The basement is a bad place to be in sports. Unfortunately, that's exactly where most NFL pundits or media entities believe the Minnesota Vikings will end up this season.
Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback has an amazingly interactive NFL season preview, but the only mention the Vikings get are a couple of writers predicting Adrian Peterson will lead the league in rushing.
ESPN's writers picked the Vikings to finish last in the NFC North. Ben Goessling predicts a 7-9 season for Minnesota, but maybe worse if they don't fare well in the beginning portion of their schedule.
"The Vikings begin the season with a difficult stretch of games that could take them out of the running for a playoff spot early if their defense isn't better than it was last year. They open on the road at St. Louis and then face the Patriots, Saints, Falcons and Packers between Sept. 14 and Oct. 2. That's a 18-day stretch where the Vikings will see Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers, and if they can't emerge from their Thursday night game at Lambeau Field with at least two wins, they will have a tough time making the rest of their season count for much."
"That’s a tall order for any team, much less one with a new coach, a new system and a young roster," Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune wrote. "Oh, and a secondary that still looks remarkably thin in depth and talent."
It's a brutal stretch of games, but Greg Cosell of Shutdown Corner believes there are at least eight teams with a more difficult opening month of the season.
NFL.com experts flat out ignored the Vikings. Second year wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson told KFAN's Paul Allen what he thinks of the "haters."
Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke and Doug Farrar have the Vikings finishing last, too. Burke at least says depending on how quickly Mike Zimmer can turn the team around, the NFC North could be the best division in football.
According to the Pioneer Press, Zimmer has high expectations.
"I think we've gained confidence in the techniques that we're teaching, and maybe the coaches and what we're going (to do) offensively and defensively," Zimmer said Monday. "But if our expectations weren't very high to begin with, then we probably wouldn't be a very good football team anyway."
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But what do the so called experts really know? Maybe the best advice when considering which preseason prediction to believe is to forget them all. Based on this sweet stat from ESPN The Magazine's Brian Burke, even Albert Einstein would have a hard time putting together a scientifically accurate projection.
"Put simply, there more than twice as many possible outcomes to the NFL season than there are atoms in the universe. And that just refers to wins and losses, and doesn't even consider scores."