Dustin Baker’s 2023 Vikings Predictions

Would the Vikings without
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The Minnesota Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next weekend to get the 2023 purple gala underway.

Dustin Baker’s 2023 Vikings Predictions

Kevin O’Connell’s team won the NFC North for the first time in five years last season, looking now to repeat as division champions for the first time since 2008-2009.

With the season beginning, these are five Vikings predictions for the 2023 season. Get your bookmarks out and Freezing Cold Takes links ready. And for accountability, these were last year’s Vikings predictions.

1. The Vikings Win a Game by 17+ Points for the First Time in 4 Years

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Do you remember the time former Vikings defender Ifeadi Odenigbo scored a defensive touchdown at the Los Angeles Chargers makeshift stadium? That was the final time Minnesota defeated an opponent by 17 or more points.

Minnesota will get off the blowout schneid finally in 2023 and nab a convincing victory.

It might even happen out of the gate against the Buccaneers.

2. Christian Darrisaw Finally Gets Pro Bowl Recognition

OL Ranking for 2023
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s time.

This is a no-brainer. Darrisaw was only deprived a Pro Bowl spot last year because of concussion issues. He probably still should’ve received the votes.

But 2023 is a new chapter for Darrisaw, entering Year Three and already one of the league’s most dominant linemen. Only Trent Williams outpaced the Virginia Tech alumnus per Pro Football Focus grading among OTs.

Alas, Darrisaw will get the Pro Bowl label.

3. Justin Jefferson Does Not Hit 2,000+ Receiving Yards

Vikings Offense Shines in Madden 24
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center during 2023 Mandatory Minicamp. Jefferson won the 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year award and enters Year 4 as a pro in 2023.

Folks, there are “too many” mouths to feed on offense. Opposing defensive coordinators already laid the seedlings for double-covering Jefferson, and they won’t stop until Jordan Addison makes them pay.

Kirk Cousins will spread the ball around to Jefferson, Addison, K.J. Osborn, T.J. Hockenson, and at times, Jalen Nailor. Jefferson doesn’t live in a pass-catching room with idiots. He’ll still dominate in WR1 fashion and dazzle your life, but he won’t quite hit the 2,000-yard barrier.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have expressly stated all offseason they want to run the football more this season. If they’re not lying, Jefferson’s receiving yards total could actually reduce in 2023.

4. The Defense Finishes between 12th and 18th per Points Allowed

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell introduced new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores from the TCO Performance Center on February 15th, 2023. Flores coached for the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, and Pittsburgh Steelers before joining the Vikings in 2023.

The Vikings don’t have the personnel oomph to climb all the way to a Top 10 defense. The cornerbacks, in particular, are suspect.

The new defense led by Brian Flores can assuredly improve, though, as anything better than the gruesome showing versus the New York Giants eight months ago will look and feel fresh.

Led by veterans Harrison Smith, Danielle Hunter, and Harrison Phillips, the youngsters on the Vikings defense do enough to whisk the group to respectability, finishing between 12th and 18th via points allowed.

5. The Vikings Finish 11-6

Refresher: The Vikings 2021 Offense by the Numbers
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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah parted ways with aging, expensive veterans in the last several months, and while those men’s experience and leadership will be missed, their hefty contracts will not mourned.

Minnesota needed to get faster on defense regardless of players’ contracts, and this just so happened to be the way to do it.

O’Connell’s offense hums in Year Two, the defense is improved, and the Vikings finish 11-6, stamping a ticket to the postseason in back-to-back years.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.