6 Takeaways from Vikings 2023 Minicamp

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell at 2023 mandatory minicamp in Eagan. The Vikings won 13 games in O'Connell's first season as head coach. He previously won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams as offensive coordinator in 2021.

The Minnesota Vikings implemented mandatory minicamp on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the 2023 NFL regular season kicks off in 12 weeks.

6 Takeaways from Vikings 2023 Minicamp

Minnesota is slated to win eight or nine games in 2023 per oddsmakers, ironically the same forecast from this time last year.

And in a nutshell, these are the six takeaways from minicamp, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

6. Jaquelin Roy’s Snaps with First Team Defense

Mar 2, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy (DL14) participates in the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Out of nowhere, this rookie defensive tackle experienced some run with the Vikings first-team defense. Whoodathunkit?

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah plucked Roy out of the draft’s 5th Round in April, and those types generally take years to win starters’ jobs. Of course, Roy has won nothing yet, but his placement in first-team reps has to be encouraging for the young lineman.

5. Jalen Nailor Looks Like the Real Deal

Explained: The 7 Big Takeaways from Vikings Win over NE
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) celebrates after making a stop against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Nailor looked fantastic at organized team activities (OTAs), and that didn’t stop at minicamp. The Michigan State alumnus is probably angling for a WR4 job this year — that can somewhat easily turn into a WR3 job in 2024 if K.J. Osborn leaves in free agency.

Nicknamed Speedy, this playmaker became popular in flashes down the stretch of 2022. That momentum has not stopped — at all — early in 2023.

4. Jordan Addison Absent

prediction for jordan
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison on stage after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings twenty-third overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Addison is reportedly nursing a trifling injury suffered at OTAs. The Vikings proceeded ultra-cautiously and stated the rookie would be ready for training camp.

While that prognosis is likely true, and nothing should be sweated, fans would’ve liked to see him at minicamp if only to ensure the ‘something minor’ was truly, well, minor.

If Addison shows up in July at training camp, all is well. He did, though, miss the last part of OTAs and all of minicamp.

3. Indeed, No 2023 Contract Extension for Cousins

Kirk Cousins Confirms
Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) runs onto the field for warmup prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Cousins was asked Wednesday if extension talks were ongoing, and he replied, “I think we’ll probably talk about the contract next March. Until then, just focus on this season and the job to do right now.”

From the man’s words, extension chatter between Cousins and the Vikings front office is not ongoing, so the team has the option to part ways with him in 2024 if the 2023 campaign doesn’t go according to plan.

Cousins will indeed encounter a prove-it year, as he experienced in 2016 and 2017 with the Commanders.

2. Danielle Hunter Holdout Is Real

Vikings vs. Cardinals — a High Scoring Game like Last Year?
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

National media reported Hunter would hold out of minicamp, and they were correct. He was not there.

The EDGE rusher is scheduled to earn just $5.5 million in ‘new money’ this season and wants a fresh extension. This standoff can end in three ways. A) The Vikings can hand Hunter a contract north of $20 million per year. B) They can trade him to the highest bidder. C) Hunter can hold out into the regular season.

Above all Vikings issues leading into training camp, this one will dominate water cooler conversations. Hunter is the team’s best defensive player.

1. Justin Jefferson Contract Extension a Non-Issue

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.

Reporters asked Jefferson if he’d attend training camp in July without the upcoming bulky contract extension, and he offered a blunt, non-interpretive reply, “Yeah.”

He even claimed his absence from OTAs didn’t really have anything to do with a contract extension. In his estimation, he wasn’t required to be in Eagan for the event.

But when mandatory minicamp hit the calendar, Jefferson was there, he was nonchalant about his upcoming extension, and he grabbed this nifty highlight:

There is no Jefferson drama whatsoever.

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.