Vikings Division Evidently Not Too Scary

The Folks Picking the Bears over Vikings
Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass in the fourth quarter against Chicago Bears defensive back Eddie Jackson. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

While the Minnesota Vikings 2023 schedule might seem significantly more challenging on paper than the 2022 edition, the division and its combatants are not.

That’s the word from CBS Sports anyway, as the outfit ranked all NFL divisions Monday.

Vikings Division Evidently Not Too Scary

CBS Sports‘ Jeff Kerr called the NFC North the third-worst division of football, and if he’s wrong at all, it’s not by much.

Vikings Division Evidently
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff (16) huddles with teammates before a first down against Los Angeles Rams during the first half at the SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For starters, Kerr seemed reasonably high on the Detroit Lions, expecting the upstart club to win the NFC North for the first time in 30 years. He wrote, “The Detroit Lions are expected to be the top contenders for the division title after revamping their secondary and renovating their running back room with David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs. Marvin Jones is an underrated signing at wide receiver, especially with Jameson Williams suspended for six games.”

Detroit is the odds-on favorite to top the Vikings, Packers, and Bears and take home the North.

Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Kerr made his way to the Vikings, “What about the Minnesota Vikings? They did win the division last season, but they weren’t active in free agency (Josh Oliver was their biggest signing). Releasing Adam Thielen hurt the offense and Dalvin Cook’s future is uncertain. Rookie Jordan Addison should help out the wide receiver group.”

Inflection point: Oliver emphatically was not Minnesota’s biggest signing. That distinction belongs to cornerback Byron Murphy (CB) from the Arizona Cardinals or Marcus Davenport (OLB) of the New Orleans Saints. Oliver was the first but not the most significant.

Vikings TE Josh Oliver on March 16th, 2023, in Eagan, Minnesota. Oliver signed with the Vikings as a free agent from the Baltimore Ravens for three years and $21 million.

The only divisions considered poorer than the NFC North, according to Kerr, were the AFC South and NFC South. If one is invested in determining the strength of the divisions, the debate regarding the NFC North involves the NFC West. That is the division separating the NFC North from the middle of the pack — or third worst.

Are the 49ers, Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals a better foursome than the Vikings, Lions, Packers, and Bears?

If the answer is no, the Vikings division ranks fourth of eight. If yes, CBS Sports is correct.

Jan 8, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) stands on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports.

Too, all of the who-will-win-the-North speculation is on the heels of Aaron Rodgers’ departure from the division. He was a Packer for 18 seasons, and for the first time since 1991, Green Bay isn’t absolutely guaranteed to have a Hall of Fame quarterback under center.

The division is, therefore, wildly up for grabs.

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