4. Vikings on the road
Vikings fans believe there has been a power shift in the NFC North, and for at least one season, they were right. The reigning division champions are an ascending team led by young quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Under head coach Mike Zimmer, the Vikings have become a no-nonsense team who are tough to beat.
Adrian Peterson didn’t look like a 30-year-old running back in 2015, leading the NFL with 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns. There were no signs of him ‘hitting the wall’, and he will be productive again in 2016. Peterson took pressure off of Bridgewater, who will have more talent surrounding him next season.
The Vikings’ defense is a talented, hungry unit. They were tied with the Packers for No. 7 in sacks (43) and were No. 5 in points allowed per game (18.9). Green Bay struggled to get through the Minnesota defense in Week 17, which led to an NFC North-clinching victory for the Vikings.
There’s no reason to believe the 11-5 Vikings won’t be able to replicate their 2015 form, or even better it. Inside their incredible new home, the Packers will have a big challenge to take a key divisional win on the road.
Next: No. 3