The Top 30 Most Weird and Wild Moments of Vikings 2023 Season
The Minnesota Vikings capped a weird and wild season four weeks ago, winning just seven games and finishing in third place inside the NFC North.
The Top 30 Most Weird and Wild Moments of Vikings 2023 Season
The ride was beset by peaks, valleys, and oddities, so let’s re-live 30 of them. The weirdness is ranked in ascending order, so the weirdest item is at the bottom of the article.
30. The Awful “Luck Meter”
A nightmarish ordeal, the Vikings were the unluckiest team in the NFL this season, by the numbers, and the Green Bay Packers were the luckiest. Because, of course, that’s how it’d turn out.
29. People Thought Andrew Booth Punched a Packer
Folks on social media tried to say, “Andrew Booth punched a Packers player,” but the observation was made up. A Packers personality inadvertently hit Aaron Jones. Too bad, so sad.
28. Adam Thielen Joins CAR Hoping to Win the Super Bowl
The Vikings released Adam Thielen last March, an expected cap casualty amid Minnesota’s competitive rebuild phase. Thielen then joined the Panthers, a team he said could win the Super Bowl in 2023.
Carolina ended up with the NFL’s worst record.
27. All the Creed Stuff
Almost every Vikings highlight was accompanied by Creed music for about three weeks. Life was humming, the Vikings were winning, and the purpose felt Higher.
Then, everything tunneled south.
26. Allegedly Willing to Trade up for Bryce Young, Anthony Richardson
After the 2023 NFL Draft, some credible reporting suggested the Vikings wanted to trade up for Bryce Young if he tumbled out of the No. 1 spot. He didn’t.
Not long ago, Anthony Richardson was reportedly the guy Minnesota had circled for a splashy trade. It led folks to believe general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could make his move at quarterback this year. We shall see.
25. Death of Flores Defense Aligns with Nick Mullens as Starter
Weeks 1-3 = 26th
Weeks 4-14 = 1st
Weeks 15-17 = 31st
The moment Nick Mullens took over as the starter, the Vikings’ defense died. Like to a tee. Had it not, Mullens might’ve had some Joe Flacco-like fanfare and media coverage.
24. Gunning the Final Play vs. LAC — and INT
The Vikings offense thought it could gun it in a Week 3 game against the Chargers, hoping to keep Los Angeles’ defense off-balance on the final meaningful play. If T.J. Hockenson hauled in this pass, Kevin O’Connell would’ve been touted as brilliant. The pass was intercepted, and suddenly, the Vikings’ strategy was stupid.
23. Dalton Risner Campaigning to Join Vikings
Risner told Vikings fans on Twitter for weeks that he’d like to join Minnesota’s roster. The Vikings eventually made it happen. Ask, and you shall receive.
22. No Run Game Improvement
Vikings fans were told all offseason that running the ball more efficiently was a foremost priority. Then this happened:
Vikings Rushing Offense DVOA:
2022 = 27th
2023 = 27th
Nothing changed, and the ground attacked might’ve regressed.
21. Jefferson’s Fumble Touchback at PHI
The Vikings + Justin Jefferson were victimized by “the worst rule in sports” in Week 2. The fumble-touchback rule stunted Minnesota’s momentum against the then-mighty Eagles when Jefferson stretched for the goal line and fumbled the rock out of the endzone. This rule could be changed this offseason.
20. Lions Fan Sign Applauds T.J. Hockenson’s Injury
This sign held by a Lions fan cheered the injuries to T.J. Hockenson and Rams TE Tyler Higbee. Days later, Detroit orchestrated the largest meltdown in NFC Championship history.
19. Ivan Pace Arrives — and Is a Stud
Ivan Pace told everyone on Instagram last spring, “Y’all done f–ked up” for not drafting him. He was right. Pace was voted First-Team All-Rookie in 2023 by the Pro Football Writers of America as a rookie.
18. Mike Florio Chides Kirk Cousins for Attending a Twins Game
In October, Cousins impromptu went to a Minnesota Twins playoff game. Cousins cannot do anything without folks getting mad, and the baseball game was no different.
ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio wrote about the event, “More specifically, are you willing to pass on going to a baseball game five days before facing Patrick Mahomes in a game that will result in your team being either 1-4 or 2-3? Cousins has every right to take the day off. Do you think Mahomes did? Do you think any of the great ones do?”
Florio added, “Again, Cousins has the right to take any and every Tuesday off that he wants. But as we search for reasons why there’s a ceiling over how much he can accomplish professionally, let’s not ignore a fairly important factor that is staring us right in the face.”
Soon after, Florio changed his tune on Cousins after the Vikings toppled the San Francisco 49ers.
17. The QB Carousel
Life after Cousins was rough and tumble. Head coach Kevin O’Connell started and benched three quarterbacks before settling on Nick Mullens for good. Most Vikings were paranoid about a quarterback carousel after Cousins tore his Achilles, and the fear was completely reasonable. The carousel happened.
