Analyst Is a Fan of the Vikings Offense

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The strength of the Minnesota Vikings is clearly the offense led by head coach Kevin O’Connell and his quarterback Kirk Cousins. Having weapons is a significant part of producing at a high level, and the Vikings employ the best receiver in the game. Justin Jefferson has been outstanding ever since he joined the organization in 2020. He shares the field with T.J. Hockenson, K.J. Osborn, and rookie Jordan Addison.

Analyst Is a Fan of the Vikings Offense

Analyst Is a Fan of the Vikings' Offense
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Those weapons are obviously a huge part of the passing attack. Cousins has been producing his annual floor of 25 touchdowns for eight consecutive seasons and has shown no signs of slowing down, going to his fourth Pro Bowl after the 2022 season. A couple of departures of longtime players of the franchise – Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook – are the most significant changes to the offensive side of the ball in Minnesota that should be more productive in 2023 as the players are more comfortable with the system.

NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks has high expectations for the offense in the second year under coach O’Connell. Gabe Henderson asked him what stood out during his visit to this year’s training camp in Minnesota:

Just how explosive this offense can be. And I know you lose Adam Thielen but when you think about Justin Jefferson being the centerpiece of an offense that is going to throw the ball all over the yard. We’re seeing Kevin O’Connell putting his designs in the passing game and so how creative can O’Connell get in moving Jefferson around to ensure he always has a bunch of targets? Because when he gets targets, he gets touches, he puts up yards and touchdowns. He’s one of the best we’ve seen. Really excited about how this offense continues to evolve.

Bucky Brooks

Thielen’s departure hurts more to fans of the team because of the sentimental value than on the field. While his contributions to the Vikings were fantastic for years, he visually slowed down in 2022. His last season with at least 1,000 yards came in 2018, and he turned into a red zone threat more than someone who is a big piece of an offense.

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The reasons for that are his age and his role with the Vikings. Jefferson became increasingly the focus of the offense, and the arrival of Hockenson further diminished his role. The Vikings might miss his leadership in the locker room, but if Addison is as good as advertised, they will be fine on the field.

Cook’s release has also made big waves. He still produced at a Pro Bowl level, and his big play ability is still on an elite level. Nevertheless, his advanced statistics tell a different story. He was near the bottom in yards over expected, led the league in rushes for no gain, and lacked the consistency that made him once great. Alexander Mattison will try to replace him. He is perhaps a downgrade, but the offense heavily features the pass game anyway.

An interesting change to the offense is also the addition of Josh Oliver and the statements about C.J. Ham, suggesting a higher usage of heavier personnel which should help the running game but lowers the usage of having three wideouts on the field at the same time.

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Similar to the 2022 season, the offense will play a significant role in how far the Vikings can go in the upcoming season, as the defense is still a shaky unit despite Brian Flores’ providing a spark. Danielle Hunter’s return will certainly help the unit.

Brooks has high expectations for the 2023 Vikings: “Once you win, you have a level of confidence. Now Kecvin O’Connell has to take the young guys and get them going. But I think this team is gonna fare well in the NFC North.”

The Detroit Lions are viewed as the front runners in the division despite Minnesota’s 13 wins in 2022. It will be on the offense and a potentially slightly improved defense to defend the north.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt