Everyone is talking about the Vikings’ defense

Vikings Territory Breakdown

Everyone talks about the Vikings’ defense. It ranked near the bottom last season, so any improvement the team makes on its 13-4 record with a first-round playoff exit is dependent upon the defense becoming much better in 2023. We all know that. The coaches know that. The fans demand it. But that improvement makes one big assumption: that the offense will take another step forward, or at the very least, remain as productive. We should all know by now that nothing is given in the NFL from season to season.

The Vikings are returning a number of their big-time offensive performers. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson will be looking for more targets, catches and touchdowns (and more money in his paycheck) this season; T.J. Hockenson will get a full offseason with the team, so the future is bright there; and, currently, running back Dalvin Cook remains on the roster—but that may only be for a short time longer.

They also added a first-round wideout in Jordan Addison, but the offensive line—which was better last season—has not received any starting-caliber additions and has RT Brian O’Neill and G/C Austin Schlottmann returning from the injured reserve from last season. That doesn’t necessarily scream improvement.

The Vikings need to take another step forward on offense (or maybe two). Quarterback Kirk Cousins is on a prove-it final season of his contract and appears ready for the challenge. But will Alexander Mattison be the man at RB? Will Jefferson maintain his status as one of the league’s elite (if not the top) wideouts (and will his new contract break the bank)? And will another season together help this young oline move to the next level? These questions and more will be asked by Joe Oberle, senior writer for vikingsterritory and purplePTSD, and answered by Mark Craig, Vikings writer and NFL Insider for the Star Tribune and startribune.com on this week’s Vikings Territory Breakdown podcast. Tune in and check it out.

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