5 Hot Takes for Vikings 2023 Season

Sep 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) celebrates during the fourth quarter against Seattle Seahawks at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings regular season begins in 36 days, taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 10th.

Before that, Minnesota plays three preseason games — one on the road and two at home in August.

5 Hot Takes for Vikings 2023 Season

And to get you thinking about the peaks and valleys of the 2023 seasons, these are five hot takes regarding the purple ranked in no particular order.

1. Vikings Will Duel for the Division with Packers, Not Lions

Takes for Vikings 2023
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) celebrates scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bears during their football game Sunday, December 4, at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. © Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

The entire offseason — as in the whole thing — has embraced the Detroit Lions when spitballing the NFC North frontrunner. Outside of a few folks here and there, Detroit has been unanimously selected as the team to beat — even after the Vikings tallied a 13-4 record last year.

Well, even though Aaron Rodgers no longer works for the Green Bay Packers, the Wisconsin team will stay afloat thanks to admirable-but-not-HOF performance from Jordan Love. Green Bay will be decent and relevant to the tune of a 9-8 or 10-7 record.

The Lions should be set aside in a ‘believe when you see it’ category, but most folks don’t have the patience. They’re ready for Detroit to be respectable now. That’s the glory of getting cast on Hard Knocks, evidently.

2. K.J. Osborn Plays Final Season in Minnesota

The Vikings 2022 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 12
Nov 6, 2022; Landover, Maryland, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) stands on the field during warmup prior to the game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

The only way Osborn has a clear path to the 2024 roster — not this year but next — is if Jordan Addison plays like a total imbecile. The Vikings spent 1st-Round draft capital on Addison, which means the man should have a WR1 or WR2 ceiling. In Minnesota, that translates to WR2 because Justin Jefferson reigns.

Osborn could show up to 2023 and grab 90 receptions for 1,300 yards — and still probably hit free agency next year. Unless one believes Addison’s career will derail shortly, Osborn is really just auditioning for 2024 free-agency suitors this season, at least per his long-term plan.

The Vikings need Addison to emerge as the WR2; it was the objective when they used high draft capital on him. Unfortunately, Addison’s arrival to the team likely signaled the end for Osborn in purple.

3. Vikings Defense Is Actually Pretty Good — Not Just ‘Not Horrible’

Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores takes over the team’s defense at an introductory press conference on February 15th, 2023, in Eagan, Minnesota.

Teams rarely transform from 30th in points allowed — that’s a Vikings statistic from last year — to a Top 10 group in one offseason. The 2020 Dallas Cowboys evolved in one year from a rancid defense to a wonderful one in 2021. But they drafted Micah Parsons and hired Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator.

Still, with Brian Flores’ brain and the infusion of youth, speed, and attitude, Minnesota’s defense will play quite well in 2023, possibly in the neighborhood of 12th to 14th in points allowed. And because the Vikings defense was so rotten at times in 2022 — go re-watch the playoff game against the New York Giants — it will feel markedly improved, too.

4. The Vikings Will Sign Ndamukong Suh

Feb 10, 2021; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Ndamukong Suh holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy during a boat parade to celebrate victory in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sport.

James Lynch tore his ACL on Thursday night at Vikings training camp. Defensive tackles Jonathan Bullard and Ross Blacklock already live on the roster bubble. Free-agent newcomer Dean Lowry is a good — not great — football player.

All of these items are jelling to suggest Minnesota will sign Ndamukong Suh sometime in the next 1-3 months. Suh told NFL media several weeks ago that he’ll be back to play in 2023 but had zero interest in training camp.

The Vikings were reportedly interested in the future Hall of Famer last summer; maybe they’ll close the deal this year to beef up the defensive trenches.

5. Minnesota Goes 3-1 or 2-2 against Mahomes, Hurts, Burrow, and Herbert

AFC/NFC Championship Picks
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throws in the first quarter during an NFL divisional playoff football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023, at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y. © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Vikings fans peered at the 2023 schedule a few months ago, saw Patrick Mahomes, Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow, and Justin Herbert on the agenda, and thought, “Oh, no.”

We’ll trust Brian Flores in those four games to marinate some defensive magic, propelling the Vikings offense along the way — and the team to a .500 record or better against Murderer’s Row of quarterbacking.

In recent Vikings history, the franchise has found trouble with unsung backup quarterbacks. It has actually surprised at times against the league’s best passers and, for example, generally had a .500 record against Aaron Rodgers in the last decade or so.

The Vikings will split the season’s schedule against the ‘Big Four.’

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.