Former NFL QB Has More Optimistic Take than Most for 2023 Vikings

Oct. 15, 2006; Irving, TX USA; Houston Texans quarterback (8) David Carr is pressured as he throws by Dallas Cowboys safety (29) Keith Davis during the first quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports(c) Copyright 2006 Tim Heitman.

Spend five to ten minutes googling the 2023 forecast for the Minnesota Vikings, and you’ll find a mediocrity sandwich topped with greasy adjectives like ‘confusing’ and ‘middling.’

Former NFL QB Has More Optimistic Take than Most for 2023 Vikings

Most NFL experts assume the Vikings will regress after a 13-4 season in 2022. Indeed, first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell transformed Minnesota in one year from an 8-9 club to a division winner, but pundits believe the achievement was mostly a mirage.

Instead, the Detroit Lions have taken on the role of the NFC North’s darling, and the vast majority of talking heads surmise it’s Detroit’s division to lose. We shall see.

But one man who still has robust hope for the 2023 Vikings used to play quarterback in the league — David Carr.

Has More Optimistic Take
Sep 26, 2004; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Texans quarterback #8 David Carr changes the play call against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. The Texans won the game 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Craig Melvin-USA TODAY Sports (c) 2004 by Craig Melvin.

Carr, the brother of current NFLer and New Orleans Saints QB1 Derek Carr, certainly doesn’t have the Vikings pegged for a Super Bowl trophy in seven months or anything of the sort. Yet, he does believe Minnesota is a 10-win team and, by implication, a playoff contender. Carr joined NFL Network‘s Total Access last week and scoffed at analyst Adam Rank’s notion that the Vikings would only win eight games.

“When you look at it, there’s no way that this team [wins only 8 games] — unless defensively, they just buckle, that’s going to be the biggest thing. I understand Adam’s point with the one-score games, that was something, but Kirk Cousins is still your quarterback. You’ve added Jordan Addison. You have some good components on the offensive side of the ball.”

Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands the ball off to running back Alexander Mattison (2) against the Arizona Cardinals in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Carr, 43, spent 10 years in the NFL, mainly with the Houston Texans, and was the first overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. He also won a Super Bowl as a reservist member of the New York Giants in 2011.

“I don’t know, I understand anything can happen, but for me, I just don’t see this as an 8-win team. This is a ten-win team,” Carr added about the Vikings win prognosis.

Opens up about Jefferson
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Carr mentioned the possibility of the Vikings succumbing to a buckle on defense, which is a fair hesitation about the team. But the team buckled last year on defense, ranking 27th in defensive DVOA, 30th in points allowed, and 31st in yards allowed.

The Vikings won the NFC North anyway.

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Minnesota will benefit substantially if new defensive coordinator Brian Flores can whisk the defense to the middle of the road or better, rest assured. Yet, the franchise already proved last year that it could win 13 games with crummy defense.

Based on the roster talent — especially on offense — the only item that could assuredly derail the Vikings in 2023 or cause them to miss the postseason is an injury to Kirk Cousins. Minnesota already showed last year that O’Connell can handle 10+ wins.

Therefore, Carr’s 10-win prognostication is sensible. The Vikings won’t go undefeated in every single one-score game two years in a row, but they’re better than a meh 8-9 group.

Vikings training camp kicks off in 15 days.

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