6 Theories on the Vikings’ Top Offseason Priority

This Is the Week You Cheer for the Packers
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings’ season will end on Sunday unless a four-team scenario sneaks the team into the postseason. Minnesota must topple the Lions in Detroit — that feels unlikely — and hope the Packers lose, the Seahawks lose, and either the Buccaneers or Saints lose.

6 Theories on the Vikings’ Top Offseason Priority

So, the offseason is just days away, and we asked all VikingsTerritory writers to identify the top, foremost offseason priority. These are the replies.

1. Overhaul Defensive Front 7

6 Theories
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Priority Provided by: Kyle Joudry

The top offseason priority is to overhaul the front seven. Yes, Ivan Pace looks like a long-term solution at LB, and the hope is that Danielle Hunter gets brought back, but that’s a crew that’s still in desperate need of at least one more excellent pass rusher, a playmaker at defensive tackle, and then a strong off-ball linebacker.

So, lots of work to do on this front (pun intended), meaning the Vikings would be wise to consider retaining + developing internal talent, free agents, and then options in the draft.

2. Keep Brian Flores

Aspect of Vikings
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Priority Provided by: Adam New

The Vikings’ defense has faltered from the unit that excited everyone over the season’s middle period. Teams see what you’re doing in the NFL and react accordingly. Coupled with key injuries (Wonnum and Murphy) to a squad that already lacked top-end quality and depth, the Vikings defense is finishing the season struggling.

Give Flores an injection of talent, particularly at CB, IDL, and OLB, and we should see a Vikings defense that is more consistent and the perfect platform to build everything else from.

3. Build the Trenches

Sack Master
Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Priority Provided by: Nate Powalie

Develop the trenches. Dalton Risner was a solid midseason free-agency pickup to plug in at guard. But Ed Ingram has shown some flashes of him needing extra work. On the defensive side, the line’s interior needs someone to complement Harrison Phillips. Sheldon Day is adequate, but the Vikes need someone to help plug the gaps up the middle.

4. Build the Trenches & Get a QB

the Basement for
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Priority Provided by: Wes Johnson

The Vikings’ offseason focus needs to be twofold. They need to have a plan at QB. If it brings back Cousins, they also need a viable backup in the draft. If it’s going to get your future in the first round, then it’s figuring out a capable backup who can handle a few weeks on their own. Without Cousins this season, the warts showed.

Secondly, fix the trenches, specifically on the defensive/DT side. Offensively, they got pushed around as the season wore on as well. I can see the Vikings taking the top DT in the draft and grabbing a QB in the second round to be groomed behind Cousins.

5. DRAFT a Quarterback

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports.

Priority Provided by: Dustin Baker

If the Vikings want to re-sign Kirk Cousins — neat. Do it.

But no matter what — no matter the price — identify and draft the future quarterback. If Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has to give up three 1st-Rounders for Drake Maye, so be it. Nobody will care about the trade price if the quarterback turns out to be the face of the franchise.

And if the future QB1 is terrible, well, the draft picks will return by the time everyone renders that verdict.

With or without Cousins, draft the QB1.

t6. Get a QB

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Priority Provided by: Janik Eckardt

Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall are the only passers under contract for the upcoming season, and they are better suited for the backup roles. The Vikings must either re-sign Kirk Cousins or find his successor in the draft in the 2024 offseason.

t6. Get a QB

Fans Have the Worst
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports.

Priority Provided by: Ali Siddiqui

Do they bring back Kirk Cousins? If so, for how much? Which quarterback do they also draft? Do they trade up for one? While Cousins is the Vikings’ most important player, it would not be a bad decision if they lean more towards keeping Danielle Hunter and sign a cheap veteran quarterback while grooming the rookie.

t6. Get a QB

Quarterback Jayden Daniels 5 runs the ball as the LSU Tigers take on Georgia State in Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, November 18, 2023. © SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Priority Provided by: Cole Smith

The Vikings’ top off-season priority right now is securing their quarterback of the future. Whether Kirk Cousins returns or not, the Vikings need insurance for not only the 2024 season but beyond. He will be 36 when the season begins and coming off an Achilles tear. If he is healthy, the young QB can sit and learn the system. If he isn’t healthy or signs elsewhere, the future begins now.

t6. Get a QB

December 31, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy (9) throws a pass during the pregame before the Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium.

Ncaa Fiesta Bowl Game

Priority Provided by: Ted Schwerzler

The quarterback is the most critical position in sports, and right now, the Vikings don’t have one. Kirk Cousins is a free agent, and the backups don’t even look like that. Whether using a high-round pick or bringing someone else in, there is no more important position for them to get right.

t6. Get a QB

Recommends Fire Sale
Tennessee Titans general manager Ran Carthon chats with Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah during practice in Eagan, Minn., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Priority Provided by: Josh Frey

Regardless of who is in the lineup in 2024, it doesn’t change the fact that an NFL team has a very rigid ceiling without a quality starting QB. The Vikings have proven that they cannot play consistently winning football without Kirk Cousins yet, and there are only so many quality years left in the veteran’s career. The Vikings should look long and hard at the QB position this offseason and do everything they can to bring in their future quarterback.

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.