The Duel

3 Stats That Prove the Minnesota Vikings Are Super Bowl Contenders in 2021

Zach Brunner
Dalvin Cook totaled 1,654 yards this season for Minnesota.
Dalvin Cook totaled 1,654 yards this season for Minnesota. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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Following the Super Bowl LIV victory for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City earned its first ring in more than 50 years. This result also marked yet another year the Minnesota Vikings will have to wait before they can break their franchise Super Bowl victory drought.

The Vikings have been to four Super Bowls without claiming a victory, but these three stats from the 2019-20 NFL season can prove Minnesota should be considered as a legitimate Super Bowl LV contender.

1. Kirk Cousins' Improved Play

Kirk Cousins threw just six interceptions this season.
Kirk Cousins threw just six interceptions this season. / Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

While it was easy to pick on Kirk Cousins in past seasons, he has stepped up his game the past two years. He has completed 70.1 percent and 69.1 percent of passes in the past two seasons, respectively, and he also improved his touchdown-to-interception ratio from 3.0 to 4.33 this year. Despite his atrocious career record in primetime games, Cousins has shown he can make any pass on the field and he has the weapons to improve even more.

2. Red Zone Defense

Linval Joseph has plugged up the Vikings' middle for the past six seasons.
Linval Joseph has plugged up the Vikings' middle for the past six seasons. / Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The Vikings defense may have taken a step back this season compared to the last, but their red zone defense certainly didn't. They allowed a touchdown in just 45.45 percent of their opponents' red zone trips this season, which was the second-best rate in the league. They were even better at home too, where they allowed a touchdown in just 36.36 percent of their opponents' red zone trips.

3. Forcing Turnovers

Anthony Harris led the Vikings with six interceptions.
Anthony Harris led the Vikings with six interceptions. / Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Often the most crucial games come down to one or two plays, and when a defense is talented at taking the ball away, they are more likely to have these plays go in their favor. The Vikings forced 1.9 turnovers per game this season, which was third in the NFL and best in the NFC. The combination of this and a strong running game should make them an even more difficult out come next year.


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