5 Predictions for the Minnesota Vikings’ Offseason

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mercifully, the season is done.

The Minnesota Vikings finished their year with a 7-10 record. Some of that mediocrity has been beyond their control. A healthier Achilles for Mr. Cousins and a healthier hamstring for Mr. Jefferson certainly would have helped. But then the reality also exists that Minnesota played no small part in their demise on several occasions.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta scores a touchdown during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.

In the coming months, PurplePTSD will be breaking down not only how the season unfolded but, crucially, why the season unfolded.

Looking back, of course, is simply one way of assessing things for the Vikings. Maybe even more interesting is when we look forward. After all, that’s where all of the purple hope rests. So, take a look at a five-pack of purple predictions for the pre-training camp portion of the offseason.

5 Predictions for The Minnesota Vikings

#1 — The Vikings Re-Sign Danielle Hunter and Kirk Cousins … While Also Giving Justin Jefferson His Mega Extension

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) catches a pass for a touchdown and celebrates with wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) during second half of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Sound ambitious? Good. That’s the point.

And, to be sure, the deals play off of each other. Extending Jefferson has the potential of freeing up nearly $15 million. In other words, financing the Hunter and/or Cousins retention(s) could emanate from attaching the WR1 to Minnesota’s roster for years to come.

Look for a two-year extension for Cousins, a three-year extension for Hunter, and a four-year extension for Jefferson.

#2 — Kevin O’Connell’s Coaching Staff Gets a Shake Up

Dec 24, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrates after Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandlers (32) touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Ending a season without getting into the postseason always opens the possibility for change, especially when the expectations were high in Eagan.

Lately, the chatter about Brian Flores getting a head coaching gig has cooled off since Minnesota’s defense has been horrendous since the waning moments of the Bengals game in Week 15. Flores, though, is still a worthy candidate for a head coach position, so let’s see if the NFL more broadly agrees.

Moving beyond the DC points toward room for some shuffling. One wonders if there could be league interest in the other two coordinators — Matt Daniels for special teams, Wes Phillips for offense — or a position coach like Keenan McCardell. Plus, we can’t rule out O’Connell looking to implement his own changes by replacing some of his staff.

Continuing with an entirely identical coaching staff would be a surprise, so Prediction #2 isn’t ultra bold. Nevertheless, the evolution of the coaching staff is something to monitor. Whether via hiring or firing, the Vikings’ coaching staff is going to see some change.

#3 — Minnesota’s Front Seven Loses the Majority of Its Starters

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff talks with a teammate after a play against the Minnesota Vikings defense at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024.

Ivan Pace is locked and loaded as one of the starting off-ball linebackers for 2023. After the UDFA, nothing is certain.

Jordan Hicks will be a free agent. So, too, will Jonathan Bullard, D.J. Wonnum, Troy Dye, Marcus Davenport, Khyiris Tonga, and Hunter (among others). Harrison Phillips is coming in at a hefty $8.83 million cap charge and Dean Lowry’s $4.6 million cap hit is expensive. Any change upcoming for those who are still under contract?

A 3-4 defense, by definition, points toward seven players within the base group (three for the DL, two for OLB, and two for LB). Look for Pace and Hunter to return. The rest is shrouded in mystery, but make no mistake: overhauling the front seven is among the most urgent needs for the Minnesota Vikings.

#4 — The 2022 Draft Class Continues to Implode

Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) catches a pass and shakes a tackle attempt by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) during first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

At least there’s Ed Ingram and Akayleb Evans, right?

In Week 18, neither one helped the Vikings. In fairness, Ingram was recovering from an injury, so the hope within Eagan is that a quick return to health and further growth will lead to an impact right guard for several more seasons. What about Evans, though?

His confidence looked to be entirely gone in recent games. He has been benched and played poorly when on the field. He played in all of the Green Bay game but was picked on from start to finish. Even in a tilt where Minnesota’s safeties were forced to play corner, the Packers went after Evans and were rewarded for doing so.

Esezi Otomewo and Vederian Lowe are already gone (the former cut, the latter traded). Lewis Cine’s future in Minnesota looks bleak. Andrew Booth Jr. did better as a sophomore, but he’s a long way from living up to his draft status. Ty Chandler has had some nice moments and Nick Muse looks like the favorite to become the team’s TE3.

Add it all together, though, and things are looking bad for the GM’s first draft. Does he move out some of the players from this class?

#5 — By Training Camp, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Will be Up to 25 Trades

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

First, let’s acknowledge the obvious: I’m talking total trades in his career as the Vikings’ GM, not just trades during the 2024 offseason. He currently sits at nineteen trades.

Even still, the prediction is reasonably bold (if I could say so myself).

Generally speaking, the young GM has done most of his swapping during the NFL’s three main trading periods: the draft, the end of training camp, and the in-season trade deadline. I’m banking on Adofo-Mensah going against his trend by pulling off a deal or two leading up to the 2024 NFL Draft. He then hits 25 total trades between the business he pulls off over the draft and then during the summer.

Editor’s Note: Information from Over the Cap 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.