.
1. Minnesota Vikings – The top defense in the league brought back all their key pieces and even brought in an upgrade on the defensive line. Plus, they added one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL to an offense full of players who can take it to the house. The only question is if they can keep winning at home and if the Cousins-led offense will click.
Dairyland Express: Sticking with the NFC North theme here, who will be the MVP of the division for the 2018 regular season?
Carlson: It should come down to the four quarterbacks since other players aren’t usually too involved in MVP races. For that reason, it is difficult to see anyone with a more impressive stat line than Aaron Rodgers. He’ll need to put lots of points on the board, but the Packers passer shouldn’t struggle too much get yards and touchdowns.
Dairyland Express: Finally, give us your way too early Super Bowl prediction.
Carlson: The Eagles could return to the Super Bowl with their talented group of players, but history tends to lean toward a Super Bowl hangover. That said, it would be great to see the NFC North be represented in the big game, but there’s also a great chance that fans will see the Los Angeles Rams taking on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII….so that’s the prediction!
You can follow Adam Carlson and The Viking Age on Twitter, by clicking on these links. We will without a doubt be back in touch with those guys in the near future. You can also check out what we had to say over at The Viking Age by clicking here.
Feel free to weigh-in below.