16. Adofo-Mensah + O’Connell Allegedly on Hotseat
Right after the Vikings lost to the Detroit Lions — several fans wanted the Vikings to lose for a better draft pick — “fire Adofo-Mensah and O’Connell” fodder circulated the internet.
The duo has produced a 20-14 (.588) in the last two years, the ninth-best record in the NFL. Firing either after a 7-10 season sans the QB1 for half of it or Justin Jefferson for seven games would’ve been utter kneejerk lunacy.
15. T.J. Hockenson’s Ear Infection Healed by Contract Extension
The Vikings’ tight end was hoping for a contract extension near the end of summer, and it eventually arrived. But he didn’t hit the practice field because of an ear infection in the meantime.
The moment he got paid, the ear malady seemed to fix itself.
14. Lewis Cine Buried on Depth Chart
A favorite talker among Vikings fans, Cine didn’t see the field too much in 2023. Many attached the “bust” label to his resume. His leg snapped in October 2022, but few recognized that as a reason for his delayed development. Cine has an all-important 2024 season upcoming, and it didn’t help his on-the-field growth that Minnesota was unusually deep at safety with Harrison Smith, Josh Metellus, and Camryn Bynum.
13. When Justin Jefferson Would Be Mad about a Loss, Folks Would Say He Didn’t Want to Re-Sign with the Vikings
Any time the Vikings lost a game and Jefferson was shown melancholy about the loss on the sidelines, fans could not stop themselves from tweeting, “He wants out of Minnesota. Look at him.” Or something to that effect.
Never mind the fact that he probably hates losing.
12. Fumbles in 1st Quarter
Nearly every Vikings game in the first half of the season featured a 1st Quarter fumble or interception. As soon as they fixed the problem, they rattled off five consecutive dubs. Funny how that works.
11. Marcus Davenport Disappears Entirely after High Ankle Sprain
Davenport sprained his ankle in Week 6, and no one ever saw him again on a regular season field. Vanished.
10. Wes Phillips’ DUI
Right before the Vikings traveled to Las Vegas, offensive coordinator Wes Phillips was popped for a DUI. Very little came of it afterward.
9. Beating the Raiders 3-0
This was the Vikings’ last win of the season. Brian Flores’ defense was in peak form, shutting out the Raiders 3-0. Joshua Dobbs found the bench late in the game, and Nick Mullens guided Minnesota to a game-winning field goal. Dobbs never took another snap for the Vikings.
8. Jake Browning Yelling at Vikings Executives + Coaches Not with the Team
Inexplicably, former Vikings quarterback Jake Browning started yelling at Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer after his Bengals beat the Vikings in Week 15. Spielman and Zimmer haven’t worked for the Vikings in two years.
QB NFL Ranking,
Before Raging about Vikings = 2nd
After Raging about Vikings = 23rd
7. Anthony Barr Signs out of Nowhere
Folks were minding their business in November, and then bam — Minnesota fired up a reunion with Anthony Barr, a free agent at the time.
Through no fault of Barr personally, the Vikings started losing games right after he arrived and finished the season 1-5.
6. The Brandon Powell Tush Push
The Vikings tried this play twice with Brandon Powell, not a mammoth human, as the tush pusher.
Most Vikings hated everything about the play but probably would’ve been mad, too, if Mullens had handed the ball to Chandler and he had been dropped for a loss.
5. Cousins’ Skol Chant
One of the coolest moments of the season, Kirk Cousins showed up on Monday Night Football (New Year’s Eve) to sound the Gjallarhorn before a game against the Packers. His son was with him, and both dudes ripped off their shirts to pump up the crowd.
It was a fantastic bit, but the Vikings were spanked by Green Bay soon after.
4. Jordan Addison Popped for Driving 140 MPH
Before he started scoring touchdowns in the regular season for the Vikings, Jordan Addison was cited for reckless driving in July. He was traveling 140 MPH, which obviously raised eyebrows. He claimed it was a dog emergency.
3. Cousins Tears Achilles at the Precise Moment Vikings Turn Season Around
In Week 8, Minnesota grabbed a 24-3 lead at Lambeau Field over the Packers, one week after defeating the 49ers at home in primetime. The season was truly turned around. The playoffs felt realistic. Cousins tore his Achilles 45 minutes later. That’s life for Minnesota sports fans.
2. Vikings Win 5 in a Row without Justin Jefferson
Jefferson injured his hamstring against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5, dropping the Vikings to a stinky 1-4 record. He’d later miss seven games. Vikings fans wondered, “What are we going to do without Jefferson? This team is already terrible.”
They won the next five.
Minnesota traded for Dobbs two days after Cousins was lost for the season. He was inserted into the lineup five days later and had to learn Vikings football on the fly, with O’Connell telling him what to do in the huddle through a helmet speaker.
He sparked two Vikings wins and nudged the team back into postseason contention. The NFL featured Dobbs all over the place, and DobbsMania was really a thing.
The meter ran out after two games, though, and the quarterback carousel went full tilt.
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).