4 Top Storylines for 2nd Half of Vikings Season

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The Minnesota Vikings own a 4-4 record through eight games, possessing a 51.1% probability of reaching the postseason per ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI), even after QB1 Kirk Cousins was lost for the rest of the season.

4 Top Storylines for 2nd Half of Vikings Season

The Vikings will turn to rookie passer Jaren Hall, at least for a week, this weekend as Minnesota travels to Atlanta for a date with the 4-4 Falcons.

Top Storylines for 2nd
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And with the season nearing a midpoint, a handful of Vikings storylines are utterly irresistible. These are those, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = top storyline).

4. Do Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison Soldify Status as a Top 3 WR Duo?

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Jordan Addison has arrived.

He’s played wonderfully all season, but the NFL body politic took notice on Monday Night Football two weeks ago when Addison torched the mighty San Francisco 49ers defense. The man is a touchdown machine, and the Vikings draft plan from April — getting embarrassingly rich on offense — seems completely understandable with Addison’s bust-0ut.

Now, when Justin Jefferson returns, presumably in a week or so, does the duo transform into an utter nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators, even with Cousins on the shelf?

3. Can Brian Flores’ Defense Become a Top 10 Group?

Aspect of Vikings
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Right now, believe it or not, the Vikings rank 10th per defensive DVOA. One can stand on two feet and argue the team is already a Top 10 bunch if DVOA is trustworthy.

But will it continue?

Danielle Hunter has played like a tyrant — in a good way — and must continue that pace. The Vikings are also more likely to be on the field longer defensively, as the new offense will probably dabble in more 3-and-outs sans Cousins.

Generally speaking, does the Vikings defense persist with its ascent — or level out? The former is required to create a playoff push, chiefly because Cousins is out for 2023’s remainder.

2. Is Jaren Hall QB1 Material — or Just Some Backup?

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All eyes turn to The Jaren Hall Show this Sunday.

His start is the first by a Vikings quarterback making a maiden-voyage debut since Teddy Bridgewater nine years ago. No one really knows if Hall is QB1 material or a QB2-QB3. Folks will begin to get a glimpse in Week 9.

Hall has the tools to succeed, but realizing a player’s mettle often doesn’t occur until the man steps foot on a regular season field.

1. Does the Vikings 2023 Season Resemble the 2017 Season?

Mike Zimmer
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Everything is there for the Vikings — a suddenly terrific offensive line, a hot defense, a turnover problem fixed a few weeks ago, and offensive weaponry like Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson.

But without knowing the performance ceilings of Jaren Hall, Joshua Dobbs, and Nick Mullens, folks cannot accurately predict how the season’s remainder will shake out.

If one of the three quarterbacks — Hall, Dobbs, or Mullens — is worth a damn, the Vikings should be able to win at least five of the next nine games and shimmy into the postseason. However, most NFL teams retreat into a shell like a turtle when the QB1 is lost for the season.

Will the Vikings replicate the 2005 and 2017 seasons with a winning streak the moment the QB fell injured, or is this campaign a lost cause?

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.