A Full Vikings Rebuild Shouldn’t Be Necessary

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) celebrates with fullback C.J. Ham (behind) center Garrett Bradbury (56) and tight end Irv Smith (84) after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to forget that Minnesota is only 3-4. True, that’s far from impressive, but it’s also far from disastrous. Heck, the Vikings may even pull off an unlikely road win against Baltimore, bringing the team back to a respectable .500 record. Of course, mediocrity is far from anyone’s ideal, so change will need to occur. In all likelihood, that change would need to happen mostly at the coaching level. Indeed, the Vikings would have relatively little to do when it comes to rebuilding their roster. This isn’t a team with a massive talent deficiency, which is largely why the season has been so frustrating.

Back in September, I published an article that discusses how Minnesota has the NFL’s youngest offense. That’s even with old guys like Adam Thielen and Kirk Cousins in prominent positions:

From there, our skill position guys are either in their mid or early 20s. Dalvin Cook is one of the most seasoned veterans and he’s still only 26. Rookie phenom Justin Jefferson – who will soon be sophomore phenom Justin Jefferson – is only 22. Moreover, our offensive line is very, very young. Brian O’Neill was recently signed to a sizeable extension, but he’s just now entering the 4th year of his rookie deal. Garrett Bradbury and Oli Udoh are entering their 3rd years; Ezra Cleveland his second. Rookie Christian Darrisaw will one day be our starter at LT; until then, the 29-year-old Rashod Hill will start

That basically sums it up. There is a young offensive line and young skill players. Toss K.J. Osborn and Irv Smith into the mix and it’s easy to see how this offense could quickly reassert itself next season.

The defense will need more work, but they’re not that far off. Xavier Woods is only 26; Cameron Dantzler is 23. Armon Watts (PFF‘s 17th-ranked DT) is 25, and Danielle Hunter is 27. Keep in mind that the team has also made an effort to bring in defensive depth in the draft over the past several years. This list includes Kris Boyd, Harrison Hand, Troy Dye, Patrick Jones II, Josh Metellus, D.J. Wonnum, James Lynch, Chazz Surratt, and Camryn Bynum (among others). Will all of them turn into impact players? Definitely not. Some of them will be solid contributors, though. One or two may emerge as tier-1 players at their position.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that something needs to change in Minnesota. Some have been speculating about the process of rebuilding the Vikings roster, but there really isn’t a massive amount to do on that front. It’s entirely plausible that a new coaching staff could come in and get far different results from the same group of talent. That’s not to say that there shouldn’t be any changes to the personnel. Rather, it’s the basic fact that this Vikings team actually has a lot of talent. They could accomplish so much more.

The Ravens game will indeed be a massive one when it comes to the direction of this team. A loss may lead to a change in the coaching staff.