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Vikings, Packers, NFC North

Have the Vikings overtaken the Packers as NFC North favorites?

The Green Bay Packers finished the season with a 13-3 record, en route to winning their 19th NFC North Division Title. The Minnesota Vikings were not far behind at 10-6, and appear poised to take over as the top team in the NFC North come next season.

NFL pundits like ESPN’s Mike Clay are projecting the Vikings to run away with the division title this year, dethroning the Packers in the process.

One of the few reasons why the Vikings are deemed the favorites is their terrific NFL Draft night. Using the plethora of draft picks they had in their war chest, Minnesota filled up almost every hole in their roster. After trading wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, the Vikings selected LSU standout Justin Jefferson 22nd overall. Along with wide receiver Adam Theilen and running back Dalvin Cook, the Vikings have the offensive firepower to take over the division.

Minnesota also managed to shore up and bolster their secondary. The Vikings lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, and Mackensie Alexander in free agency. To address the hole, they drafted TCU defensive back Jeff Gladney in the first round. They also found potential replacements to Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph using their draft picks. Adding defensive coordinator Dom Capers will also help shore up the defense that still has some gaps to fill.

Obviously, rookies won’t have the same immediate impact as veterans, but the cupboard isn’t completely naked and without substance. Only time will tell just how strong an impact the rookies make.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers whiffed in the NFL Draft. Needing to add reinforcements on the offense, Green Bay made a questionable decision to select Jordan Love 26th overall. They also compounded the mistake by drafting running back Quinten Rollins in the second round, failing to give Aaron Rodgers more weapons.

Speculations among the camp as to how the legendary quarterback would handle the Love decision could add to the turmoil. How does Rodgers and head coach Matt LaFleur approach the season with all the uncertainty? Without an upgrade in the receiving corps, and with tensions arising within the locker room, there’s a good chance that Green Bay will drop some games.

The offseason is not yet over, and the Packers still have time to address their needs. But in their current state, the Minnesota Vikings by far had the better outcome in strengthening their team and filling their needs. The race could still be tight, as the Vikings are full of talent but the Packers still have one of the best quarterbacks that ever played, but with a splendid offseason, Minnesota should be the early favorites to finish on top of the NFC North.