Ranking the Top-5 Moves of the Vikings Offseason

Top-5 Moves
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores in Miami Gardens, September 15, 2019. © Allen Eyestone via Imagn Content Services, LLC.

The 2023 offseason was a rather busy one for the Minnesota Vikings, and while they can still make a few more moves, the bulk of their offseason is now behind them. With that in mind, here is a quick look at the top-5 moves that they made over the past few months.

1. Hiring Brian Flores

Offseason Stuff
Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores watches from the sideline during the second quarter of the game against the New England Patriots at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

We’re already seeing why this is the top move of Minnesota’s offseason. Flores is not only helping improve a defense that ranked among the bottom of the league in many categories under Ed Donatell, but he’s also helping the offense.

For more on how Flores is helping the offense, check out Alec Lewis’ recent piece on The Athletic, but essentially, his defenses have already been showing the offense intricate lineups in practice that they weren’t seeing last year. Reminder, the team has had all of two OTA practices together, so this is extremely promising for the season.

2. Retaining Harrison Smith

Questions Answered: Hitman Status, Darrisaw as the Real Deal, Where Was Cine?
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings parted ways with a number of veterans this offseason, particularly defensively, but they managed to keep Harrison Smith around for at least one more year by getting him to take a pay cut for 2023.

Minnesota has very few experienced players remaining in the secondary, so Smith will be relied upon to help mentor the younger guys, particularly second-year player Lewis Cine as he makes his comeback from the compound fracture suffered in Week 4 of the 2022 season.

3. Drafting Jordan Addison

Pair of Vikings Draft Picks
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison on stage after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings twenty third overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings will reap the benefits of this move more in 2024 than 2023, but with the departure of Adam Thielen, and potential free agency looming for K.J. Osborn, Minnesota could quickly be losing their depth at wide receiver.

Rather than paying Osborn a lucrative contract that other teams would be willing to fork out for a consistent player like himself, Minnesota now has the opportunity to ride out the rookie contract of Jordan Addison and his precise route-running ability.

4. Signing Byron Murphy

ESPN Lists Cardinals CB as "Best Fit" for the Vikings in Free Agency
Sep 18, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrates after scoring on a 59-yard fumble recovery in overtime against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings needed to find any kind of consistent starter to replace all the losses in their secondary, and Byron Murphy was about as strong an option as they were going to find in free agency. As long as the cornerback stays healthy this season, he offers great versatility and should be a boon to the defense.

5. Signing Josh Oliver

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Baltimore Ravens tight end Josh Oliver (84) spikes the ball after a touchdown score as tight end Mark Andrews (89) looks on and Jacksonville Jaguars safety Andre Cisco (5) is slow to get up after an attempted stop during the fourth quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jaguars edged the Ravens 28-27. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] Jki 112722 Nfl Ravens Jags 51

This may be a surprising pick, but Josh Oliver should help the Vikings offensively in a number of ways this season. Minnesota’s offense relied far too much on the passing game in 2022, and they need to find a way to become more balanced. Oliver is a terrific blocker, essentially offering a sixth offensive lineman to block in the running game.

We can’t sleep on his skills as a pass-catcher either, though. It hasn’t come up much during his NFL career, but O’Connell has shown a willingness to draw up plays for guys like Johnny Mundt in the past. Oliver caught 91 passes over 2017 and 2018 while at San Jose State, so he is certainly capable in that area.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.