Drafting an All-NFC North Offense

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis III (24) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The NFC North offers some excellent talent.

True, there are other divisions in football capable of assembling a better assemblage of players, but the cluster of offensive weapons piling up in this division is impressive. What’s the best we could possibly do if we took all of the division’s best players and tossed them onto a single team?

The NFC North and The Best Possible Offense

Justin Jefferson is the easiest decision out there. After him, it’s probably Penei Sewell, the stud right tackle who calls Michigan home.

Starting with Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Sewell is a nice place to be. Jefferson is the NFL’s best wide receiver and Sewell is among the very best tackles. Brian O’Neill is an excellent player, but the nod has to go to his Lions counterpart. So, no disrespect to Mr. O’Neill, who is a great player.

Syndication: USA TODAY
Offensive tackle Penei Sewell caught a pass for a first down against the Vikings last week. How fun is that? Syndication Detroit Free Press

Opposite Sewell is going to be Christian Darrisaw, the underrated left tackle who has the potential to be the NFL’s LT1. No, he isn’t there yet, but he’s already a borderline elite player and deserves to form a tremendous partnership with Mr. Sewell.

In fact, let’s step back and get the offensive line sorted out. Here’s how things would look in the All NFC North o-line room: Christian Darrisaw — Elgton Jenkins — Frank Ragnow — Graham Glasgow — Penei Sewell. That’s a front five that’s going to inspire a ton of fear into defenses.

And then lining up alongside that OL is going to be T.J. Hockenson, the lone tight end to make the team. Yes, Sam LaPorta is good. Yes, Sam LaPorta was a second-team All Pro, but let’s be honest: that spot was Hockenson’s were it not for the knee injury. He would have cleared 100 catches and 1,000 yards had he remained healthy. Currently, Hockenson is the best tight end in the division.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) celebrates his touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Kick things out wide. Jefferson, of course, is going to claim a spot. Still only 25, Jefferson may still be getting better.

Joining him are Detroit’s Amon-Ra St. Brown — a sensational player and competitor — alongside Chicago’s D.J. Moore — an underrated player with sneaky size. That trio is going to be a nightmare to matchup with for any defense, no matter how talented.

Who runs the football? The Vikings’ Aaron Jones has a pretty strong claim at being the best runner. Yes, Jahmyr Gibbs oozes talent, but is the veteran still the better option at this stage? As a rookie, Gibbs averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns while adding on 52 catches for 316 yards. Hard to overlook that kind of production, so give the nod to Detroit’s young runner.

Oct 1, 2023; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a touchdown pass as Carolina Panthers cornerback D’Shawn Jamison (29) defends in the third quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, the game’s most important position and where the NFC North would be a clear step behind a lot of other divisions. One thinks of the AFC West where Justin Herbert would need to be left off the team since Patrick Mahomes would get included as an example of the kind of problem the North does not have.

The contestants are Jared Goff, Jordan Love, Caleb Williams, and … Sam Darnold. Safe to say Minnesota isn’t getting their combatant onto the team. Of the remaining trio, Williams has the highest upside, but the decision needs to be Mr. Goff. Goff has proven that he can do strong work if he’s given great support. In this totally fictional universe, Goff has all the support he could possibly hope for.

In the end, Detroit sends over six players while Minnesota contributes three. Chicago and Green Bay each kick in a single player.

Darrisaw (MIN)Jenkins (GB)Ragnow (DET)Glasgow (DET)Sewell (DET)

Jefferson (MIN)Hockenson (MIN)Goff (DET) Moore (CHI)St. Brown (DET)

Gibbs (DET)

Disagree? Let me know on social media.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and PFF helped with this piece.

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.