So, the Vikings Have Been Put on Notice?

Kirk Cousins
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings missed the playoffs this season largely because of inconsistent quarterback play after starter Kirk Cousins was lost to a season-ending injury. There’s no guarantee he’s back with the team for 2024; however, the rest of the division could be sending a clear message.

So, the Vikings Have Been Put on Notice?

There is no more important position in sports than that of an NFL quarterback. A fair amount of nuance also comes with finding the right one. If you pay a veteran handsomely as the Vikings have, you will be limited with resources available to be allocated throughout the rest of the roster. A rookie deal helps to make things work easier, and Minnesota’s competition has a mix of both.

Have Been Put
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While the Chicago Bears did not make the playoffs, it was clear that Justin Fields played significantly better football down the stretch, and the team went on a run because of that. They still own a top-10 pick, and Carolina handed them the first overall pick in exchange for Bryce Young. If they move Fields, they should get a sizable return and be able to draft Caleb Williams. If they trade the first overall pick, someone will mortgage their future on Williams, and Chicago can build around what they already have.

Two NFC North teams did make the playoffs, and both quarterbacks showed out on Sunday. First, Jordan Love took over for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, besting the Dallas Cowboys. Sure, Dallas has fallen flat in the playoffs plenty of times, and Dak Prescott may be the most overrated signal-caller in the league. That said, the Packers’ youngster toyed with a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating and ultimately finished with a 157.2 mark.

the Panic Button
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Going from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers to this version of Jordan Love is something Minnesota would love to have experienced. Rather than needing to consistently find the next franchise quarterback, the Packers have developed a pipeline of them. Regardless of what happens next week against the San Francisco 49ers, Love has developed significantly throughout this season, and Green Bay is well-positioned for the future because of it.

Then there’s the Detroit Lions, who have been hapless bottom-feeders for years. While the defense, especially through the air, still leaves plenty to be desired, the overall team has taken significant steps forward under head coach Dan Campbell. Despite the fans looking lost as they booed Matthew Stafford upon his return Sunday, the franchise deserves this return to relevance. Jared Goff has them flying high, and they’ll host a second straight playoff game next weekend.

After winning the NFC North during the regular season and putting up 12 wins behind an impressive offense, getting past the emotional contest against Stafford might have been the greatest feat. They could be a sleeper team the rest of the way, and they certainly appear here to stay within the regular season group of four.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota has no current quarterback answer, and even if it’s Cousins for the short term, they’ll need to find a longer-term plan soon. The Vikings have a handful of playmakers on offense, and Brian Flores has positioned the defense well, but there is no denying that the division has gotten significantly tougher. If Kevin O’Connell is going to push his team back to the top, then the front office and roster have to start to get a lot of things right in a hurry.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.