Vikings Labeled ‘Mid’

NFL Analyst on Kirk Cousins in Comeback: "He Didn't Do That Much."
Kirk Cousins

According to sportsbooks, the Minnesota Vikings are forecasted to win eight or nine games in 2023, and the general opinion from league pundits isn’t too far off the 8.5-win Vegas projection.

Vikings Labeled ‘Mid’

So, of course, cute adjectives are required to define the team, and for Pro Football Focus this week, the word is mid.

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell (left) and wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) before an NFL International Series game against the New Orleans Saints at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Last year, the Vikings were considered mid, too, but later won 13 games, the NFC North for the first time since 2017, and lost at home to the New York Giants in the postseason’s Wildcard round. Those who perceived the Vikings as mid rejoiced at the latter. Their prediction was redeemed.

And fast forward one year, we’re doing it all over again, pegging the Vikings with the exact same forecast heading in 2023 that followed the team in May and June of 2022. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Justin Jefferson's Magic Number
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass for a touchdown against Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson (30) during the first half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF’s Ben Brown projected the 2023 Vikings for 8.3 wins and explained, “No team epitomizes the definition of ‘mid’ like the Vikings. No one knows if they are actually rebuilding, but all signs point to this being the final season for Kirk Cousins in purple, which seems destined for a disappointing end.”

The man is outwardly not enthused by Cousins’ sixth season in Minnesota, and the team’s quarterback appears to be the reason for the bland win total assessment. The Vikings were sandwiched between the Los Angeles Chargers (No. 14) and Cleveland Browns (No. 16) in what Brown called his ‘market-implied power rankings and ELO strength of schedule.’

1 Viking Significantly More
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) reacts after breaking up a pass against the New York Jets during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings added Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals), Dean Lowry (DT, Packers), Brandon Powell (WR, Rams), Troy Reeder (LB, Chargers), Joejuan Williams (CB, Patriots), and John Reid (CB, Falcons) this offseason as veteran newcomers. Jordan Addison headlined the 2023 NFL Draft as a new wide receiver to pair with Offensive Player of the Year, Justin Jefferson.

Cameron Dantzler (CB, Free Agency), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), Irv Smith (TE, Bengals), Kris Boyd (CB, Cardinals), Chandon Sullivan (CB, Steelers), and Za’Darius Smith (OLB, Browns — Trade) ventured elsewhere.

Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebackers Danielle Hunter (99) and Za’Darius Smith (55) warm up during training camp at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

We shall see if that offseason formula is closer to the Vikings 13-4 season in 2022 or the Brown mid description.

The Vikings finish OTAs in the next couple of weeks before mandatory minicamp on June 13th.

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).

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