4 Takeaways from Vikings 2023 OTAs

Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders pose for a photo before the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings continued the steady march to the 2023 regular season this week, conducting organized team activities in Eagan, Minnesota.

4 Takeaways from Vikings 2023 OTAs

Next, the club has mandatory minicamp in June and training camp in July. After that, there are three preseason games in August, roster cuts on August 29th, and the regular season opener on September 10th.

You can watch plenty of player and coach interviews from OTAs on the Vikings YouTube channel, but here are four OTA takeaways in print. They’re ranked in no particular order.

1. Brian Asamoah Mania

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Brian Asamoah catches a pass during the University of Oklahoma Sooners football Pro Day inside the Everest Training Center in Norman, Okla., Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Ou Football Pro Day. © BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Everybody is enamored with this man — defensive coordinator Brian Flores, linebackers coach Mike Siravo, and even Bleacher Report.

The new Vikings coach, Siravo, called Asamoah “a gifted athlete” this week and said he “brings unreal energy.”

“He’s one of those chess pieces that you’re going to see him all over the field. He could rush, he could drop, he can do a bunch of different things. He’s athletic enough to play man,” Siravo added.

Moreover, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine labeled one player from every team a ‘best-kept secret,’ and Asamoah took the title for Minnesota. “The Vikings obviously have some faith that Asamoah will be able to step into a starting role this season. They released Kendricks and only signed Troy Reeder, a soon-to-be 29-year-old who was a reserve linebacker for the Chargers last year, to replace him.”

Suddenly, folks are high on Asamoah, and that really, really matters at OTAs.

2. Mattison Sounds Like an RB1

The Vikings 2021 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 1
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) in action against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Speaking to Vikings.com at OTAs, Mattison said, “I’m happy. I love it here. I always tell people I wouldn’t rather play anywhere else. It’s just an unbelievable organization, an unbelievable locker room, a team full of amazing guys, amazing coaches and amazing staff, so I’m blessed to be back.”

The man seems like ‘the guy’ for RB1 at Vikings OTAs, confirming what Vikings enthusiasts have suspected for most of the offseason after Mattison re-signed in March. He’s walking and talking like an RB1, while Dalvin Cook was not present this week.

And don’t look now, but Minnesota will run the ball more this season. Mattison spilled the beans, “We all knew the run game was an area of improvement we needed, so coming into this year, there’s more emphasis. Being in Year 1 in this offense, it was something that throughout the process is learning new things, so that’s a year of foundation that we have, can look back on that at what we need to correct and do well, what we don’t do as well and improve. It’s definitely been a little more emphasis.”

3. The Defense Is ‘Intense’

Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Lewis Cine (6) during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings offensive players used various adjectives to describe the other side of the ball — exotic, intense, and crazy. In some regards, that’s no surprise because they were accustomed to Ed Donatell’s non-aggressive system.

No matter who the new defensive coordinator might be, one would expect the defensive players to compliment the happenings at OTAs. But it was the offenders who were chiming in, almost in a ‘my goodness — what is this sorcery?’ sense.

4. Brian Flores Is the Captain Now

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores takes over the team’s defense at an introductory press conference on February 15th, 2023, in Eagan, Minnesota.

Flores took the microphone this week and described his philosophy, embracement of competition, and hinted at the summer program for Minnesota’s new defense. He wasn’t bashful and had full command of the room.

The man was a head coach in Miami for a reason; he’s very much in charge and is known for his no-nonsense style.

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Minnesota is asking a lot from Flores — to fix a defense transitioning loaded with veterans to youthful newcomers — and if anyone can handle the task, it feels like it would be him.

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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