Another Analyst Says ‘Nope’ to 2023 Vikings

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About two weeks ago, Fox Sports‘ Carmen Vitali picked the Minnesota Vikings to finish in last place inside the NFC North, a year removed from winning the division with a 13-4 record.

Another Analyst Says ‘Nope’ to 2023 Vikings

Last weekend, CBS Sports‘ Will Brinson followed suit, not quite in last place, but with an underwhelming 8-9 projection and playoff absence. Both Vitali and Brinson picked the Detroit Lions to win the NFC North. What a time to be alive.

Fast forward to Wednesday, and Pro Football Focus‘ Trevor Sikkema adhered to the Vitali and Brinson mindsets, choosing Minnesota to wholly miss the postseason because — you guessed it — the Lions are better.

Another Analyst Says
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In a video featured on, Sikkema said nope to Minnesota in the playoffs back-to-back years and explained, “I mentioned that I think Detroit — they’re the favorites in that division. When you look at Minnesota, I just don’t know if they have the offensive power this year, with this roster, to make up for a struggling secondary.”

The Vikings 2022 defense was all over the board defensively, ranking 16th per EPA/Play — a decent ranking — 27th per DVOA, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed. The Ed Donatell-led group often flexed with games on the line and allowed Kirk Cousins’ game-winning drives to mean something, unlike such failures on defense in 2020 and 2021.

The School to Watch
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But that late-game sometimes-mastery by the Vikings defense wasn’t enough to grant Donatell a second year in Minnesota, as head coach Kevin O’Connell parted ways with him four days after the NFC Wildcard Round, where the Vikings lost at home to the Giants, thanks to can’t-stop-Dan-Jones defense.

Sikkema mentioned the new defense, “I’ve got concerns with that cornerback room. Sure, I know Akayleb Evans and Andrew Booth Jr. — those are guys that you like. They brought in Byron Murphy, but is it enough? The Vikings are going to get in a lot of shootouts this upcoming year. No Za’Darius Smith. No Eric Kendricks as well.”

Minnesota Jumped
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Smith joined the Cleveland Browns via trade, and Kendricks was released as a cap casualty, finding a home with the Los Angeles Chargers. Patrick Peterson also vamoosed for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Dalvin Tomlinson became a Brown, too, and upstart CB Duke Shelley traveled westerly to the Las Vegas Raiders. Changes galore.

“I just don’t know if they have the firepower to keep up with what their defense might be allowing this year,” Sikkema concluded.

The predictions from Vitali, Brinson, and now Sikkema are suddenly commonplace — and mirror oddsmakers’ forecasts for the Vikings. Minnesota has an over-under of 8.5 wins, a total that would likely prevent another playoff berth.

At this time last year, Minnesota was also scheduled for 8.5 wins per sportsbooks. They later won 13.

The Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium in 108 days to start the regular season.

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