Prior to Teddy Bridgewater’s injury, the Minnesota Vikings were considered to be one of the top contenders in the NFC. Now that the quarterback is done for the season, the defending NFC North champions have a much tougher road ahead of them to reach Super Bowl LI.
Minnesota had 20/1 Super Bowl odds at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, following their 23-10 win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 3 of the preseason. Heading into their fourth and final preseason game, the Vikings’ betting odds to win the title have moved to 30/1 at Las Vegas’ largest sportsbook.
The Seattle Seahawks are the clear favorites in the NFC, followed by the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Carolina Panthers. Coming off an 11-5 season, Minnesota was projected to compete with those teams. They nearly defeated the Seahawks in the first round of last year’s playoffs, only failing to do so because kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal in the final seconds, and the Vikings finished ahead of the highly touted Packers to win the division.
Aside from the lofty expectations that were placed on the Vikings this offseason, Minnesota has looked as good as any team this preseason. They’ve gone undefeated against the Bengals, Seahawks and Chargers, and Bridgewater appeared to be making major strides. He had a perfect passer rating in Minnesota’s first exhibition games, going a combined 18-of-23 for 253 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions through Week 3.
But even with career backup Shaun Hill taking over as Minnesota’s starter, the Vikings aren’t considered to be completely out of contention. The Vikings rely largely on the running game led by Adrian Peterson and an elite defense to win games. As Minnesota won 11 games in 2015, Bridgewater only threw for 14 touchdowns and the Vikings attempted fewer passes than any team in the NFL.
The Panthers reached last year’s Super Bowl, despite entering the season with 50/1 championship odds. The Broncos won the title with signal callers Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, who combined to give Denver one of the worst quarterback situations in the NFL.
Along with their odds to win the Super Bowl, Minnesota’s odds to win their season opener have also dropped. The Vikings were 3.5-point favorites in their Week 1 visit to Tennessee, but the betting line shifted to a pick’em in less than 24 hours.