2. Minnesota Vikings
Total defense: 4th
Passing defense: 3rd
Rushing defense: 15th
Points per game: 9th
Player to watch
Harrison Smith is a key part of the Minnesota Vikings defense, and he is one of the most talented safeties in football. Smith led the Vikings in interceptions with three last season, and also forced a fumble and had six pass defenses. Smith hasn’t missed a game since the 2016 season, and has a total of eight interceptions over the past two seasons.
Even in a disappointing overall season for the Vikings in 2018, the defense was still among the best and most consistent in football. That should be the same again this season, especially after they re-signed linebacker Anthony Barr at the last minute. Barr was set to sign with the New York Jets, but changed his mind and re-signed with the Vikings.
Mike Zimmer’s defense has finished inside the top eight in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric in each of the past three seasons, and they have a ton of talent on this side of the ball once again entering the 2019 season.
Expect a bounce-back season from the Vikings, a team that will once again be led by its dominant defense, which has the potential to be not only the best in the NFC North, but also the best in the entire league this season.