Vikings Offseason Shocker: 7 Wild and Crazy Predictions

VikingsTerritory writers were asked to provide one prediction apiece for the Minnesota Vikings offseason shocker. Thinking wild and crazy was encouraged.

NFL free agency begins in one week, and the NFL draft is about seven weeks away.

Vikings Offseason Shocker: 7 Wild and Crazy Predictions

Some predictions will [sort of] double up as the panel did not use groupthink tactics during the exercise. In those circumstances, consider the prediction all the more popular.

1. Ezra Cleveland Traded

Vikings Offseason Shocker
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings guard Ezra Cleveland (72) on the sidelines before a game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Adam New

Minnesota needs to free up cap space and garner some more draft capital. They can do both with a trade of left guard Ezra Cleveland.

During three seasons as a Viking, Cleveland has stood out as a serviceable guard among struggling players. Excelling in run blocking and just about getting by as a pass blocker, Cleveland has done “okay.”

However, Kevin O’Connell’s pass-oriented offensive scheme needs better pass protection from the interior. With Cleveland in the last year of his rookie contract, a payday is around the corner and not something I believe the Vikings should be invested in. If the Vikings can find a trade partner that runs a more run-heavy scheme, they might pull the trigger.

That team could become enamored with Cleveland’s run-blocking ability — an 80.3 run-blocking grade via PFF. The result? Value picks and a cap saving of nearly $3 million.

2. Trade for Big-Name Defender

Vikings Fans Have a Clear Plan for the First-Round Pick
Feb 28, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo‐Mensah speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Ali Siddiqui

The Vikings will trade for a big-name defender — someone who’s been a multiple-time pro bowler. Given the team’s salary cap situation, it won’t be easy, but they will find a way.

3. A Trade into Top 10 for QB

Mar 3, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (QB11) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Cole Smith

The biggest shocker of the Vikings offseason will be when Kwesi Adofo-Mensah trades into the Top 10 on draft night to get their quarterback of the future.

The team interviewed Anthony Richardson, and it’s been reported that Kevin O’Connell is a fan of Will Levis. Whoever they take, the Vikings will be one of many teams who rattle the NFL world on April 27.

4. Vikings Draft RB Bijan Robinson

Texas running back Bijan Robinson (5) celebrates a touchdown during the annual Red River Showdown against Oklahoma at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas, on Oct. 8, 2022. © Aaron Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Prediction Maker = Dustin Baker

While this is unlikely to occur in the grand scheme of the Vikings offseason, if they do something truly funky, it’ll be the selection of Bijan Robinson, ending the Dalvin Cook era.

This would require Robinson falling to the 23rd overall spot, a longshot per some draft brains. However, employing a Saquonish talent in Robinson would force Minnesota to run the ball once in a while — a daunting task for the team that rushed the pigskin the third least in 2022.

Minnesota probably won’t have a genuine jaw-dropper during the offseason — unless you consider long-time veterans leaving the organization a surprise — but pencil Robinson in at No. 23 if Adofo-Mensah is feeling frisky.

5. Vikings Land a TRUE Top FA

Sep 25, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Jamel Dean (35) against the Green Bay Packers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction Maker = Kyle Joudry

The main shocker of the Vikings offseason is that they acquire a true top free agent

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signs someone to a really large contract, backloading things, so there isn’t a major hit in the 2023 budget. Jamel Dean would make a lot of sense, and so, too, would Tremaine Edmunds. We’ll see what the Vikings GM decides to do.

6. Vikings Draft Hendon Hooker

Dec 30, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks on before the 2022 Orange Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Prediction Maker = Janik Eckardt

The Vikings miss out on the top passers in the draft but identify Hendon Hooker as a successor for Kirk Cousins.

A Heisman runner-up, Hooker is coming off a torn ACL but showed excellent play in 2022, including 32 total touchdowns and only two interceptions with Tennessee in the strong SEC.

7. Kirk Cousins Traded

Picks Another Fight
Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) drops back to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

Prediction Maker = Ted Schwerzler

I think it has to be Kirk Cousins traded. It’s not all that likely, but nothing would trump that.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by