Intriguing Vikings Odds for the Regular Season

Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) warm up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings enter 2023 as reigning champs in the NFC North. They aren’t favored to repeat, and are seen by plenty as a team that could be in for serious regression. Kevin O’Connell will look to avoid that fate in year two, but being slept on could provide some interesting bets.

By now, the entirety of sports have jumped on the gambling bandwagon. No matter how much Roger Goodell may have suggested keeping the pairing separate in previous seasons, wagering on football is here to stay. While Minnesota has yet to legalize sports gambling, there are plenty of outlets to get in on the action.

Looking at the Vikings 2023 schedule, and trying to weigh it against expectations, there seems to be a level of value between what the books believe and what could happen. The Detroit Lions are expected to win the NFC North, but they aren’t seen as runaway favorites over the Vikings. With Green Bay as somewhat of an unknown, and Chicago still looking for an identity, this season presents as open of a division as we’ve seen in years.

Brian Flores brings a change to the Vikings coaching staff, but O’Connell represents continuity at the top. While watching the Vikings on the field this year, here are a few spots I liked from Bovada:

Lead NFC North in Rushing: Mattison (+350) or Fields (+250) Rushing Yards

Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) waves to fans during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Last season Dalvin Cook put up over 1,100 yards for the Vikings despite it being a down year for him production wise. That was while starting every game, but with Alexander Mattison sprinkling in. Mattison is now the lead back for Minnesota, and he should easily blow by his career high 491 yards from 2021. Ty Chandler will get touches, as will Kene Nwangwu and DeWayne McBride. It’s Mattison that is the only back with real experience though.

Fields ran for over 1,100 yards last season with the Chicago Bears. That’s a substantial number for Mattison to compete with, even if he is the lead back. Chicago would probably like to see Fields take less hits, so they could look to decrease that number this season, and there’s always a chance for injury with a quarterback scrambling so much.

Ultimately, I’m not super comfortable betting on Mattison to immediately break free, and we still don’t know what his usage will look like. There’s some value on the Vikings running back here, but it’s probably more betting against Fields than on Mattison.

Minnesota (+310) to win division

big week for
Aug 3, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and team owner Ziggy Wilf talk at training camp at TCO Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

A repeat as division winners seems straightforward enough, but the Vikings are up against a 13-4 record that saw them win multiple games in crazy fashion. Regression suggests they won’t see the same fortunes during the year ahead, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get the job done.

It’s been a while since the Lions have handled any level of success, and they are coming off a year in which they employed football’s worst defense. Minnesota doesn’t have to win 13 games to win the division, and although it’s not necessarily likely, they should be considered a strong contender.

Kirk Cousins O 29.5 TD (-115)

Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) takes the field during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

In 2022 Cousins threw for exactly 29 touchdowns. It was a strong number in year one with Kevin O’Connell, but it was his lowest total since 2019. Entering 2023, Cousins has been given a better set of playmakers, and that should open up the field more.

Mattison is going to get touches near the goal line, but Justin Jefferson is now paired with star rookie Jordan Addison. Beyond that, T.J. Hockenson is on the team for a full season, and Josh Oliver was brought in as another tight end option. Jefferson’s yardage numbers could go down, but I think the touchdowns rise and Cousins ends up in the mid-30’s.

Jordan Addison Leads Rookie WR yards (+300)

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

Only the Seahawks Jaxon Smith-Njigba is more heavily favored to lead rookies in receiving yards. Addison is currently out working through the concussion protocol, and that probably keeps him from overtaking the number two wide receiver spot in Week 1. Still, he should be expected to produce out of the gate, and he’ll have plenty of opportunities.

As defenses key on Jefferson forcing Addison to beat them, it will be on the former Trojans standout to answer the call. K.J. Osborn and others will factor in, but if Addison can handle it, he’ll be force fed the ball with plenty of regularity.

Justin Jefferson O 1400.5 yards (-115)

Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

This will be Jefferson’s fourth year in the NFL, and he has topped 1,400 receiving yards in each of them. I think it’s fair to suggest he’ll see a dropoff from the 1,800 he tallied last year, but additional talent around him should open him up for big-play chances.

The Vikings offense is still going to run heavily through Jefferson, and a career-low yardage total would be a shock. Balancing out the passing game makes a good deal of sense, but the best wide receiver in football should still have no problem getting his.

Vikings O 8.5 W (-130) and 10 total (+600)

Vikings Clearing Cap
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Putting the Vikings near a .500 team seems to over-emphasize the luck or fortune Minnesota saw a season ago. They don’t need to win every nail-biter to be a .500 team, and even with a tougher schedule, this team is still plenty talented to make noise in the division.

I still see the Vikings as a ten win team, so taking the over and looking at an exact total has plenty of value. The NFC North winner shouldn’t need much more than 10 or 11 wins, and Minnesota will likely be in contention at the end.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.