Dustin Baker’s Win-Loss Prediction for 2023 Vikings

Worst After Week 16
T.J. Hockenson

Sportsbooks predict the Minnesota Vikings to win between eight and nine games in 2023, a mark that has remained steady since free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft.

Dustin Baker’s Win-Loss Prediction for 2023 Vikings

Coming off a division-winning season featuring a death-defying 11-0 record in one-score games, let’s prognosticate the 2023 Vikings.

The Pick: 11-6

Prediction for 2023
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

It will remain strange until the Vikings prove otherwise that the NFL body politic believed Minnesota’s 2022 campaign was pointless. Yes, Minnesota lost in the Wildcard Round of the postseason not a good look, especially at home but somehow, the Vikings basically became the first team in sports history where “wins didn’t tell the whole story.”

Something “not telling the whole story” is typically what folks fire back with when presented with stats “Well, those stats didn’t translate to wins” is an example of an oft-referenced slogan.

The 2022 Vikings were the other way around, according to some. Stats told the story, but wins didn’t matter. It felt and still feels like a twilight zone.

Kevin O’Connell won’t guide the purple team to a 13-4 record in 2023; the schedule is too daunting. But the Vikings can win 11 games and win the NFC North.

Why This Will Be Right

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. | Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) looks on during warmups before a wild card game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings have no major issues on offense, aside from perhaps the offensive line improving. The coaching staff and front office are banking on continuity as the finishing touch on the offense, evidenced by the same group returning in 2023 from 2022.

Kirk Cousins and Co. will thrive this season, especially with Jordan Addison opening up passing lanes, so Minnesota’s floor should be considered 8-9 or 9-8. It really never gets any worse than that for a Cousins-led team. Look at his history as a QB1.

The defense will improve, not to the tune of total gangbusters but enough to look and feel much better than Ed Donatell’s 2022 rendition.

Moral of the story? A Top 10 offense and Top 16 defense will propel the Vikings to an 11-6 campaign.

How This Could Go Wrong

Vikings to Showcase
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

If the Vikings don’t furnish a winning record or they finish 9-8 and miss the postseason — it will have meant the defense was too young and inexperienced to get off the ground in Year One of Flores’ leadership.

The one-score-game supremacy could dry up because of the law of averages, and the Vikings may replicate the 2022 season with an ordinary record in close games.

Injuries could always cancel the NFC North-winning plans. For example, Minnesota likely wouldn’t head to the postseason with Nick Mullens under center for more than five games.

The litmus test is defense plain and simple. If Flores’ unit is better than Donatell’s a season ago, the Vikings will reach the playoffs for a second year in a row. A more-of-the-same continuation from 2022 on defense will spell a mediocre year.

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.