5 Things We Learned about the Vikings So Far This Month

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) hands the ball off to Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) during the first half at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In the last week and a half, the Minnesota Vikings have continued training camp and lost a preseason game at the Seattle Seahawks, 24-13.

Next up for Minnesota is the Tennessee Titans, who travel to Minneapolis next Saturday for another preseason showdown.

5 Things We Learned about the Vikings So Far This Month

These are the five things we’ve learned about the team since the start of August, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

5. Ty Chandler Looks a Like an RB2

5 Things We Learned
Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) carries the ball while being defended by Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jon Rhattigan (59) after making a catch during the first half at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings slid kick returner Kene Nwangwu onto the depth chart at RB2 early last week, but that was likely due to experience. After the first preseason game, Chandler seems significantly more likely to earn the RB2 job by Week 1, especially if Minnesota doesn’t sign Kareem Hunt, who visited via free agency this week.

Chandler looked the part in the Emerald City, tallying 70 yards from scrimmage in half the game. It’s probably his job to lose, RB2.

4. Ivan Pace Jr. Hype Is for Real

Mar 1, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cincinnati linebacker Ivan Pace, Jr. (LB23) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Training camp hype is real, and Ivan Pace Jr. seized it. There was also a temptation to believe his heroism pertained only to practice, but through one preseason game, that was false.

Pace Jr. was a stud Thursday night at Seattle, so much so that the Vikings coaching staff trusted him with the second-teamers — after running with first-teamers in Eagan as of late.

Before too long, Pace Jr. will achieve meaningful regular season snaps inside Minnestoa’s defense, and the out-of-nowhere UDFA tale will come to life. This guy is that good.

3. Brian Flores Wasn’t Kidding about His Defense

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Four long years have transpired since the Vikings showcased a trustworthy defense. The last time was in 2019, with Mike Zimmer in charge. Heading into the 2020 season, Danielle Hunter succumbed to injury, and the purple defense simply hasn’t been efficient since.

Now, the look and feel will transform. Flores wasn’t joking about an aggressive mindset, and examples at training camp and from the preseason already demonstrate a hungrier bunch.

Minnesota’s 2023 defense may not become legendary, but it will improve on its 31st in yards allowed mark last year.

2. Akayleb Evans Is the CB2

CB2 Mystery
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) after a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Following about five months of mystery, it seems second-year corner Akayleb Evans will win the other starting CB job next to newcomer free agent Byron Murphy. The first-but-unofficial depth chart plopped Evans at CB2, and his teammate Andrew Booth did nothing during the first preseason game as a rebuttal.

Evans’ rookie season was ravaged by concussions, but he performed admirably when he was on the field. Unless the Vikings sign a free agent like William Jackson, pull off a fancy CB trade, or Booth barnstorms the next two weeks, Evans will be the CB2 Week 1 versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

1. Jordan Addison Will Be the Real Deal

Aug 10, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) during warmups prior to the game at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports.

This will not be Laquon Treadwell reincarnate.

Addison has impressed at camp, made a few grabs in the preseason, and put his rabble-rousery with reckless driving behind him. The man always had the pedigree to emerge instantly in the NFL, but some Vikings fans remain paranoid from memories of the aforementioned Treadwell.

This will not be like that. Addison will not become Justin Jefferson — nobody can really do that — but he’ll still carve a path to stardom.

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.