The 5 Biggest Developments of the Summer for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings begin the regular season in 15 days, welcoming Baker Mayfield’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers to U.S. Bank Stadium for Week 1.

Vikings training camp ended this week, and the final preseason game is mere hours away.

The 5 Biggest Developments of the Summer for Vikings

And if you’re just returning to Vikings football for the 2023 season, these are the five biggest developments of the summer, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

5. Dalvin Cook Released

5 Biggest Developments
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After three months of wondering if the Vikings would trade or release Cook, the team’s front office chose the latter on June 9th. Cook remained a free agent for two months and later signed with the New York Jets. He’s now Aaron Rodgers’ trusty teammate.

Cook’s departure marked the first time the Vikings will enter a season without an Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook attached to the roster since 2006. It’s been a while.

Alexander Mattison takes over at RB1 in September, and Minnesota is done, at least for now, paying running backs the megabucks.

4. Danielle Hunter Back for a Year

One Viking Totally
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Hunter held out of mandatory minicamp and held-in at training camp for a few days. But on July 30th, the Vikings agreed to a deal with Hunter worth up to $20 million. There were a few weeks in July when it felt like Hunter would be traded to the highest bidder.

He told a gallery of reporters on July 31st, “I want to be a Viking forever.”

“I love this organization. I’ve always been an advocate for these dudes. I’m happy to be back, happy to get back out there with my teammates, and just want to get out there and play football. It’s been a long process, but I’m here now, and I’m ready to work,” Hunter added.

The bad blood disappeared (if it existed at all), and Hunter will hit the field for Minnesota in a ninth consecutive season.

3. No Extensions Yet for JJ & TJ

Justin Jefferson Weighs in
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General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has said all offseason he plans to complete long-term deals with Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson; mystery about his intentions doesn’t exist.

But the calendar reads August 26th, and no deals are done for either man. So, Vikings fans have kicked back, hoped for the best, trusted Adofo-Mensah, and taken solace in knowing both men will play in 2023 no matter what.

That’s about all they can do.

2. Jordan Addison Looks like the Real Deal

Vikings Fan Ignite over
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Addison did this on August 10th:

And then this a few days ago:

After a silly speeding incident, Addison has authored a fanciful summer and looks like the next success story for the Vikings in drafting a wide receiver.

Now, of course, that just has to translate to the regular season in two weeks.

1. Ivan Pace Jr.’s Sudden Arrival

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Every NFL general manager, including Adofo-Mensah, passed on Pace Jr., a linebacker, during the 2023 NFL Draft. They evidently believed he was too small at 5’11.” But right after the event, Minnesota grabbed him off the UDFA wire, and the rest, well, is history. Pace Jr. posted this to Instagram:

y'all done up ivan pace

The man wasn’t kidding. He climbed the depth chart in a matter of weeks and is a dark-horse pick to win a starter’s job. If he doesn’t pull that off, he’ll still experience regular season snaps in 2023, which doesn’t happen often for undrafted free agents.

Ivan the Terrible has overtaken the Vikings summer headlines.

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).

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