Minnesota Vikings (0-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-0)
The Vikings were one of my underrated teams coming into the season, as they won 7 games last season despite a horrendous defense, which should be significantly better in 2021, with Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce, Anthony Barr, and Eric Kendricks returning from significant absences and veterans Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, Dalvin Tomlinson, Sheldon Richardson, and Everson Griffen give them a needed infusion of talent. The Vikings had one of the most efficient offenses in the league a year ago and should be one of the better offenses again in 2021, so if their defense can be a complementary unit, they should win a significant amount of games.
Unfortunately, we’re not getting good line value with the Vikings to start the season, as they will be without linebacker Anthony Barr due to an unrelated injury to the one that cost him most of last season, as well as left tackle Christian Darrisaw, their first round pick and a replacement for their most significant offensive loss this off-season, Riley Reiff. This is still a solid team, but the Bengals aren’t going to be that bad this season, so it’s a lot to expect the Vikings to go into Cincinnati and win by more than a field goal. I’m still taking them for pick ‘em purposes, but this is a no confidence pick.
Minnesota Vikings 24 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Pick against the spread: Minnesota -3