The Vikings 5 Big Summer Storylines

CB2 Mystery
Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) after a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota Vikings training camp kicks off in 35 days, the preseason in 47 days, and the purple team hosts the Tampa Bay Buccanneers to start the regular season in 78 days.

Football is afoot.

The Vikings 5 Big Summer Storylines

Concurrently, fans must know what to expect and watch for, right? That’s what this publication is for, leading folks into the Vikings 2023 summer.

So, these are the Vikings five big summer storylines, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

5. Jaren Hall in August

The Vikings 5 Big
rookie minicamp highlights from Minnesota Vikings quarterback Jaren Hall’s first practice as a Viking after being selected in the 2023 NFL Draft. Minnesota found Hall in Round 5 of the event, and he could serve as QB3 in 2023.

One might not find a 5th-Round quarterback very fascinating, but Jaren Hall is the only possible quarterback of the future in the Vikings roster orbit not named Kirk Cousins. And that same Cousins will play on the final year of his deal in 2023.

There is a chance, albeit small, that Hall emerges as ‘the guy’ at QB1 after Kirk Cousins, but at age 25, that must happen sooner than later. Therefore, Vikings fans will intently watch Hall’s training camp and preseason to see if he’s possibly the real deal.

At least his preseason exhibitions will be more exciting than Sean Mannion’s.

4. The Weird Cut

Vikings Clearing Cap
Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the 2023 NFL Combine the Week of February 27th. The Vikings have the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Last summer, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah waived Armon Watts and Ihmir Smith-Marsette in somewhat surprising transactions. Had you asked Vikings fans if Watts or Smith-Marsette were on the chopping block in July of 2022, they would’ve deemed the theorist nuts.

Ergo, some surprise moves could once again rattle the Vikings roster. This time, though, the transactions will likely occur on August 29th, when all roster trimdowns are mandated from 90 men to 53.

In the last year’s ilk — meaning folks would be utterly shocked — we’re talking Patrick Jones, Jordan Hicks, Khyiris Tonga, or Camryn Bynum for this category. Although, for now, it’s unlikely that any of those four men get released.

3. Other Free Agent Signings or Trades

Dec 8, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) runs onto the field prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports.

Don’t look now, but Minnesota ranks eighth in available cap space as of June 23rd. The Vikings have the money to explore free agency’s sexiest names, including Marcus Peters (CB), Yannick Ngakoue (OLB), Robert Quinn (OLB), Ndamukong Suh (DT), Dalton Risner (OG), etc.

Adofo-Mensah has also shown his ardor for trading players and picks since taking the Vikings big job, acquiring T.J. Hockenson, Jalen Reagor, and Ross Blacklock last year.

Who will it be? The club will probably add newcomers between now and the start of the regular season.

2. Who Wins the CB2 Job?

Be Slept
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marquez Callaway (1) catches the ball as Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) defends in the fourth quarter during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Spring and summer momentum seems to indicate second-year CB Akayleb Evans will take the CB2 job home, but spring and summer momentum doesn’t always translate to Week 1 outcome.

The Vikings chose not to re-sign Duke Shelley, who was fantastic last year, this offseason and parted ways with Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Chandon Sullivan, and Kris Boyd. Somebody has to win the CB2 job next to Byron Murphy — and thrive.

If the Vikings fire up an underwhelming season in 2023, it will likely be due to poor CB play.

1. ‘The Extensions’

Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

‘The Extensions’ almost sounds like an episode from a really good syndicated TV drama. Coincidentally, monitoring Vikings players’ summer contract extensions has the oomph for a miniseries pilot.

Danielle Hunter wants a new deal and deservedly so. He’ll be traded or hold out into the regular season if he doesn’t get one. Justin Jefferson and T.J. Hockenson are shoo-ins for large extensions, but when will the Vikings actually put pen to paper?

Primarily because of Hunter — he’s the franchise’s best defensive player — extensions or lack thereof will dominate all Vikings-themed chatter until completion.

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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