Have the Vikings Done Enough to Be Competitive?

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O'Connell
Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell: Picture Via: Star Tribune.

It is the beginning of April, and the first round of free agency is over. NFL teams, including the Vikings, are now preparing for the NFL Draft. There are Pro Days still to come, but it is time to ask the question. Have the Vikings done enough in free agency to be competitive in 2022?

In the way too early power rankings, the Vikings are listed as the 8th best team in the NFC. This feels right considering the moves the Vikings and other teams have made. Specifically looking at the NFC North, the Vikings will likely be the second-best team in the division.

Of course, we hope to win the division. But as long as Aaron Rodgers is wearing a Packers jersey, they are the team to beat. Meanwhile, the Bears have let some key pieces move on, and the Lions are the Lions.

The Vikings will need to hope for Hunter and Smith to stay healthy all year if they want a shot at the division.

Coaching Staff and Front Office

Let’s begin with the coaching staff and front office. Obviously, this is a huge transition year as the Vikings will look to implement a new philosophy for the first time in 8 years. Both Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell are rookies in their new positions.

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell

However, this could bring fresh ideas to a team desperate for a reset. While it remains to be seen how they perform as the season begins, there are some encouraging signs. KAM has been calculated in his moves to improve the defense and offensive line. O’Connell has discussed being multiple and building an offense that brings out the best in Cousins.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side of the ball, a new scheme will be implemented by Ed Donatell. His scheme will feature a 3-4 look primarily and demand his cornerbacks to cover in 1 v 1 matchups. Donatell also discussed being multiple on his fronts to keep opponents off balance.

The Offense Is Basically the Same

The new coaching staff and front office came into a building with a decent offense. The Vikings didn’t have their best year offensively, but you could contribute this more to poor play calling than execution. Although Kirk Cousins had his “Kurt” moments, the offense played reasonably well.

When looking at the skill positions, there was really no work that needed to be done. That group is capable of competing with any defense in the league. The real crux is the offensive line.

The offensive line ranked 23rd as a group, according to PFF. What was the main problem? The center and right guard. Thankfully, KAM has added a couple of guards who should at the very least be average starters. And honestly, that is all we need – an average offensive line.

Vikings Defensive Shake-Up

The defense has seen quite a few changes this offseason. Anthony Barr was replaced by Jordan Hicks, and Michael Pierce was replaced by Harrison Phillips. Although, the Vikings were able to keep a leader on the team by re-signing Patrick Peterson.

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) reacts in the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The significant addition was Za’Darius Smith. If he and Danielle Hunter stay healthy, they could be the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL. They would also take pressure off the cornerbacks by forcing the quarterback to get the ball out quicker.

However, outside of re-signing Patrick Peterson and a couple of other cornerbacks, they didn’t do much to improve that position group significantly. They should absolutely try to add to this group in the NFL Draft.

The big question: Are all of these moves enough to make the Vikings competitive?

In my honest opinion, No. I do not believe they have done enough to add to the secondary to truly compete for a title.

The offense, with this current roster, might need to put up 30 points per game just to get in the playoffs. I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. However, it still feels like there is a lot of work to do before we start calling the Vikings a true contender in the NFC.

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