I hate predictions. I really do. We're asked to make predictions, and the accuracy of those predictions will depend not only on whatever we think, but what happens after we thjnk it. Injuries, weather, luck, any of these factors can alter a season.

That's my disclaimer. Here's my pick:

The Vikings will go 11-5 this season.

4I think this team is better on paper than last year's. I also think the schedule is tougher and the offensive line is once again vulnerable.

I'll take 11-5 as a median pick. If injuries hit the offensive line, this could be another disappointing 8-8 season. If the line is healthy and functional, this could be another 13-3 team.

I do believe that this team, with decent health, will be a better playoff team than last year's.

I also think the NFC is brutally difficult.

Today's pick:

Vikings 25, 49ers 16. I think the Vikings' defense will take advantage of a loud home field environment and frustrate a very good young quarterback.

Check out the newspaper today for blanket coverage from our team, and check out startribune.com all day for live coverage.

You can find my podcasts on the Vikings and other topics at TalkNorth.com