Vikings Could Look and Feel a Lot Different This Weekend

Only Week 6
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The Minnesota Vikings need a jolt to resume the winning ways of October and early November after losing consecutive games to the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears.

Vikings Could Look and Feel a Lot Different This Weekend

The purple team is 6-6 exiting its bye week and has around a 50% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI).

So, after the bye, Minnesota must do some winning or risk missing out on the postseason, a tournament that felt rather achievable after the Vikings toppled the New Orleans Saints in Week 10.

Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Tuesday., July 25th, 2023. The Vikings won the NFC North in Kevin O’Connell’s first year, thanks to a 13-4 record. O’Connell’s is the league’s second-youngest coach as of 2023.

Thankfully, the week could look and feel markedly different. Here’s why.

3. Akayleb Evans’ Return

Look and Feel
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The Vikings CB2 is tentatively scheduled to return at Las Vegas, as fans will monitor the injury report to ensure Evans is good to go.

Without Evans, the Vikings have utilized rookie Mekhi Blackmon, who, for the most part, has performed well for a rookie this season. However, Blackmon has still been beset by a few youngster growing pains, like a Courtland Sutton touchdown in Denver that ended the Vikings’ evening in Week 11.

Minnesota will need Evans and CB1 Byron Murphy to slow down Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers. Evans’ return will be a breath of fresh air.

2. Justin Jefferson Is Back

Last Order
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Alas, the league’s reigning Offensive Player of the Year is cleared for takeoff, formally activated by the Vikings last week, and firmly on tap to play after a seven-game absence.

Minnesota finished 5-2 without Jefferson, which was actually quite remarkable, if not mind-blowing.

Now, the Vikings need Jefferson to carry them to the postseason, as his absence was truly felt versus the Broncos and Bears. Minnesota “got away with it” — life sans Jefferson — for five games, but the offense gradually turned into a pumpkin during the last two games.

The team’s best player is back.

1. A New QB?

Line QB for 2023
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Either Joshua Dobbs, Nick Mullens, or Jaren Hall will start at quarterback for the Vikings, and if it’s not Dobbs, then Sunday will really feel like a brave new world.

Dobbs took over after Hall’s concussion in Week 9 after Hall replaced Kirk Cousins, who was lost for the season due to an Achilles tear. The journeyman, Dobbs, performed otherworldly for two games and regressed thereafter.

Head coach Kevin O’Connell will announce a QB1 before too long, and if Mullens or Hall gets the nod, the Week 14 Vikings will feel totally different than the Week 12 gang, with Mullens/Hall and Jefferson.

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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