PFW Showin' Vikings the Love

There has been a lot of negative national press about the Vikings' prospects for the 2006 season, despite infusing new coaching philosophies and spending liberally during the hot free-agent session. But one national publication is showing the Vikings a little support -- picking the them as one of the few winners in the NFC in 2006.

After a lot of mixed reviews from the national media in many preseason takes on the 2006 season, finally somebody is showing the Vikings the love.

Pro Football Weekly released its preseason preview magazine and, unlike several of the other early release publications on newsstands already, PFW picks the Vikings to be one of the six NFC playoff teams.

The love isn't unconditional – it seems clear in the minds of the editors at PFW that the stronger teams are in the AFC. The Vikings are picked to go 9-7 (the only team in the conference picked to finish with that record and one of just six NFC teams projected to have a record over .500.

The Vikings and Cowboys are projected to emerge as the wild cards, with the Redskins, Bears, Panthers and Seahawks picked as division champs in what is viewed as a wide open NFC.

On the flip side, the AFC is projected to be dominant. While every team in the NFC that has a record over .500 qualifies for the playoffs, three such teams in the AFC – including two with 10-win projections – are left on the outside looking in. The Colts are expected to have the best record at 12-4, with the Steelers and Broncos checking in with 11 wins each. The weakest of the division champs is picked to be the Patriots, who've had a little bit of postseason success, so just making it there makes them dangerous. But at the wild card position, four teams are picked to go 10-6 – the Dolphins and Bengals with records to make the playoffs and the Chargers and Chiefs with 10-6 records that don't make it. The Jaguars fit in the mix at 9-7, but they too are on the outside without a playoff sniff.

Here's hoping PFW is right. While many Vikings fans believe if the team survives a brutal opening schedule, they could go on a late-season rush and finish with 10 or 11 wins. That may be optimistic, but if you buy into what PFW is selling, nine will be enough for Vikings fans to see their favorite team back in the playoffs by year's end.

Viking Update Top Stories