What You Expect is here to bring you the off-season outlook for the Minnesota Vikings. Let’s take a look at the season as well as what is needed to have a successful offseason.
The Minnesota Vikings had their 9th best season, finishing 13-4. This was the team’s second-best regular season finish since the turn of the century. Even though they have had a stellar record, they were never seen as a threat. In the same elk as the 2020 Steelers with a beat-up Big Ben who went 12-4. In the home stretch nearing the playoffs, the Vikings began to show holes in their game. This was obvious when the team traveled to Green Bay to play the dysfunctional Packers. In that game, the Vikings were outclassed and outmatched by the Packers, they lost that game 41-17. Throughout the season the Vikings were winning a lot but did not look convincing. Even with a stellar record, teams and media pundits did not view the Vikings in the same light as they viewed Hurts and the Eagles who just finished a game ahead of the Vikings at 14-3.
The issue with the Vikings during the season is that winning games depends on how far your quarterback can take you. We see that in the case of not just the Vikings, but the Cowboys. In the words of Shannon Sharpe, Kirk Cousins, the starting quarterback of the Vikings is JAG. Just Another Guy. Yes, he can put up numbers, but he also can be a turnover machine. Kirk Cousins was ranked fourth in interceptions during the season. He tossed the ball 14 times to the other team. The Vikings also had one of the least feared defenses in the league, with one of the lowest Blitz ratings in the league. Even with a superstar receiver like Justin Jefferson on the roster, the Vikings were seen as a lion with no bite. Again, the team can only go as far as the Quarterback can take you.
The Vikings matched up with the surprise playoff entrance team, The New York Giants. Daniel “Danny Dimes” Jones vs Kirk “2 Chainz” Cousins. In an upset that few people outside the tri-state area saw coming, the New York Giants comfortably ended the Vikings’ playoff berth on Wild Card Weekend. There was a lot of blame to go around, from the coach to the defense. New York had nearly 100 more total yards than the Vikings. New York went 7/13 on third down, while Minnesota went a measly 4/10. The Vikings Defense gave up 142 rushing yards has the New York Defense shut down the run game for the Vikings, only allowing 61 rushing yards.
What’s Next this Offseason
Kevin O’Connell is not a bad coach, he does a good job with what he has on hand. He led the Vikings to one of their best seasons. He has helped Kirk put up numbers that we haven’t seen him do before. The Vikings have an above-average coach who can help them win games. Their offense even though led by Kirk Cousins can win games. The issue that they most face is their defense. The team released their Defensive Coordinator Ed Donatel who only served as DC for one year before he was let go. The number one target for the Vikings to fill that role should be Brian Flores, who helped Miami fixed the same problem of being a bad defensive team.
The Vikings also need a Wide Receiver that can help Justin Jefferson shoulder some of the load. The two current receivers that he runs with are about to be free agents, the Vikings can test the market to get JJ a true 1b. The Vikings will also have other holes to fill as in addition to two wide receivers being free agents, they may lose their Oline and Linebackers to the free agency market. Then they have the Elephant in the room, should they move on from Kirk Cousins? This is one of the burning questions the Vikings’ front office must confront this off-season. Can they trust Kirk to carry them to the promised land or even a deep playoff run? WYE the Vikings to do this off-season?