Five Precise Vikings Predictions

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

As July creeps along, allow me to unveil some Vikings predictions.

Setting these predictions apart is their specificity. The point is to put Minnesota under a microscope, zooming in to see where they’ve been recently and — more importantly — where they’re going in the future. Allow me to offer a trio for the defense and a pair for the offense. Add it all together and we’ve got five precise Vikings predictions.

Five Precise Vikings Predictions

Precise Prediction #1 — Dallas Turner Gets to 8 Sacks in Less than 500 Snaps

NFL: NFL Draft
Apr 25, 2024; Detroit, MI, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide linebacker Dallas Turner poses after being selected by the Minnesota Vikings as the No. 17 pick in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Note: the prediction isn’t about putting a cap on the young pass rusher. The goal isn’t to establish a ceiling but, rather, to speak to the efficiency of his production.

The thinking is that the long-and-strong youngster is going to thrive within Brian Flores’ aggressive defense. Blockers will be having a difficult time corralling Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and the blitzers that come from all over. Turner gets deployed in predictable passing downs to pin his ears back and does some damage.

Precise Prediction #2 — The Vikings Run More than 450 Times

NFL: Combine
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell speaks during a press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

So far, Kevin O’Connell has been allergic to a healthy run/pass balance. No longer. Kirk Cousins’ departure and Aaron Jones’ arrival means Minnesota at least pretends to care about running. Even better, the Vikings actually become pretty good at picking up ground yards. Bold, right?

In 2022, the Vikings’ backfield was led by Dalvin Cook but they had just 404 rushes, tied for 28th in the NFL. Fast forward into 2023 and things didn’t look much better, even after all of the offseason chatter about running being a priority. Minnesota finished 28th in the NFL by rushing the ball … 393 times. With some combination of Sam Darnold and J.J. McCarthy doing the heavy lifting at QB, O’Connell decides to run the ball an average amount: at least 450 times.

Precise Prediction #3 — Jaquelin Roy Starts at Least Nine Games and Clears 500 Snaps

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) sacks Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, I’ll explain that I’m a believer in Jaquelin Roy. I think the young defensive tackle is going to outperform his modest draft slot (5th Round — No. 141).

Harrison Phillips isn’t going anywhere as Minnesota’s top option at defensive tackle. The battle is taking place around Horrible Harry. Jonathan Bullard, Jerry Tillery, Levi Drake Rodriguez, Jonah Williams, Roy, and the UDFAs are looking to pickup work on Minnesota’s underwhelming d-line. I’m among those who see Roy as the diamond in the rough. Roy, 23, played in twelve games last season while starting one. He played 96 defensive snaps.

Precise Prediction #4 — Justin Jefferson Averages at Least 16.0 Yards per Catch

Syndication: The Enquirer
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass in the fourth quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals won 27-24 in overtime.

At no point in his career has Justin Jefferson averaged 16 or more yards per catch.

Part of the issue is his volume. He isn’t just some speedster who specializes in getting open down the field. Minnesota targets their WR1 in every area of the field. Even still, I think he clears the lofty mark in the fifth year of his career. Last season, only nine players averaged 16+ yards per catch. The only one to do so while hitting 80 receptions was Nico Collins. I say Jefferson surpasses 80 receptions (easily) while hitting/clearing a 16.0 yards-per-catch average.

Precise Prediction #5 — Minnesota Allows Less than 65% of Passes to be Completed

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

Brian Flores’ defense finished in last place: 70.3% of passes were completed against Minnesota. Not good.

The personnel on defense is looking more formidable, especially at edge rusher. However, the corner spot should also take a step forward since Shaq Griffin was added, Khyree Jackson was drafted, and the youngsters are now a year older. Toss it all together and Flores is going to coax stickier coverage out of his crew. Anything at 64.9% or less would be a win for this prediction.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference 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.