Minnesota Vikings ready to make raid for Super Bowl glory
Philadelphia weakened by loss of quarterback Carson Wentz
None of the 51 Super Bowls has featured a team playing in their own stadium, let alone winning, but Minnesota have a great chance to make NFL history.
The Vikings’ state-of-the-art US Bank Stadium is just 18 months old but their team have emerged as serious contenders to go one better than their four Super Bowl defeats between 1969-76.
Mike Zimmer’s team are the second seeds in the NFC after an impressive 13-3 campaign which saw them win 12 of their last 13 games after the early upset of losing starting quarterback Sam Bradford and star rookie Dalvin Cook to injuries.
Case Keenum has proved a safe pair of hands, finding breakout star Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs with regularity, while running backs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon offer a varied threat on the ground.
But the strength of the Vikings is their defence, and the secondary in particular which features first-round cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes with top safety Harrison Smith behind them.
NFC top seeds Philadelphia are weakened by the loss of quarterback Carson Wentz and the Vikings could be at home throughout the playoffs if the Eagles lose in the divisional round.
Top two New England and Pittsburgh remain the powerhouses in the AFC but both have defences that have gone through rough patches this season – the Steelers more recently – and while Buffalo and Tennessee look the weak links in the AFC, Kansas City and Jacksonville could be capable of a last-eight upset – the Chiefs won at New England in Week One.
Ian Wilkerson’s three outright tips are still going strong but anyone who needs to add to their portfolio should look to the Vikings.
2pts 9-2 general
Already advised by Ian Wilkerson on September 7
3pts 4-1 general
1pt e-w 16-1 general
1pt e-w 40-1 Betfair, BoyleSports
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