Should the Vikings Fully Rebuild or Make it Competitive?

a Wild Free
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For a while, new Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has called his current process a competitive rebuild. That was clear in 2022 but has been less so in 2023. While the Vikings retool, can the rebuild remain competitive?

Should the Vikings Fully Rebuild or Make it Competitive?

Last season, the Minnesota Vikings put up a 13-win season en route to an NFC North Division championship and found themselves against a familiar foe in the playoffs. Despite flopping against the New York Giants, there seemed to be plenty of pieces to work with. Amid what was being called a competitive rebuild, this was a very strong step forward.

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During the offseason, the Vikings saw a handful of critical names leave for other opportunities. They also infused the team with new talent and looked to focus on the offensive side of the ball with a first-round pick used on wide receiver Jordan Addison. Looking to rebuild the playmaking positions to mask the defense, Kevin O’Connell would have plenty of weapons at his disposal.

Fast forward to Week 4 of the 2023 season, and while the rebuild is still happening, we have yet to see the competitive part of it.

Not only have the Vikings consistently shot themselves in the foot regarding turnovers and lack of execution, but they have also found ways to do less with more when presented with opportunities. Despite Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson off to prolific starts, the defense has yet to establish a true identity, and the running game has been nothing short of an abomination.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks before a joint practice with the Tennessee Titans in Eagan, Minn., Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Last year, Adofo-Mensah brought in a handful of new talent on the defensive side of the football. Although Ed Donatell clearly was not well-served in utilizing those players, it doesn’t appear many of them are pieces that Brian Flores believes he can use to rebuild the unit. Lewis Cine has been nonexistent at the back end of the secondary, and Brian Asamoah has been replaced as a linebacker by the undrafted Ivan Pace Jr.

Working through a rebuild, consistent playoff presence isn’t going to happen. That should be understandable. Unfortunately, the Vikings have started 0-3 and could quickly be staring down the barrel of something like a 1-7 or 2-6 start. When looking to rebuild as a whole, that begs the question of whether being competitive is beneficial or tanking to accelerate things makes more sense.

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Realistically, rebuilding is much longer than a year or two. Both Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell must be given time to rework things towards their liking, and regardless of the results from a year ago, the fan base has to be patient. Calls for change from Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman were heard, but now the process for a new regime has to play out. The more rebuilding that can take place up front should allow heightened competitiveness on the back end.

Right now, the Vikings are positioned to take their lumps. They are somewhat of a rudderless team without an identity. That doesn’t bode well when it comes to being competitive, but they are all in on rebuilding.

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.