Despite similar roster, here’s how Vikings can go from mediocre to playoffs

Sometimes an NFL team’s record tells a lie in regards to how that team actually played. With so few games (even with one more now at 17 in a season), legitimate bad luck can make a good team seem mediocre, just as good luck can obscure the warts of a playoff team.

The Vikings in 2021, however, were not one of those teams. They were, in pretty much every way, exactly what their record said they were: an 8-9 team good enough to hang around and win some games but not good enough to overcome their own mistakes.

Football Outsiders produces a DVOA number (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) for every team. The Vikings in 2021 were No. 16 in the NFL. Their offensive DVOA was No. 16. So was their defensive DVOA. And their variance was No. 1 in the league, meaning they were consistent in their mediocrity from week-to-week.

Based on those metrics, they were expected to win 8.5 games.

After an offseason that brought dramatic changes in leadership but marginal changes in on-field personnel, the Vikings are projected to win between 8 and 9 games again.

It’s clear that if they are going to improve enough to be a playoff team in 2022 under new coach Kevin O’Connell, it’s going to be with changes in how they do things and not with whom they do them.

So I took a look at three areas the Vikings might be…

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