The Vikings Alleged Biggest Weakness

Predicts Unpleasant Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings are forecasted to finish in second place or so inside the NFC North this season, strangely playing second fiddle to the scrappy Detroit Lions.

Detroit is the odds-on favorite to topple the Vikings in the division, despite Minnesota’s nifty 13-4 season in 2022 under first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell.

The Vikings Alleged Biggest Weakness

For the Lions to effectuate their first division crown in 30 years, the Vikings must do something poorly, and Pro Football Focus believes that will be pass coverage.

The Vikings Alleged
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PFF identified every NFL team’s primary strength and weakness this week, and for the Vikings, the passing game — on offense — will put butts in seats this season while the passing defense is evidently vulnerable.

On the whole, the Vikings defense performed poorly in 2022, ranking 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. Accordingly, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell was fired shortly after the Vikings season prematurely ended at the feet of the New York Giants. Brian Flores, a linebackers coach from the Pittsburgh Steelers, was hired as Donatell’s successor in February.

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Tabbing the Vikings pass coverage as a symptom of possible malarkey, PFF‘s Dalton Wasserman and Jim Wyman wrote, “The Vikings allowed the second-most passing yards in the NFL last season. Patrick Peterson and Duke Shelley were the only players on the team to play at least 200 coverage snaps and earn at least a 70.0 coverage grade.”

These are the Vikings cornerbacks as of May 13th:

  • CB1: Byron Murphy
  • CB2: Andrew Booth
  • CB3: Akayleb Evans
  • CB4: Joejuan Williams
  • CB5: Mekhi Blackmon
  • CB6: Tay Gowan
  • CB7: Kalon Barnes
  • CB8: John Reid
  • CB9: C.J. Coldon
  • CB10: NaJee Thompson
  • CB11: Jaylin Williams

“The Vikings’ deficiencies in coverage were eventually their undoing, as Daniel Jones played a terrific game against them in the playoffs. Minnesota has a ton of work to do to fix this unit, since the aforementioned Peterson and Shelley have since departed,” Wasserman and Wyman concluded.

Vikings Really Dropped
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Significant portions of the summer for the Vikings will involve determining the ‘other’ starting cornerbacks. Murphy, a free-agent newcomer, is a shoo-in to start, but after that, it’s a free-for-all between Booth, Evans, Blackmon, Williams, and perhaps Gowan.

Thankfully for Minnesota’s sake, Flores has a documented history of turning defenses around, especially as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. For now, it seems general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is asking Flores to ‘do more with less’ after the departures of Eric Kendricks, Dalvin Tomlinson, Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, and on Friday night, EDGE rusher Za’Darius Smith.

The Vikings host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1, a meaty test for a ho-hum pass-coverage unit, as Todd Bowles’ team showcases wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

Vegas oddsmakers believe Minnesota will win about eight or nine games this 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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by