The Vikings’ 3-Part To-Do List for the Bye Week

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The Minnesota Vikings have a week off after losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Next up are the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14, a club also enjoying a bye.

Minnesota is 6-6 through 12 weeks and has a 58.3% shot at the postseason, according to ESPN.

The Vikings’ 3-Part To-Do List for the Bye Week

Several items can be cleaned up for flat-out fixed by the Vikings, especially following the recent two-game skid. The time is now for corrective measures if the franchise wants to reach the postseason.

List for the Bye
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This is the Vikings’ three-part to-do list, with repairs ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most important item).

3. Feed the WRs

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While Joshua Dobbs’ brief win streak in Minnesota was categorically supersonic, he’s not adept at throwing outside the numbers, and WRs have suffered accordingly. Dobbs prefers the T.J. Hockenson Show — which is fine — but the Vikings employ Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison. Hockenson should be a cake-topper in the remaining five games.

In its current state, the Vikings’ offense will only heal on the fly by feeding Jefferson and Addison. Minnesota drafted Addison for a reason, and it wasn’t to throw at Hockenson more often.

Whichever quarterback is tabbed for QB1 duty in eight days must connect with Jefferson + Addison over and over.

2. Choose a QB

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall (16) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports. Aug 19, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Nick Mullens (12) drops back to throw a pass during the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

If one has followed Vikings news in the last five days, this one is quite self-evident.

Minnesota has a quarterback controversy for the first time in a decade, or at least a true toss-up who the QB1 could be for certain. In 2017, Case Keenum was “the guy” indisputably and unswervingly, even when Teddy Bridgewater returned to full health.

Kevin O’Connell has said he wants his quarterback to target Jefferson to the utmost while not turning the ball over. Fans have debated and will continue to discuss whose talent toolbag is best for those two tasks — Jaren Hall, Joshua Dobbs, or Nick Mullens.

It could truly go either way. But O’Connell will announce the man’s identity in the next week.

1. Fix the RB Game Once and For All

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The Vikings rank 28th in the NFL per rushing EPA/Play. That’s fifth worst. In 2020, they ranked eighth per the same metric; it was Dalvin Cook’s best season as a pro.

Between now and next Sunday, Minnesota must find the special balance between Alexander Mattison, Ty Chandler, and Kene Nwangwu. It may not happen because it probably would have by now, but there’s always a glimmer of hope that the Vikings’ coaching staff, offensive line, and runners “figure it out” during the home stretch.

Mattison is more experienced. Chandler has more burst. Nwangwu is faster than both combined. Minnesota cannot do anything in the playoffs — or maybe not even reach them — if it cannot run the ball to close out football games.

If this isn’t accomplished, drafting a premium running back in April will likely be on the menu.

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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