Even with questions at quarterback, Vikings still in the mix for 2019 Super Bowl

Much of Minnesota's success next season will hinge on their decision at quarterback. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

Here’s a look at the Super Bowl prospects of the Minnesota Vikings, who went 13-3 in 2017 and ended their season in the NFC Championship game. The tiers consist of: Realistic Super Bowl expectations; Should contend, but there are question marks; Middle of the pack; Lots of work to do; and Nowhere close.

Westgate odds to win Super Bowl LIII: 12-1

Should contend, but there are question marks: The Vikings' improbable run ended one game shy of their ultimate goal, but Vegas expects Minnesota to have another great season in 2018 with the fourth-best odds to win Super Bowl LIII, which is tied with NFC North rival Green Bay. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers and the franchise heading in a new direction after firing both coordinators and its general manager, the Packers have every chance to reload this offseason, recover from an injury-ridden 2017, and make the Vikings quest for back-to-back division titles a brutal test. Outside of current Super Bowl champion Philadelphia (6-1), Minnesota and Green Bay have the second-highest odds of any NFC team to win the big game.

So much of whether the Vikings will contend for a title is tied to the decisions the franchise makes in the coming months, starting at quarterback. With free agency on deck and Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford all set to become free agents, the Vikings need to decide whether they want to keep one or even two of their current quarterbacks or pay a pretty penny elsewhere for the likes of Kirk Cousins or Nick Foles. Minnesota strives to keep the continuity on offense it had this season, and that starts with finding an offensive coordinator who will have a say in determining which quarterback fits best into his system. It’s the “dream scenario,” according to owner Mark Wilf, for Minnesota to find a long-term option at the position so it won’t have to reload every few years and be able build its status as a consistent playoff contender.

With the majority of its key pieces in place across the board on both sides of the ball, including the return of running back Dalvin Cook, Minnesota isn’t expected to experience too much of a drop-off in 2018, but its schedule doesn’t offer any favors. The Vikings could very easily open the season at Philadelphia, where they lost the NFC title game, and will also play the Rams, Seahawks and Patriots on the road. Minnesota is fortunate to enter 2018 coming off a season where it boasted the league’s No. 1 defense, but the path towards duplicating the success it had in 2017 will only become more difficult.