The Vikings had just one season with an impressive 13–4 record, despite being a rookie head coach. Kevin O’Connell and his team won because of a great new culture built around positivity, and they communicated clutch genes.
Minnesota managed to win all 11 one-score games in the regular season, an outstanding feat that would not be repeated. However, extreme attention was paid to what the new head coach said positional ownerPlaying in the clutch was key for him, and it paid off. The team is not just great in the clutch.
Analyst Claims Vikings Are Best in Business – In 1 Area
The strength of the Vikings is undoubtedly the offense. Justin Jefferson is a record breaking receiver and still getting better. The connection between him and his QB Kirk Cousins is special. Cousins has shown unprecedented resilience. He’s getting hit regularly, in fact, more than any other QB in the league, and is still throwing right.
Their offensive tackles, Christian Derisau and Brian O’Neal, are arguably the best pairing in the league, and they have several dangerous weapons. When Jefferson is covered, so are TJ Hockenson, KJ Osborne and new addition, Jordan Addison.
The defensive unit was a disaster in 2022, but the Vikings took action and replaced defensive coordinator Ed Dontel after just one season with the club. Former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores took over. They have some personnel questions, as the entire cornerback group is gone, such as defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and linebacker Eric Kendrick. Some youngsters must step up for a potential defensive shift to work. However, one status group is the elite.
ESPN analyst Mike Clay ranked all forward groups in the league, and surprisingly, the Vikes ranked first.
Many analysts around the NFL praised the inclusion of Marcus Davenport. He is a disruptive player. Fans questioned the move, as Davenport only recorded half a sack in 2022, but sack numbers don’t always tell the whole story, as he evaded several QB pressures and couldn’t get home because the passer got rid of the ball. took. Zedarius Smith had similar problems in the second half of the season. He was still spectacular but could not match the sack numbers from the start of the campaign.
Furthermore, Davenport is an excellent run defender, which is more in common with his new teammate, Danielle Hunter. Hunter’s future with the organization remains a mystery. He is entering the final year of his contract and is set to make just $5.5 million in salary, a ridiculous number for a player of his caliber. Expect contract news to break soon. If they can’t find common ground, the front office should get involved in trade talks, but that will complicate the Cap position.
A similar situation surrounds Smith. The 2022 free-agent addition is underpaid and wants more money, so he requested a trade earlier in the offseason. He will earn $12.5 million in 2023. Because some of his money has already been booked in March, Smith will not be released. The team would either keep him with the Rays or without him or trade him away.
If all three stick together, an argument could be made that they are truly the best sideline group in the league. The funny thing is that they can co-exist even though there are only two of them on the field at most. Teams like the Eagles have multiple players that they can rotate to keep players fresh. The Vikings often relieved Hunter or Smith last season. Davenport could now come in place of DJ Wonam and Patrick Jones. Both are good backups, but they can’t match Davenport’s level of play.
Hunter recorded 906 snaps, Smith 771, and the pairing of Jones and Wonnam recorded 868 total plays. The new twist can be scary. Davenport is also a great edge defender. He can score a few runs inside to let all three go to the ground together. That’s also a specialty of Smith, who can intimidate guards.
The aforementioned Jones and Wonnam will be called upon to play up their big snap totals if one of the top players is gone before the season opener in September or in case of injury. He has shown fire in the nearby crowd. His problem is run stop. Earning more playing time should be his primary focus.
The advantage of having a strong pass rush is that it helps break out the secondary in the passing game, as the QB has to get off the ball quickly. This is important for the 2023 Vikings and their shaky cornerback group. One of the young guys Akyleb Evans, Andrew Booth, and rookie Mekhi Blackmon will be a starting CB barring any windfall acquisitions. It’s certainly comforting to know that the struggling Vikings defense is good at something. Flores can be creative in the face of that kind of disruption.
Janik Ekardt is a football fan who loves numbers and statistics. The Vikings became his favorite team, despite the quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and classic rock is his musical genre of choice. If you like Vikings, follow them on Twitter: @JanikEckardt