Vikings Labeled “Under the Radar” Super Bowl Contender

How Crazy Was
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Not everyone sees the Minnesota Vikings’ competitive rebuild strategy as confusing or doom and gloom.

The Vikings hired general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah a bit over two years ago, and since the young executive took over, Minnesota’s roster has undergone some of the most tremendous change in the NFL.

Vikings Labeled “Under the Radar” Super Bowl Contender

Many onlookers scratch their heads about the competitive rebuild philosophy, instead wanting to see the Vikings in one of two camps: completely all-in for a Super Bowl or utterly tanking to stockpile fancy draft assets. But that’s not how Adofo-Mensah does business, rather preferring to “live in both worlds” or today and tomorrow per roster construction.

the Radar
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Well, one outfit appears to understand the strategy, as Bleacher Report labeled the Vikings an “under the radar” Super Bowl contender for 2024. Along with the Houston Texans, New York Jets, Los Angeles Chargers, and Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota made the cut on BR’s Brad Gagnon’s list.

“The Minnesota Vikings’ top concern right now is to simply keep key impending free agents Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, but if they can do that, there’s a chance they could shock the football world in 2024. Remember, the Vikes were on a tear when Cousins suffered a season-ending torn Achilles injury in late October,” Gagnon wrote late last week.

Defender Earns Sweet
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

A decision on Cousins’ and Hunter’s future(s) should be around the bend within the next three weeks. Free agency begins on March 11th with “legal tampering,” and folks should know by that date if the two will remain Vikings or hit the open market.

Gagnon added, “If he returns and they can get some of that vibe back in the NFC, the weaker of the two conferences, an improbable late-career Super Bowl run isn’t out of the question. At the very least, there’s some good YOLO value in Minnesota at +5500.”

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports.

The moneyline mentioned by Gagnon indicates a bettor could wager $100 on the Vikings now to win the Super Bowl next February and earn $5,500 if Minnesota won the chip.

Minnesota is a bold offseason away from completing its competitive rebuild, and if it nails the draft choice of the future quarterback — that’s a big if — the Vikings can contend in 2024 and beyond. The franchise could also do both: re-sign Cousins for a year, two, or three, and use its 1st-Round pick on a quarterback to watch and learn behind Cousins.

Just Give Brian Flores
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

The Vikings’ defense improved from 24th in 2022 per DVOA to 11th in 2023, Brian Flores’ first year of employment. With Year No. 2 of Flores in charge, plus a perhaps fully healthy Cousins or shiny new rookie quarterback next season, Minnesota could be in a position to turn some heads. But it all boils down to making wise choices in free agency and the draft in the coming months.

ESPN, too, said this week that the Vikings are “a move or two away” from contendership.

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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