Revisiting our subpar preseason predictions
There isn't much we got right back in early September
By Sam Ekstrom
The NFL season never plays out how you expect, and with that in mind, it is equal parts humbling and hilarious to revisit our preseason prognostications to remember our headspace in early September.
Admittedly, Matthew and I threw some darts that had little chance of landing, but nonetheless, some of these predictions should be fired into the sun. But since we are accountable here at Purple Insider, we will fall on the sword for the bad predictions. Feel free to have a chuckle at our expense.
SAM’S PREDICTIONS (3-7)
Rashod Hill will last the entire year at left tackle
Wrong. Hill started only five games and was one of the lowest-graded tackles in the NFL. His poor play forced the Vikings’ hand to accelerate Christian Darrisaw, who ended up being the No. 4 rookie tackle, according to Pro Football Focus. It was surprising to see Hill play as badly as he did, to the point where the Vikings preferred Blake Brandel as an extra offensive lineman and started Oli Udoh over him in a pinch in Weeks 13-14.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette makes 10+ catches as a receiver
Probably wrong. The fifth-round rookie would need eight catches against the Bears to make this come true, which almost certainly won’t happen with the Vikings playing their starters. K.J. Osborn’s emergence kept Smith-Marsette down the depth chart, and Dede Westbrook got snaps above him as well. Smith-Marsette did cash in his first career touchdown at Chicago in Week 15.
Chris Herndon will outgain Tyler Conklin
So, so wrong. A comically bad prediction in retrospect. Chris Herndon’s reception count (4) barely exceeded his penalty count (2), while Tyler Conklin put together a massive season that will probably get him paid a boatload of money next spring. His 587 yards are 12th amongst tight ends. Herndon’s 40 yards put him in a tie for 84th.
Kene Nwangwu gets used more than Mike Boone did
Barely true. An injury early on kept Nwangwu on the sideline, but his 16 touches in the offense exceeded Boone’s 13 the year before. Toss in his special teams impact on kickoff return, and Nwangwu was clearly more prominent.
Everson Griffen finishes second on the team in sacks
Barely false. This was a good prediction that got foiled because of Griffen’s off-field issues that surfaced in November and effectively ended his season. Griffen is presently tied for third in sacks with five, and he might’ve even stayed in a second-place tie had D.J. Wonnum not gotten three sacks against Justin Fields and the Bears. It was clear Griffen was the team’s second-best edge rusher as he and Hunter looked like their vintage selves in the first half of the season.