3 Vikings Quietly Playing Well in 2023

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The Minnesota Vikings have six games remaining in the 2023 regular season agenda and are in total command of reaching the playoffs, so long as they finish the season with a 3-3 record at worst the rest of the way.

3 Vikings Quietly Playing Well in 2023

The team’s five-game win streak after Week 5 really changed everything.

And performances from unsung players in 2023 have helped the club turn fortunes around from a 1-4 record in October.

Quietly Playing Well
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These three unsung Vikings players are currently playing quite well and are listed alphabetically.

1. Andrew Booth (CB)

Fears Confirmed: Vikings Rookie Lost for Season
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PFF Grade: 63.9
Snaps Played:
69 (defense)

Booth hasn’t played too much, but when defensive coordinator Brian Flores dialed his number, Booth hasn’t disappointed. Flores likes to switch between Booth and rookie corner Mekhi Blackmon — who is also playing well — so Booth doesn’t see oodles of playing time as a sophomore.

However, Vikings fans curiously wrote Booth off this summer, anxious to blame the team’s general manager [for unknown reasons] for the draft pick in April 2022. Booth’s rookie season was beset by injury, and then he didn’t seize a 2023 starter’s job at training camp or in the preseason.

Folks labeled him a bust and moved on after a single season, but that was premature. Booth performs quite sufficiently when called upon in 2023, suggesting his story hasn’t been fully written.

Perhaps draft picks shouldn’t be panned after one season.

2. Theo Jackson (S)

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PFF Grade: 82.8
Snaps Played:
78 (defense)

The Vikings have more safety than blades of grass in a Minnesota meadow. They kept six on the opening-day roster, and some fans wondered — why?

Well, it’s because all of them are ballers.

Jackson doesn’t see the field all the time, but when he does, he makes plays. Consider Minnesota’s Week 2 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles. While that game was still within reach, Jackson snagged an interception from the heavens, one of the first transactions of his NFL career.

Jackson won’t see much playing time due to the roles of Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum, and Harrison Smith, but he’s hungry and productive when called upon. The PFF grade is proof.

3. Josh Oliver (TE)

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PFF Grade: 81.3
Snaps Played:
29 (offense)

Oliver is an expensive backup tight end; that is non-debatable.

But don’t look now — PFF considers Oliver the third-best TE in all of football, if that can believed. He can catch the ball, but the former Baltimore Raven specializes in run-blocking, which the Vikings desperately need in 2023.

Oliver is also insurance in the event T.J. Hockenson misses a game or two. Indeed, Hockenson is a target hog and Pro Bowler, but if Oliver had to fill in, Minnesota’s offense wouldn’t wholly die.

The 26-year-old executes the dirty grunt work within the Vikings’ offense and catches passes thrown in his direction. Yes, please.

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.