Ranking the 3 Vikings Best Offseason Moves

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, after a 20-17 win over the Washington Commanders in Week 9 of the 2022 regular season.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah entered his second offseason in charge of the organization with considerable salary cap problems and without much draft capital.

He managed to maneuver the Vikings ship through those issues and still formed a respectable roster. A few moves stood out and were the best for the organization, not just short-term but long-term.

Ranking the 3 Vikings Best Offseason Moves

It has been a tumultuous offseason in the Vikings’ orbit. The franchise had some offseasons without much change in the last decade – 2019 comes to mind – but this year was different. Adofo-Mensah made some significant moves.

3. Sticking with the Draft Plan

The Vikings entered the draft with multiple needs. Nobody would’ve been mad had they selected a defender to fill one of the many holes. When the quarterback Will Levis fell, they could’ve gone in that direction, as the organization must find Kirk Cousins’ successor in the near future. However, the guys in charge clearly liked Jordan Addison, and he was their target. Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell talked about how they “stuck with the plan” right after making the pick.

Ranking the 3 Best Vikings Offseason Moves
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Kevin O’Connell told his new player when they called him: “I told you we’d get you somehow, someway.” The leadership of the franchise didn’t panic. They stayed calm and did what they wanted to do. Of course, we won’t know if they made the right pick for a while, but it is a good sign that they are indeed having a plan and trusting it instead of picking the QB that nobody else wanted just because he is available. If they aren’t sold on a passer, he’s not their guy. That could be a good sign that the player they will pick at the most important position is someone they really like.

Addison is coming into the NFL as a refined player with outstanding success in college. He is an exciting running mate for Justin Jefferson for years to come. The outcome of the pick will remain a mystery for some time, but the process was fantastic.

2. Releasing the Veterans

It is never popular when longtime franchise stars depart, but it should be in this case. All three of Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Eric Kendricks will be remembered as fantastic players for the Vikes, but it was time to move on.

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Thielen and Kendricks are on the wrong side of 30, and their level of play declined drastically with the age-related loss of valuable athleticism. Cook will turn 28 in August, which is an age when running backs fall off a cliff. He was productive in 2022 because of his high volume, not his effective play.

The trio might have another solid year in them, but the production of aging players can’t be guaranteed down the road. For that reason, it was a good move to let them go, replace them with younger guys, and save an absurd amount of money in 2023 and beyond. It will be the task of Brian Asamoah, Alexander Mattison, and Jordan Addison (and K.J. Osborn) to supersede them.

1. Hiring Brian Flores

Drastic changes were inevitable for the Vikings’ defense – a unit that ranked at or near the bottom of the league in almost every statistic or metric. The first of those major changes was the dismissal of Ed Donatell after just one year with the organization. He led an uninspiring defense and appeared to call plays in fear rather than the intention to stop anyone. Not calling blitzes and sitting back instead and waiting for offenses to cave them up was a strategy that was bound to fail, and that’s precisely what happened.

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.

The goal is to slowly build a feared defense like in the good old Mike Zimmer days, and the first step was to hire Brian Flores, a well-respected coach in the NFL. The former head coach turned around the Dolphins organization within three years and formed a decent defense without great personnel.

Flores stands for an aggressive and versatile defense with plenty of blitzing. While the players on the roster aren’t better than in recent years, the hope is that the new coach can still improve the weakest part of the Vikings.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt