The Vikings 5 Best Players of 2023 Heading into Week 5

The Vikings 2022 Defense by the Numbers: After Week 8
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) celebrates after breaking up a fourth down play against the Green Bay Packers tight end Robert Tonyan (85) in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Twenty-four percent of the Minnesota Vikings season is complete, with the team in third place inside the NFC North.

The Vikings won in Week 4, perhaps saving their season, but lost their first three games to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Los Angeles Chargers.

The Vikings 5 Best Players of 2023 Heading into Week 5

Several players have stood out through four games, and these are the five best players of 2023 heading into Week 5, according to Pro Football Focus. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = best player).

5. Ivan Pace (LB)

5 Best Players of 2023
Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Sean Tucker (44) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. (40) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF Grade: 80.7

This young linebacker was all the rage in August, the recipient of preseason steam as an undrafted free-agent rookie. He looked the part during exhibition games, and some wondered if he had the juice to perform in the regular season.

He has the juice.

Starting alongside Jordan Hicks in the middle of Brian Flores’ defense, Pace is here to stay, logging 25 tackles and 3 QB hits in his first four career games. For his troubles, he’s the Vikings fifth-best player at the moment, per PFF.

4. Brian O’Neill (RT)

Significant Week 18
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF Grade: 81.2

A Vikings OL stalwart, even in the darkest days from 2018 to 2021, O’Neill is the team’s most productive trenchman to start the season, which surprises almost nobody.

O’Neill is one of the highest-paid right tackles in the sport and deserves every penny. Before too long, his OT mate Christian Darrisaw will likely catch up to O’Neill in the PFF metric, but for now, O’Neill is the top dog.

3. Camryn Bynum (FS)

Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) and safety Theo Jackson (25) and cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) in action during the game against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF Grade: 83.5

The Flores defense has done wonders for Bynum, and he has done wonders for it.

Bynum has registered 43 tackles in four games, with a forced fumble, pass defended, and two tackles for loss. Theorized by some, this website included, as a possible roster cut casualty in the summer, Bynum has rendered that theory laughable in 2023.

Don’t look now, but Bynum is the Vikings top defender to start the season. Whoodathunkit?

He’s also a startable Individual Defensive Player in fantasy football leagues.

2. Josh Oliver (TE)

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Josh Oliver (84) runs for yards after the catch against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF Grade: 89.5

Kirk Cousins calls this man The Sears Tower, and he’s made an immediate impact as a member of the Vikings.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah added Oliver to the roster in March, much to fans’ initial chagrin, for blocking purposes. And through four games, the former Raven is a machine, plowing lanes for running backs and defending Cousins in the pocket.

In fact, per PFF, Oliver is the league’s best tight end through four weeks, if that can be believed.

1. Justin Jefferson (WR)

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) reacts after scoring a touchdown in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

PFF Grade: 91.2

The gold standard is well on his way to shattering 2,000 receiving yards in a season, refusing to produce a quiet game. Last year, Jefferson had a modest game every now and then, but with Jordan Addison now on the Vikings roster, opposing defensive coordinators may not be able to sell out on Jefferson.

Jefferson leads the NFL in receiving yards, began scoring touchdowns last weekend, and is universally considered the top wideout in the sport.

When Minnesota finally extends Jefferson’s contract, he should be attached to the organization for several years.


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.

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