It’s the Panic Button for Vikings after Sunday Night

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

In 2022 and 2023, the Minnesota Vikings encountered a brief stint where no NFC North team was a total powerhouse.

It’s the Panic Button for Vikings after Sunday Night

The Green Bay Packers were beset by a blah year from Aaron Rodgers in 2022 and a development year in 2023 for Jordan Love. The Chicago Bears haven’t quite figured out their rebuild strategy, mainly because of Justin Fields’ status. And the Detroit Lions have only recently begun their version of a takeover.

the Panic Button
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

But after Sunday night, with the Packers decisively thumping the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs 48-32, the Bears owning the 1st overall pick in April’s draft, and the Lions already hoisting a division title for the first time in 30 years, it’s panic-button time for the Vikings.

Why? Well, they have to keep up.

There is no grace period. That expired. Ideally, Minnesota would’ve carried 2022 to something special — all other NFC North teams were mediocre or poor — but they lost at home in the 1st Round of the playoffs to the New York Giants.

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

If there was any doubt about the Packers — and predominantly Jordan Love’s ascension to stardom — that was vanquished in Dallas. Love may not end up as Hall of Fame-bound as Aaron Rodgers, but he’s here to stay.

So, how do the Vikings react to the panic button? The answer is simple but not easy: Minnesota must get the upcoming rookie quarterback decision right. Whichever man they settle on in the 2024 or 2025 NFL Draft at quarterback to take over after Kirk Cousins, that guy must morph into at least a Top 12 quarterback. Otherwise, Minnesota will be left in the dust by the Packers, Bears, or Lions. And it could be all three, depending on the Bears’ choice at quarterback.

Bad Luck Meter
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Realistically, Minnesota may not have the luxury of waiting until 2025. It might have to choose the rookie quarterback in April — or risk getting passed by. Assuming Chicago is on the right path — that’s a large presumption — the non-Vikings NFC North teams are already climbing. Of course, Minnesota can be right there, too, but it’s all dependent on general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah nailing the quarterback pick.

Thankfully for the Vikings’ sake, Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, Christian Darrisaw, and Brian O’Neill await the rookie passer. That man will be in glorious shape to succeed per offensive setup.

15 Injury Report
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

But Sunday night proved the NFC North lull lasted about 1.5 seasons. It’s over. The Vikings must select the proper quarterback for life after Cousins — in a hurry.

Adofo-Mensah owns the 11th pick in the draft, which isn’t bad for a team needing to trade punches with emergent rivals.

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