Super Bowl 58 Roster Matchup: Could the Vikings Overcome the Chiefs?
The Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl 58 bid fell short in 2023. The Vikings sputtered to 7-10 due to injuries at key positions.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson missed many games, though they played at elite levels when active. Kirk Cousins was heating up for some potential MVP votes down the stretch. Jefferson somehow, someway, hit the 1,000-yard mark despite missing seven games. The defense was no longer a problem.
In this thought exercise, the NFL delivers a different Super Bowl rematch for the Chiefs. This is a chance for redemption for the Vikings after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV, 23-7. The Vikings were heavily favored in that game, opening as 13-point favorites.
Here, the Vikings made it to the Super Bowl in 2024, triumphing over the Eagles and Lions in the playoffs. Here’s what the roster comparisons would have looked like for Super Bowl 58.
Despite a losing record to open the season, Cousins was playing excellently and only getting better, even with Justin Jefferson out. If Cousins had maintained his trajectory against the upcoming easy opponents, he could have been considered for MVP by righting the ship.
2023 Per Game Statistics: 291 Yards, 69.5% Completion Rate, 2.25 Touchdowns, .63 Interceptions.
It’s pretty impressive that Mahomes maintained per-game rates similar to Cousin’s excellent season despite having an abysmal receiver corps that cost them games.
2023 Per Game Statistics: 296 Yards, 66.5% Completion Rate, 2.28 Touchdowns, .66 Interceptions.
Ty Chandler, Alexander Mattison
Chandler eventually overtook Mattison for the starting role, and he showed some promise as a rusher before disappearing into the dysfunctional end of the season.
PFF Rush Grade and League Rank: Chandler’s 77.2 was 27th, and Mattison’s 70.2 was 44th amongst running backs with at least 60 attempts.
Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire
Pacheco had a fine sophomore season, rushing for 1,189 yards, 4.4 yards per carry, and 10 rushing touchdowns. He would have matched up well against a Vikings defense that was gashed by the run at times in 2023.
PFF Rush Grade and League Rank: Pacheco’s 84.7 was tied for 9th, and Edwards-Helaire’s 64.9 was tied for 53rd amongst running backs with 60 attempts.
Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, K.J. Osborn
Jefferson and Addison both look like the best receiver duo going forward. Despite a turbulent season, both receivers had shown they were superstars despite it.
Jefferson averaged at least 106 yards per game for the second season in a row, which is just bonkers. Justin Jefferson averages 98 yards per game, the most in NFL history. Calvin Johnson and Antonio Brown are next with 86.1 and 84.2 yards per game, respectively.
Rashee Rice, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kadarius Toney
Rashee Rice has taken off in the second half of the season, delivering a desperately needed reliable presence for Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs desperately need to replace Valdes-Scantling and Toney before the 2024 season.
T.J. Hockenson, Josh Oliver
Hockenson delivered the goods in his second season as a Viking. He posted a nearly identical stat line to Kelce, and both had 15 games played. Josh Oliver is one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.
Per StatMuse, Hockenson had 960 yards on 95 receptions for five touchdowns and 64 yards per game.
Travis Kelce, Noah Gray
Kelce has enjoyed a return to grace during this playoff stretch, but many were jumping ship throughout the season. Just like with Mahomes, it’s impressive his down year is still elite.
Per StatMuse, Kelce had 984 yards on 93 receptions for five touchdowns and 65.6 yards per game.
Christian Darrisaw, Dalton Risner, Garrett Bradbury, Ed Ingram, Brian O’Neill
The Vikings’ offensive line finally looked like a strength in 2023, welcoming Risner into the fold.
PFF Pass Block Grade: 74.4 ranked 3/32;
PFF Run Block Grade: 65.2 ranked 10/32.
Donovan Smith, Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, Trey Smith, Jawaan Taylor
The Chiefs have been having technical issues with their tackles all season long, but otherwise, they have an excellent offensive line, too.
PFF Pass Block Grade: 71.4 ranked 7/32;
PFF Run Block Grade: 60.4 ranked 17/32.
Danielle Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, Pat Jones II
Hunter had a great year with 16.5 sacks, but many of those were clean-ups. Wonnum stepped up after a failed Marcus Davenport experiment, but the group still needs a significant facelift. Many sacks were generated with the scheme.
PFF Pass Rush Grade: 60 ranked 31/32.
George Karlaftis, Mike Danna, Charles Omenihu
Karlaftis keeps taking steps toward being the next powerful pass rusher in Kansas City. Danna and Omenihu are underrated contributors.
PFF Pass Rush Grade: 75 ranked 17/32.
Harrison Phillips, Jonathan Bullard
Phillips and Bullard were the unsung heroes of the Vikings’ front seven. The Vikings could use more of a pass-rush presence here.
PFF Rush Defense Grade: 62.5 ranked 19/32.
Chris Jones, Tershawn Wharton
Chris Jones returned with a contract renegotiation, and it immediately paid dividends for the Chiefs. They wouldn’t be here without Jones, one of the best players in the entire league.
PFF Rush Defense Grade: 63.1 ranked 16/32.
Ivan Pace Jr, Jordan Hicks, Troy Dye
Hicks is an intelligent player and good leader but is miscast in this Flores scheme. Pace Jr will be a superstar in this league and showed flashes of that in 2023.
The Above Players’ Average PFF Grade: 70.8.
Drew Tranquill, Nick Bolton, Leo Chenal
The Chiefs focused on building this defense inside out a few years ago, which paid off this year. The Chiefs have the best off-ball linebacker depth in the league, with Willie Gay not included here. That’s the deciding factor.
The Above Players’ Average PFF Grade: 70.2.
Byron Murphy Jr., Akayleb Evans, Mekhi Blackmon
Byron Murphy Jr was the prize addition this year in a shaky position for the Vikings, but it wasn’t enough. Blackmon showed promise, but Evans took a step back in 2023.
The Above Players’ Average PFF Coverage Grade: 60.8.
Trent McDuffie, L’Jarius Sneed, Joshua Williams
McDuffie and Sneed were two of the best cornerbacks in the entire league in 2023. There is no better duo right now.
The Above Players’ Average PFF Coverage Grade: 77.4.
Harrison Smith, Camryn Bynum, Josh Metellus
The Vikings had the best collective safety group in the league. All three deserve recognition. This group was the driving force behind the defense’s success in 2023.
The Above Players’ Average PFF Grade: 70.4.
Justin Reid, Mike Edwards, Chamarri Conner
The Chiefs do an excellent job of rotating their safeties and using them to their strengths. Reid is an All-Pro level player.
The Above Players’ Average PFF Grade: 65.7.
Based on the roster comparisons for Super Bowl 58, it’s clear that both the Vikings and the Chiefs have strong teams with talented players. While the Vikings have an edge in some areas, such as their safeties and wide receivers, the Chiefs have a formidable talent littered throughout the defense.
Chris Jones vs Garrett Bradbury would be a big concern leading up to the game. This hypothetical Super Bowl would be a rematch of Super Bowl IV, with the Vikings seeking redemption for their defeat. Unfortunately, this game would come down to some good old painful Vikings “luck”. The Vikings would pull us in close, making us believe that, finally, it was our year. Only to be crushed without mercy.
Rapid Fire Vikings News: 4 Updates to Get You Caught Up