4 Big Training Camp Storylines on the Horizon for Vikings

Jul 30, 2021; Eagan, MN, United States; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) takes the field at training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings wrapped up minicamp this week and now encounter a six-week break before training camp.

Minicamp was highlighted by Danielle Hunter’s holdout, Justin Jefferson’s appearance, and Kirk Cousins’ affirmation that any contract extension talks will occur after the 2023 season.

4 Big Training Camp Storylines on the Horizon for Vikings

These are the items to begin pondering for Vikings 2023 training camp, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

4. Osborn or Addison?

Viking Has Everything
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

This one might grab the most attention, chiefly because it involves the wide receiver spot and a rookie in Jordan Addison.

The Vikings selected Addison in the 1st Round of April’s draft, and unless he’s a bust, he’ll become the team’s WR2 before too long. However, K.J. Osborn will not relinquish the job without a fierce fight.

Osborn probably thought the WR2 job was his to lose until the 2023 NFL Draft, but then Addison from USC came along. One man will win the WR2 job; the other at WR3. This is Adam Thielen’s old job, so expect all eyes glued on this camp battle.

3. Who in the Hell Is the Starting Free Safety?

Could Be Cut This
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) reacts after the game against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Three men could start Week 1 versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the Vikings at free safety — Camryn Bynum, Lewis Cine, or Josh Metellus.

Bynum was last year’s starter, and he played every single defensive snap if that can be believed. Cine was a 1st-Rounder in 2022 but broke his leg last October. According to draft stock, Cine should start soon.

Then, Josh Metellus is just a fantabulous football player. He showcased a marvelous minicamp last week and was praised to high heavens by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in a recent podcast.

Someone has to earn the job next to Harrison Smith — but who will it be?

2. The ‘Other’ Starting CB Job

Grim Injury News for Vikings CB
Aug 14, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (23) in the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Another secondary battle, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, Joejuan Williams, or Mekhi Blackmon has to win CB2 duties. Newcomer free agent Byron Murphy is basically penciled in as CB1, but his solo trip won’t be enough.

This is one of the Vikings most important summer matters — who emerges as the other cornerback. Whomever it is — he has to be productive and not just ‘a guy.’ Minnesota will be eaten alive by offensive coordinators if it has just one good corner.

This battle is incredibly high stakes and may decide the Vikings overall team ceiling in 2023.

1. Danielle Hunter or Somebody Else?

One Viking Totally
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter held out of Vikings minicamp on Tuesday and Wednesday, desiring a new contract. His team-friendly agreement that he signed with Rick Spielman five years ago is finally winding down.

If the Vikings don’t give the giant extension, he could be traded. And that could happen today — or in August. The timetable is undetermined.

Because Hunter is the Vikings top defensive player, his contract status will utterly dominate all Vikings websites, podcasts, and social media channels. He’s a Viking through and through, but there’s a chance Adofo-Mensah won’t pay him $20-$25 million per season.

Stay tuned.

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.