The Top 4 Storylines Heading into Vikings Training Camp

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Most NFL experts and Vegas sportsbooks believe the Detroit Lions will win the NFC North in 2023. The Minnesota Vikings are slated to finish in second place.

Minnesota begins a quest to prove those folks wrong this Sunday as rookies report to Eagan for the start of training camp. Everyone else arrives two days later.

The Top 4 Storylines Heading into Vikings Training Camp

And while you follow the happenings at camp, these are the top four Vikings storylines, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

4. Jordan Addison’s Gaffe

Storylines Heading into
Minnesota Vikings WR Jordan Addison watching a video of himself on draft night — accidentally hanging up on the Vikings general manager and head coach. Minnesota selected Addison with the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

This man was stopped by Minnesota State Patrol in the Twin Cities two days ago for traveling 85 MPH over the speed limit on a freeway — not ideal.

Now, a few days later, he’ll report to Vikings training camp after vowing to swear off the nefarious behavior. After the rocky start, folks will monitor his off-the-field demeanor — hopefully he’s telling the truth, and the shenanigans are over — and his on-the-field flair.

The Vikings used supreme draft capital to acquire Addison in April, and he can’t just become a nothingburger in the vein of Laquon Treadwell seven years ago.

All eyes are on Addison next week, rest assured.

3. Progression of Lewis Cine and Andrew Booth

Grim Injury News for Vikings CB
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Speaking of draft picks producing, Minnesota desperately needs second-year leaps from Booth and Cine, two members of Brian Flores’ new secondary.

Cine broke his leg last October, prematurely punctuating his rookie campaign. The 2022 1st-Rounder must make a splash in 2023. Otherwise, the bust whispers will turn to blares. On the other hand, Booth battled injuries, too, but when he was on the field — in the preseason and regular season — he looked lost. Minnesota urgently needs an existing cornerback, in addition to newcomer Byron Murphy, to blossom.

The progression of Cine and Booth will reflect how well general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is at scouting the draft. Two strikeouts would be borderline unforgivable.

2. Danielle Hunter’s Absence

One Viking Totally
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

This one is a cloud. An expensive cloud.

Alas, Danielle Hunter has put his foot down and no longer wants any part of his team-friendly deal. He’s scheduled to earn just $5.5 in ‘new money’ this season, a puny figure for a Top 10 EDGE defender. Accordingly, he held out of minicamp in June and appears poised to skip training camp.

Hunter is the Vikings best defensive player, and playoff contendership cannot be taken too seriously without Hunter on the roster — or a Hunter-like player in return via trade.

Until Hunter is extended or traded, Vikings fans will remain on Hunter Watch.

1. The CB2 Victor

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.

You can feel that uneasy, foreboding feeling in the pit of your stomach, can’t ya? Yes, that’s your ability to trust the Vikings cornerback room, at least in its current format.

Based on current roster construction, the Vikings will venture into the 2023 season with one of the youngest and most unproved batches of CBs in the sport’s history. Ergo, new defensive coordinator Brian Flores needs Andrew Booth or Akayleb Evans to emerge and grab the CB2 job with ease.

And if neither man is up for the task, Adofo-Mensah must sprint to the free-agent wire for a man like Marcus Peters or Eli Apple.

With no Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, or Cameron Dantzler on the roster, the identity and performance of the Vikings ‘other cornerback’ will determine how seriously the club can pursue the postseason.

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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