Vikings Get a Decent Grade for 2023 Offseason
The 2023 NFL offseason is beginning to wind down with training camp just a couple months away and OTAs beginning this upcoming week. With free agency and the draft behind us, analysts have begun giving out offseason grades for every team.
Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson recently wrote such an article for each of the 32 teams, grading how each franchise did regarding their offseason moves. In Monson’s eyes, the Vikings get a decent grade, receiving a ‘B+’. Here is what the analyst had to say of Minnesota this offseason:
It was more of the same for the Vikings. They are certainly pushing to get younger, and cheaper, but not necessarily better. They traded Za’Darius Smith to get his contract off the books, but that leaves 78 pressures to find from last season. Marcus Davenport will have a chance to step into that role after coming over from New Orleans. He has never exceeded 51 pressures in a single season.
First-round pick Jordan Addison should find success early opposite Justin Jefferson, and the opportunity is there for Mekhi Blackmon to start at cornerback if he carries his college play into his first NFL preseason. DeWayne McBride was one of the best value picks of Day 3 and could have an early workload if the team elects to move on from Dalvin Cook before the season starts.
It will certainly be difficult for the Vikings to replace Za’Darius Smith’s production from last season, despite the fact that he only recorded half a sack over the final eight games of the regular season. He recorded two or fewer pressures in just four of the 16 regular season games he appeared in for Minnesota last year.
This reality makes it sting a little more that the Vikings were only able to get a pair of fifth-round picks for him, but considering it seems that he badly wanted out from the team. That likely dropped his price significantly on the trade market.
What drops the grade more than anything else, though, likely boils down to the fact that their biggest question on defense largely remains a question in late-May: the secondary.
Minnesota added Byron Murphy in free agency, but outside of that they are again relying on the unproven, young players to step up and hold down the fort on the other side of the field opposite him.
There is a decent chance that someone in the group of Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth Jr., Akayleb Evans, or Tay Gowan emerges from the pack in training camp, but until that happens, it’s hard to consider this offseason quite a home run for the Vikings. It’s more like a solid double, thus leading to the ‘B+’ grade.
11 teams in the NFL were given better grades than the Vikings this offseason, including ‘A’ grades for six teams: the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks. The Vikings came in behind the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions in the NFC North, who each received ‘A-‘ grades. The Green Bay Packers got a ‘B-‘.
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.