The 5 Most Ridiculous Moments of Vikings Offseason

Vikings Really Dropped
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings began a story of change almost as soon as the club lost in the postseason at home to the New York Giants.

Ed Donatell was let go four days later, and new defensive coordinator Brian Flores joined in February.

The 5 Most Ridiculous Moments of Vikings Offseason

Along the way, with training camp three weeks away, several bizarre happenings have transpired. These are those, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most ridiculous).

5. Refusal to Re-Sign Duke Shelley

5 Most Ridiculous
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) signals an incompletion after breaking up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The Vikings could’ve signed Pro Football Focus‘ fifth-best cornerback from 2022 for $1.3 million. That’s pocket change for an NFL team.

Instead, Minnesota said ‘no thanks’ to Shelley, he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, and now Shelley’s Raiders will play the Vikings in December. Fast forward to July, and most pundits have identified cornerback as the weakest spot on the Vikings roster.

With a very simple and affordable move — re-signing Shelley — the Vikings could’ve prevented a thin CB room. Shelley seemed like he wanted to play for the Vikings for another year, but the team evidently wasn’t interested.

4. Kirk Cousins at the NFL Awards Ceremony

Vikings Fans Remember
Kirk Cousins at the NFL’s 2023 Honors Ceremony where his play with Justin Jefferson took home ‘Best Moment.’

Kirk Cousins dusted off his “Kirko Chainz” persona, breaking into a tune in front of the NFL’s Honor Ceremony capacity crowd — and live national audience.

Cousins shared the stage with show host and singer Kelly Clarkson, and the rest was history.

His teammate Justin Jefferson won the NFL Moment of the Year award, and Cousins was there for this spontaneous serenade.

3. Former Coach Says Justin Jefferson Will ‘Damage’ Vikings

Sep 9, 2018; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg speaks with the offensive line during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium. Baltimore Ravens defeated Buffalo Bills 47-3. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Former NFL coach Marty Mornhinweg doesn’t believe Jefferson is worth a large contract extension. He’s almost the only person on the internet who has warned against it. Mornhinweg doesn’t think the lemon is worth the squeeze.

Now an analyst for The 33rd TeamMornhinweg explained in May, “It looks as if the Vikings are going to have to pay Justin Jefferson as much, or maybe even more, than a heck of a quarterback in the National Football League. Is this a good thing, or is this a bad thing? I’ll tell you the negatives. It’ll put a knife right into the salary cap.”

The former skipper insisted Jefferson’s would-be contract could hurt the Vikings, “You’re going to have to let some pretty good players go to get this thing done. It’s going to damage the core of your football team if you go about it that way.”

“The only way you pay Justin Jefferson as much or more than a quarterback is if you know Justin Jefferson is the one player that you need on your football team to go win a Super Bowl. Period,” Mornhinweg finished.

We do not understand this.

2. Mike Florio Compares 2023 Vikings to 2023 Cardinals

Jan 21, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; CBS Sports sideline announcer Mike Florio on field prior to an AFC divisional round game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Jacksonville Jaguars at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Some Vikings fans and NFL pundits insist the Vikings are ‘tearing it down.’ Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio opined on the topic in June, actually titling an article: A year after running it back, the Vikings are tearing it down.

“Whether that’s tanking or strategic rebuilding is a matter of semantics. The Vikings aren’t prioritizing winning as many games as possible in 2023, just like the Cardinals,” Florio claimed.

Florio also hinted at the Vikings version of ‘tanking.’ He wrote, “The league doesn’t want to find teams guilty of tanking, as evidenced by the pass that 345 Park Avenue gave to the Dolphins after former coach Brian Flores claimed that owner Stephen Ross offered $100,000 per loss in 2019. (The NFL accepted the explanation that it was a joke. We’re still waiting for the punchline.) There’s a more artful way to tank; the Browns did that with a ‘four-year plan’ that prioritized stockpiling future draft picks and cap space over collecting the best possible players in a given year. The NFL endorsed that approach.”

“And, yes, Adofo-Mensah worked for the DiPodesta Moneyball Browns before getting the G.M. job in Minnesota. So that’s what’s happening. It was always what was going to happen, from the moment Adofo-Mensah was hired. The decision to keep so many players from 2021, combined with the 13-4 record from 2022 and the decision to retain Kirk Cousins for at least one more year, began to create a different impression,” Florio continued.

The Cardinals are rather vividly preparing for 2024, not 2023, because Kyler Murray may miss most of 2023. Justin Jefferson, Marcus Davenport, and other Vikings players expressly said at OTAs and minicamp that Minnesota is trying to win a Super Bowl this year.

Either Florio is incorrect, or Jefferson + Davenport are lying.

1. All the Weird Justin Jefferson Slander

Also Provided Good
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center during 2023 Mandatory Minicamp. Jefferson won the 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year award and enters Year 4 as a pro in 2023.

Near the end of June, Bruce Irons from Packers For the Win unveiled this odd statement for the masses, “Christian Watson has a higher ceiling than Justin Jefferson.”

And he followed up the statement with this rationale:

A few days later, former NFL WR Keyshawn Johnson decided to fire off Top WR rankings for the 2023 season.

These were Johnson’s Top 5:

  1. Tyreek Hill
  2. Davante Adams
  3. Ja’Marr Chase
  4. Stefon Diggs
  5. A.J. Brown

Jefferson was wholly missing. And, yes, that Jefferson is the same guy who owns the reigning Offensive Player of the Year trophy.

After that, Pat McAfee explained that Dalvin Cook was still very much an elite football player and handed him most of the credit for Minnesota’s 2022 offensive performance. McAfee said, “Dalvin Cook was their offense, like the reason why I think Justin Jefferson has all the things is because Dalvin Cook is in the backfield.”

Of all 90 players on the Vikings roster, why on earth are folks targeting Jefferson as the underwhelming guy? It feels like a twilight zone.

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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