The Vikings’ 3 Worst Offseason Moves — a Look Back

Predicts Unpleasant Vikings
Minnesota Vikings fans. © JIM RASSOL/THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK.

A topsy-turvy year to be sure, the Minnesota Vikings began 1-4 in 2023, later righting the ship to the tune of a 6-5 record by Thanksgiving and a spot in the NFC’s No. 6 postseason seed as of November 25th.

Next, the purple team hosts the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, a club it has beaten five times consecutively.

The Vikings’ 3 Worst Offseason Moves — a Look Back

And with the postseason in plain sight, the Vikings conducted some questionable moves to arrive at their current standing in an offseason spanning from last January to early September.

These were the Vikings’ worst offseason moves, with the advantage of hindsight after Week 11. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = worst offseason move).

3. Not Drafting Puka Nacua

Worst Offseason Moves
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings actually conducted a rather wise and healthy offseason, conforming to the spirit of their “competitive rebuild” team-building strategy. So, admittedly, this one is a little nitpicky.

Thirty-one NFL teams blundered by not drafting Nacua, who has captivated the NFL as a 5th-Round pick and tabulated 897 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. In fact, Nacua is on pace for 1,524 yards and 5 scores.

Indeed, Minnesota has Addison at WR2 — and he’s maturing rapidly like a WR1 — but why not choose Nacua in Round 4 or 5 merely to get richer on offense? Over and over, Nacua was there for the taking last April, and general managers, including Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, said no thanks.

2. Signing Marcus Davenport

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

Davenport wasn’t crazy expensive (one year, $13 million), nor has he played terribly on the field.

However, he’s rarely been available. The veteran defender has been ravaged by injuries, and as of late November, nobody knows when he’ll return. The Vikings’ coaching staff said recently that Davenport should return before the end of the year, but that doesn’t exactly scream confidence.

Thankfully for Minnesota’s sake, veteran outside linebacker D.J. Wonnum has morphed into a starter, making the play that saved the team’s season at the Carolina Panthers in October. Thereafter, Wonnum has served as the perfect complement to Danielle Hunter in the defensive trenches.

Imagine, however, if Wonnum didn‘t climb the ranks to a starting-level EDGE rusher. Without Davenport, the Vikings’ defense could be toast.

A splotchy injury history was one of the drawbacks to Davenport’s arrival to the franchise. And now he’s injured. Not ideal.

1. Skimping at RB

Recommends Fire Sale
Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon chats with Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during practice in Eagan, Minn., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Minnesota has rostered several running backs in various capacities this season:

  • Alexander Mattison
  • Cam Akers
  • Ty Chandler
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • Myles Gaskin
  • DeWayne McBride

But none have elevated to a productive RB1 level. Letting the aforementioned Cook head to the Jets wasn’t a mistake, but the Vikings should have found a more productive halfback in the draft or free agency.

Free agents David Montgomery, Devin Singletary, Kareem Hunt, and Raheem Mostert, for example, were available. So were Devon Achane and Roschon Johnson, but in the draft.


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 OverTheCap.com.

Share: