A Thanksgiving Feast Fit for a Viking

Plates of food from different eras re shown with place settings." We Gather Together an new exhibit at the Plimoth Pawtuxet Museums in Plymouth chronicles the Thanksgiving tradition of gathering for a ml with fiends and family on Monday September 27, 2021 092721 Gd Ply Thanks04 Jpg

It’s officially the holiday season, and per usual, we get to kick it off with a Thanksgiving dinner and some football.

Amidst this festive time of year, I thought it’d be a fun opportunity to mix up the content a little bit to talk about what we’ve seen from the Vikings this season with a little holiday twist. While you are preparing whatever you will be enjoying this Turkey Day, let’s take a look at the Thanksgiving feast that the Vikings have cooked up for fans this year.

Turkey: Kevin O’Connell

Thanksgiving Feast
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell looks on before the game against the New York Giants at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The turkey is the show stopper, the main event of any Thanksgiving dinner. If the turkey is dry and underwhelming, the dinner is going to have a much lower chance of satisfying guests. Likewise, there isn’t quite anything like carving a freshly cooked bird to find that it’s cooked perfectly.

Amidst so many star players like Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson going down with injury, Kevin O’Connell has still led the Vikings to a 6-5 record and a strong playoff position. It isn’t Thanksgiving without a turkey, and the Vikings wouldn’t be anywhere near the playoffs without their head coach.

Mashed Potatoes: The Offensive Line

The History of the Vikings Selecting at No. 23 Overall in the NFL Draft
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (2) reacts center Garrett Bradbury (56) and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Old reliable. As long as you don’t dreadfully overcook them, it’s tough to screw up the mashed potatoes. All you need to do is throw enough butter and salt in there, and you’re pretty much set. If you aren’t enjoying much of what’s available, you can always just load your plate up with some mashed potatoes and gravy, and you’ll be happy. 

This year, the offensive line of the Vikings has completely turned around from what they’ve been in previous years. Through Week 11, Minnesota’s group has been one of the best units in the league, and they will need that continued success throughout the remainder of the season.

Stuffing: Jonathan Bullard and Harrison Phillips

Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jonathan Bullard (93) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

A good stuffing (or dressing, whichever you call it) is another key piece to any great Thanksgiving meal. It complements everything on the plate and serves as a great filler bite in between all the other dishes on the plate.

Fittingly, we’re giving the stuffing to Jonathan Bullard and Harrison Phillips, who have done a great job of rejuvenating the Vikings run defense. The duo has consistently come through making key stops for the defensive line all year long.

Sweet Potatoes: Jordan Hicks

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts after making a stop against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Sweet potatoes (or yams, whichever you’re enjoying on Thursday), are probably the brightest dish on your Thanksgiving plate. They are also the indulgence that we get to enjoy with our dinners because, let’s be honest, they are probably loaded up with enough butter and sugar to be considered a dessert. But hey, if you don’t say anything, I won’t, either.

The re-emergence of Jordan Hicks has been the sweet ingredient that the Vikings have needed on the defensive side of the ball. He’s been a complete playmaker this year, being a terrific run-stopper and showing consistent effort in pass coverage.

Gravy: Josh Dobbs

Nov 19, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Viking quarterback Joshua Dobbs (15) drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos in the first half at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Gravy makes just about everything at the Thanksgiving table better. It’s the perfect complementary piece to any turkey, and it has its fingerprints all over a plate.

When Kirk Cousins went down with his injury, the Vikings needed someone to step up and play the quarterback position at an effective level. Josh Dobbs has come in and done just that. Minnesota’s winning streak may be over (for now), but their continued success has been in large part to Dobbs’ willingness to come in, learn a new offense, and operate it very well.

Hot Sauce: Brian Flores

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Oct 15, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores watches his team play against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Have you ever tried drenching a slice of turkey or some mashed potatoes in hot sauce? I’d recommend it this Thanksgiving if not. It gives a bit of a different, tangy flavor profile than the usual ones you’ll find on the table this weekend.

That is exactly what Brian Flores has added to the Vikings defense. His spicy flair has turned a unit that once lived at the bottom of the league into a very productive group.

Pumpkin Pie: Justin Jefferson

Oct 8, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of a Thanksgiving dinner, you need a little sweet dessert to fill in all the cracks. Pumpkin pie is something everyone looks forward to when they finish up a meal.

Similarly, Vikings fans anxiously await the return of their superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Perhaps it won’t happen this weekend, but Jefferson’s presence in the offense will give the Vikings a sweet little flair to end the season.

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.