The Minnesota Vikings made the playoffs as the No. 6 seed in the NFC, and they were heavy underdogs against the New Orleans Saints on Wild Card Weekend.
They upset the Saints with a 6-point overtime win, though, and they're now one of just eight teams left in the hunt for the Lombardi trophy. You don't make it to the Divisional Round by pure luck, and with a win over the Saints the Vikings have firmly established themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
Here are three reasons Vikings fans should be excited about their chances at winning it all this year.
1. Average Margin of Victory
On average, the Vikings out-scored their opponents by 6.5 points per game in the regular season. That was the seventh-best margin in the NFL, and is the fourth-best mark among teams remaining in the playoffs. Ranking top-10 in both points for (25.4; eighth) and points against (18.9; sixth) per game this year, the Vikings are incredibly well-rounded.
2. Kirk Cousins' Numbers are Legit
Kirk Cousins just turned in one of the best regular seasons of his career. He finished seventh among qualifying QBs in adjusted pass yards per attempt (accounting for TDs and INTs), and he checked in at fourth in passer rating. A clutch playoff win over the Saints is a positive sign that he is ready to overcome his issue with big-game struggles, and that makes the offense especially dangerous.
3. Winning the Turnover Battle
Few things swing a football game as much as turnovers, and that has played a big role in the Vikings' success. Their defense scored a takeaway on 17.8 percent of their opponents' drives in the regular season, which was the second-highest rate in the NFL. On the other side of the ball, their offense turned it over on 10.3 percent of drives, finishing better than league-average as well. Overall, their average turnover margin of +0.7 per game checked in as the fifth-best mark in the NFL.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.