Predicting the 2023 Vikings Starters: Offense
The main chunk of free agency as well as the NFL Draft are officially in the books. With that, we are nearing the end of the roster construction stage of this offseason and entering the evaluation stage. Today, we will be beginning a two-part process of predicting the 2023 Vikings starters. Part one will be dedicated to the offense, and part two (coming out tomorrow, so check back in!) is dedicated to the defense.
Predicting the 2023 Vikings Starters
Quarterback: Kirk Cousins
Despite rumors surrounding both Cousins’ status with the Vikings and the idea that Minnesota could trade up in the first round of the draft in order to pick a QB, the veteran remains on the roster as the clear QB1. Unless a significant drop off takes place for the 35-year-old in the coming months, he should have the starting job locked up in Minnesota for 2023.
Running Back: Alexander Mattison
This is the first change from last season. The Vikings seem content with moving on from Dalvin Cook, whether it be via trade or roster cut, and that sentiment seemed to be confirmed both by the re-signing of Alexander Mattison as well as the selection of DeWayne McBride in the draft.
Wide Receiver: Justin Jefferson
Is there any surprise with this pick? Justin Jefferson has done nothing but impress over his first three years in the NFL, and assuming he gets a contract extension in the next year or so, he should be WR1 in Minnesota for years to come.
Wide Receiver: Jordan Addison
Another change from 2022, but this time, it comes as a result of the former Vikings WR2 already being off the roster. Adam Thielen is now a Carolina Panther, and as a result, the Vikings selected Jordan Addison with the 23rd overall pick in the draft. Addison should be able to jump into the offense immediately with his prowess as a route-runner and versatility to play both in the slot and on the outside.
Wide Receiver: K.J. Osborn
K.J. Osborn may not be on track to get a new contract with the Vikings anymore after the selection of Addison, but he is too talented not to be one of the top-three receivers on the Vikings roster. The past two years have seen significant growth for the receiver, and he will remain a big part of the Vikings plan for 2023.
Tight End: T.J. Hockenson
The Vikings may have the deepest tight end room in the NFL at this point, but T.J. Hockenson is still the clear number one. Josh Oliver is there largely for blocking purposes, though he could grow into being a part of the passing offense at some point.
Left Tackle: Christian Darrisaw
The Vikings face a very good problem in that they have a number of young stars that they have to pay in the coming years, and Christian Darrisaw is one of those young stars. During his second NFL season in 2022, he blossomed into one of the best left tackles in the league, and he will surely be there again in 2023.
Left Guard: Ezra Cleveland
Ezra Cleveland is quietly entering a contract year in 2023. He is going to have to play well in order to secure a long-term position with the Vikings considering the other players looking for contracts. Expect him to come into this summer extra motivated.
Center: Garrett Bradbury
There was some speculation that the Vikings would move on at center when Garrett Bradbury hit free agency this offseason, but alas, the 2019 first-round pick is back on a three-year deal. As long as he is fully healthy from the back injury that hindered him down the stretch of the 2022 season, he’ll be the starter.
Right Guard: Ed Ingram
There were certainly plenty of growing pains for Ed Ingram during his rookie year at right guard. Hopefully, the struggles in pass protection can get sorted out this season, but with how similar the Vikings offensive line depth looks to last year’s, there is very little reason to believe Ingram won’t be the starter again in 2023.
Right Tackle: Brian O’Neill
Brian O’Neill suffered a partially torn Achilles towards the end of the 2022 regular season, but since it wasn’t a complete tear, signs are pointing to him potentially being ready to return to the field as soon as the beginning of training camp. If this is proven to be correct, O’Neill will be back in his usual starting spot for Week 1.
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.