Former LB Has Fancy Forecast for 2023 Vikings

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Sportsbooks believe the Minnesota Vikings will finish with about eight or nine wins in 2023, a steep drop-off from the club’s 13-4 season last year. A Fox Sports personality recently forecasted the Vikings for last place in the NFC North.

And everyone is in love with the Detroit Lions. That’s the state of affairs for the Vikings with less than four months to go before head coach Kevin O’Connell’s second season.

Former LB Has Fancy Forecast for 2023 Vikings

But one man — a former NFL linebacker, no less — isn’t reading the Vikings obituary just yet. He’s Emmanuel Acho, who also works for Fox Sports.

Former LB Has Fancy
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The Cleveland Browns selected Acho from the 6th Round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he later spent time with Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants before retiring after the 2015 season. Now, he provides NFL analysis and has amassed over 350,000 followers on Twitter.

He’s evidently excited about the Vikings — or at least not downtrodden like some — because he plopped the purple and gold team into the No. 5 spot in the NFC. That’s right, Acho posted early NFC predictions standings to Twitter Thursday, and Minnesota only ‘trailed’ the Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, and Seattle Seahawks.

Vikings Get Steal
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Here’s the full tweet, along with a video explanation:

Let’s have you decide if Acho is correct. Foremost, the Vikings dismissed Ed Donatell four days after Minnesota lost to the New York Giants in the playoffs. The Vikings finished 2022 ranked 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed, so the club hired Brian Flores as the solution in February.

Then, Minnesota added eight newcomers via free agency: Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals), Dean Lowry (DT, Packers), Brandon Powell (WR, Rams), Troy Reeder (LB, Chargers), Joejuan Williams (CB, Patriots), and John Reid (CB, Falcons) 

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Byron Murphy spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, a 2nd-Round draft pick. He was welcomed to the Vikings from free agency in March 2023.

Nine players left the team in recent months: Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), Irv Smith (TE, Bengals), Kris Boyd (CB, Cardinals), and Chandon Sullivan (CB, Steelers).

Za’Darius Smith was also traded last week to the Cleveland Browns.

Six rookies jumped on the depth chart from the 2023 NFL Draft:

  • R1: Jordan Addison (WR, USC)
  • R3: Mekhi Blackmon (CB, USC)
  • R4: Jay Ward (S, LSU)
  • R5: Jaquelin Roy (DT, LSU)
  • R5: Jaren Hall (QB, BYU)
  • R7: DeWayne McBride (RB, UAB)

And these 15 men were signed via undrafted free agency right after the draft:

  • Alan Ali (OL, TCU)
  • Calvin Avery (DT, Illinois)
  • Abraham Beauplan (ILB, Marshall)
  • Andre Carter II (EDGE, Army)
  • Jacky Chen (OL, Pace)
  • C.J. Coldon (CB, Oklahoma)
  • Wilson Huber (ILB, Cincinnati)
  • Cephus Johnson (WR, SE Louisiana)
  • Malik Knowles (WR, Kansas State)
  • Ivan Pace, Jr. (ILB, Cincinnati)
  • Jack Podlesny (K, Georgia)
  • Ben Sims (TE, Baylor)
  • Thayer Thomas (WR, N.C. State)
  • NaJee Thompson (CB, Georgia Southern)
  • Jaylin Williams (CB, Indiana)

Ask yourself — are these 26 transactions, plus 15 UDFAs, enough for the Vikings to finish around fifth place in the NFC per Acho? Or are the Vikings heading toward an 8-9 season, as many pundits and oddsmakers forecast?

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