Vikings ‘Offseason Grade’ Less than Stellar

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Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah talks with head coach Kevin O’Connell prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings conducted 38 roster moves this offseason, drafting six new rookies, watching nine 2022 players join other teams, onboarding eight newcomer free agents, and signing 15 undrafted free agents.

For their troubles, the NFL body politic largely said meh about the team’s offseason.

Vikings ‘Offseason Grade’ Less than Stellar

CBS Sports released ‘offseason grades’ for each team now that the NFL draft is one week removed. And according to CBS Sports‘ Cody Benjamin, Minnesota received a ‘C.’

Less than
Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Thirteen teams in total were awarded the same grade, a C. Benjamin explained the mark for the Vikings, “At one point it felt like GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah had something grand up his sleeve. Or maybe that was just the hope, considering their offseason has been more about shedding aging favorites (WR Adam Thielen, LB Eric Kendricks, etc.) than building off Kevin O’Connell’s debut.”

Minnesota finished 13-4 in 2022 with first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell, a sizable surprise because most sportsbooks pegged the club for eight or nine wins when the regular season began.

Don’t Expect a Gimme as Vikings Host Da Bears
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell reacts to a call late during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

“TE Josh Oliver is a curious $7M annual investment as a backup to T.J. Hockenson. But the low-risk, high-reward bets on DE Marcus Davenport and CB Byron Murphy at least give the ‘D’ fresher legs. And rookie WR Jordan Addison is an intriguing addition opposite Justin Jefferson,” Benjamin concluded.

Teetering on a “D” grade, per Benjamin, is quite heinous, but folks will determine in September and October if the offseason was indeed underwhelming. To date, Adofo-Mensah has added these veterans from free agency:

  • Josh Oliver, TE — (BAL)
  • Marcus Davenport, EDGE — (NO)
  • Byron Murphy, CB — (ARI)
  • Dean Lowry, DT — (GB)
  • Brandon Powell, WR — (LAR)
  • Troy Reeder, LB — (LAC)
  • Joejuan Williams, CB — (NE)
  • John Reid, CB — (ATL)

These players left:

  • Eric Kendricks, ILB — Joined Chargers
  • Adam Thielen, WR — Joined Panthers.
  • Cameron Dantzler, CB — Joined Commanders. (Was waived by MIN)
  • Patrick Peterson, CB — Joined Steelers.
  • Dalvin Tomlinson, DT — Joined Browns.
  • Duke Shelley, CB — Joined Raiders.
  • Irv Smith, TE — Joined Bengals.
  • Kris Boyd, CB — Joined Cardinals.
  • Chandon Sullivan, CB — Joined Steelers
Face 4 Guys
Aug 1, 2016; Mankato, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) walks to the afternoon session of training camp at Minnesota State University. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And these men arrived from the draft:

  • R1: Jordan Addison (WR, USC)
  • R3: Mekhi Blackmon (CB, USC)
  • R4: Jay Ward (S, LSU)
  • R5: Jaquelin Roy (DT, LSU)
  • R5: Jaren Hall (QB, BYU)
  • R7: DeWayne McBride (RB, UAB)

Oddsmakers believe Minnesota will win 8.5 games in 2023, slated for a second-place division finish in O’Connell’s second campaign. The Detroit Lions are the favorite to take the NFC North — for the first time since 1993.

Benjamin handed out eight ‘A’ grades — to the Lions, Jets, Panthers, Bears, Eagles, Steelers, Broncos, and Giants.

Next up for the Vikings? The NFL’s schedule release this Thursday.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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