The 3 Most Underrated Offseason Storylines for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings didn’t qualify for the postseason in 2023, finishing 3-6 after a 4-4 start. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was injured in Week 8 at Lambeau Field, and the club never recovered. Resultantly, Minnesota holds the 11th overall pick in April’s draft.

The 3 Most Underrated Offseason Storylines for Vikings

The Vikings have a few major offseason matters to tend to, like the aforementioned Cousins free agency. Minnesota must also decide on Danielle Hunter’s future and determine if longtime safety Harrison Smith will return.

3 Most Underrated
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But several other underrated storylines twist in the Vikings’ stratosphere, and these are those ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most underrated storyline).

3. Who’s the Kicker

The Lessons Learned from Vikings Remarkable Comeback
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Serving as the Vikings kicker since the start of 2021, Greg Joseph is always kind of the same guy, with the personality trait for game-winning kicks and an enormous meh outside of pressure-cooked situations.

In back-to-back seasons, he’s ranked in the NFL’s bottom six per field goal accuracy percentage. Indeed, he’s clutch with the game on the line, but it’s also necessary for a kicker to hit “normal” field goals.

Ka’imi Fairbairn, Will Lutz, Greg Zuerlein, Nick Folk, and Brandon McManus, among others, are scheduled to hit free agency on March 11th. Minnesota could also use the draft for a kicker like Will Reichard of Alabama.

The Vikings may want to find a way to “do both” — employ a kicker whose talent thrives via regular kicks and game-winners. Plus, Joseph is a free agent.

2. A WR3 Needed

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K.J. Osborn is a free agent, Jalen Nailor doesn’t stay healthy for long stretches, and it’s debatable whether Brandon Powell, also a free agent, is a true-blue WR3.

So, the Vikings quietly need a WR3 from free agency — that begins in about two weeks — the 2024 NFL Draft or promoting from within. That could be Osborn for a fifth season, Powell in a sequel, Nailor with a clean bill of health — or a big-name free agent like Noah Brown, Darnell Mooney, or Marquise Brown.

Meanwhile, tight end T.J. Hockenson will likely miss the start of the 2024 regular season, meaning the new WR3 will have an enhanced role, at least for a while.

1. How to Fix the Run Game

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Here’s the statistic to know about the Minnesota Vikings’ 2023 rushing attack:

Vikings Rushing Offense DVOA:

2022 = 27th
2023 = 27th

The Vikings’ leaders said all last offseason that the ground game would improve. But it did not. These are the Vikings’ running backs under contract in 2024:

  • RB1: Ty Chandler
  • RB2: Alexander Mattison
  • RB3: Kene Nwangwu
  • RB4: DeWayne McBride
  • RB5: Myles Gaskin

Minnesota must decide if that fivesome is sufficient, and if not, hit the open market for a free-agent runner like D’Andre Swift or explore the draft for a rookie like Bucky Irving (Oregon) or MarShawn Lloyd (USC). The moral of the story is this: the Vikings’ offense will never cook without at least a competent running game.


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.

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