Dustin Baker’s 5 Bold Summer Predictions for Vikings | 2023

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Bold predictions are designed to be a little ‘out there,’ so let’s dream big.

The Minnesota Vikings set sail on the summer, hoping to formulate a roster that can win back-to-back NFC North titles in Minnesota for the first time in 14 years.

Dustin Baker’s 5 Bold Summer Predictions for Vikings | 2023

Via bold prediction, here are five ways they’ll attempt to do so. The projections are ranked in no particular order.

1. Jalen Reagor Is Waived

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This iteration of Vikings, led by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, has no qualms with waiving relatively productive, inexpensive, or promising youngsters on rookie deals. Cameron Dantzler, Ihmir-Smith Marsette, Janarius Robinson, Kellen Mond, Wyatt Davis, and Chazz Surratt can tell you all about it.

Adofo-Mensah signed Brandon Powell in March, and he might be able to do everything Reagor does but with a more anonymous name. Reagor tabulated 8 catches for 104 yards and a touchdown in 2022. And of all 31 NFLers who returned 15+ punts in 2022, Reagor’s 6.2 yards per return ranked 31st in the league. The return on investment, at least in 2022, was a total meh.

That can be replicated by basically any fast NFLer, including Powell.

2. Ivan Pace Jr. Damn Near Wins Starting LB Job

Bold Summer
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Pace Jr. should have been drafted in Round 4 or so last month but no cigar. Apparently, NFL general managers passed on the Bearcat because he was a bit too small.

But Pace Jr. has the skillset and tenacity to thrive in the big leagues, and he just so happens to work for the Vikings. To you, the Vikings fan, Minnesota has two well-known linebackers, Jordan Hicks and Brian Asamoah, in line to start. But in NFL-speak, that’s a pretty anonymous duo.

The rookie linebacker will raise eyebrows — in a good way — this summer and either win a starting LB job or do enough to earn meaningful regular season snaps. There’s more than just UDFA hype to this man.

3. EDGE Leonard Floyd or G Dalton Risner Signed

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Suddenly, the Vikings have some cap space — to the tune of about $9.5 million bucks. You can thank Za’Darius Smith’s trade request for it.

So, Adofo-Mensah can extend Danielle Hunter, save the money for the regular season, roll it over to 2024 — or sign some snazzy free agents this summer. He will likely execute the latter and perhaps sign Leonard Floyd or Dalton Risner.

The argument for Floyd? What happens if Danielle Hunter or Marcus Davenport gets hurt this season? Minnesota would pivot to Patrick Jones, D.J. Wonnum, or rookie Andre Carter II. Signing Floyd would reduce the mystery in case of a starting OLB injury.

For Risner, well, the Vikings oddly have just four guards on the roster. Most teams have five or six right now. Current Vikings OL skipper Chris Kuper coached Risner for three years in Denver, so this free-agent relationship makes sense.

4. Dalvin Cook on the Team at Training Camp

Vikings Might Pounce
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Remember 2.5 months ago when Dalvin Cook to the Miami Dolphins was all the craze? That ultimately fell through, and late in May, Minnesota has the cap space to keep Cook — if it wants.

Cook could determine taking a small paycut to remain with the Vikings connects more dots than starting over on a small contract with a new team. He also had shoulder surgery this spring, meaning he should be healthier than ever.

Yes, it would be odd for the Vikings to carry five RBs into the summer, but Cook is a Pro Bowler. They could keep him on the roster through training camp and examine his trade value then.

5. Vikings Reveal Alternate or Throwback Uniforms in July


Every summer, oodles of NFL teams unveil alternate uniforms while the Vikings do nothing. There was a “white-out” game versus the New York Giants, and that was neat, but it’s time for Minnesota to get with the program and shine up some fancy alternative threads.

Prediction? Commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1998 season, the Vikings bring back those rookie-Randy-Moss uniforms for a game or two.

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.