The lastest Sports Illustrated NFL preview has the Minnesota Vikings finishing 11-5 and taking the NFC North title away from the Chicago Bears. The predicted finish in the NFC North following the Vikings are the Packers at 10-6, Lions at 9-7, and surprising having the reigning division champs Bears finishing last at 7-9 who were 12-4 last season with their dominating defense. Sports Illustrated also predicted the #3 seeded Vikings to defeat the #6 seeded Packers in the Wild card game then losing to the #2 seeded New Orleans Saints in the Divisional round in getting revenge of the Minneapolis Miracle playoff game on January 2018. The Bears and the Vikings have the hardest schedules and the toughest road to the Super Bowl according to CBS Sports. The Vikings have tough road trips to Dallas, Kansas City, Seattle and LA for a battle with the Chargers with also featuring 5 prime time games where Quarterback Kirk Cousins struggles in owning a 5-13 record in those games. The Vikings open the season September 8 at home vs the Atlanta Falcons.