The NFL Draft is now over, most of the splashy free agents have been signed and it appears the league's coaching and quarterback carousels have stopped turning (plus the Twins season is spiraling into oblivion).
So naturally we're ready for the NFL season to begin, right? Well, sort of, if you want to just skip summer altogether. But for those who are permanently ready for some football – here you go.
ESPN released it's post-draft NFL Power Rankings, and there's some good and some bad news in it for Vikings' fans.
ESPN ranks the Vikings among the top 10, slotting Minnesota at No. 9 in their power rankings, but they issue this ominous warning:
"Often, the surprise upstart playoff team takes an ugly step back the year following its breakthrough. The Eagles in 2014. The Chargers last year. The second season of 'Friday Night Lights.' The Vikings could be such a team, but they shouldn't get discouraged if it happens. Clear eyes, full hearts can't lose."
The Vikings are coming off a surprising 11-5 finish, which won the NFC North Division – snapping the Green Bay Packers' five year reign atop the division.
The Daily Norseman doesn't sound surprised "the worldwide leader in sports" is apparently writing off the Vikings early, especially considering ESPN tabbed the Packers at No. 3 in their post-draft rankings.
Others though haven't been quite so quick to turn their backs on the Vikings. Sportsblog ranks the Vikings at No. 10 (although both Jacksonville at No.6 and Oakland at No. 9 have leapfrogged them somehow).
"Even though the Vikings are a run-heavy team, their passing game just got a whole lot more dangerous. Minnesota's first rounder Laquon Treadwell is a true possession receiver, and thanks to Mike Mayock, the Vikings drafter German football standout, Moritz Boehringer, in the sixth round. Boehringer is extremely athletic, and is a crazy-good wideout. They also picked up cornerback Mackenzie Alexander from Clemson, and in my opinion, the guy is a shutdown corner. Great draft for the Vikings"
But even Sportsblog ranked the Packers at No. 4. It looks like Mike Zimmer won't have to look too far to find motivation for the NFC's North Division Champions.