The Minnesota Vikings had a hugely successful 2022 regular season. It was head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first campaign after a tumultuous offseason that saw many new coaches and players. Despite this, the team won 13 games. In the playoffs, the franchise lost its first match, a terrible defensive performance being a big reason.
For 2023, most fans of the organization are more pessimistic. An aging team that might even get worse and a tight schedule are the two biggest concerns. However, at least one analyst is high about the 2023 season for the purple team.
Don’t underestimate the Vikings’ Super Bowl chances in 2023
CBSSports’ Cody Benjamin ranked the 12 eliminated playoff teams and their chances of winning the Super Bowl next season. The Vikings finished fourth, even better than the San Francisco 49ers, who have a loaded team and were close this year.
His first reason for optimism is the head coach.
Perhaps too much credit is given to a franchise synonymous with big-game heartbreak, but Kevin O’Connell gave the team a real injection of life in his first year on the job.
O’Connell was a wonderful attitude from general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. He brought a new culture with a lot of positive energy. The team is never without games, even when they are 33 points down at half-time.
Feuds are a thing of the past and people really seem to like each other and the positive culture that O’Connell has established in the dressing room. The change was badly needed and paid off. Benjamin’s next point of optimism is actually a cause for concern.
The “D” was an absolute sieve, but on the plus side, according to Ed Donatell, this unit almost literally can’t be any worse.
Donatell’s unit was a disaster and held the team back. Defense deserves most of the blame for losses to the Lions in the regular season and to the Giants in the postseason. Some other games were close wins, but they shouldn’t have been close, and defense held opponents in a few games.
At the end of the season, Donatell lost his job. The candidates to succeed him are Brian Flores, Sean Desai and Mike Pettine. Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero may be a dark horse candidate, but he’s arguably the best man for the job.
More importantly, Kirk Cousins has actually shown more resilience in a year of tight games, and Justin Jefferson is the kind of MVP-level threat that always gives them a chance.
Cousins played brilliantly late in the games. However, he did the same in 2021 and didn’t get nearly enough credit as the team couldn’t match the number of wins. Most of the time the defense didn’t do their job again.
Now that the quarterback has been proven to have the clutch gene, a Super Bowl run is always possible. A Joe Flacco-like postseason is something Cousins could theoretically pull off, especially given the level of play he’s capable of at a hot streak.
Justin Jefferson is outstanding. He’s one of the top players in the league and even terrible points like a fourth and an 18 are possible just by throwing the ball his way. Cousins and Jefferson forged a special bond, and Vikings are likely to have another season of the duo.
Benjamin’s last reason is very good and increases the odds of completing the first step to winning the Super Bowl – reaching the postseason.
In an NFC North in turmoil, with the Packers wild and the Bears still rebuilding, they have a way back to the competition.
The Packers are wildcards because no one knows who the quarterback will be. Longtime Vikings rival Aaron Rodgers could be traded and Jordan Love is unproven. The Bears have plenty of cap space and draft capital, but they’re unlikely to become a contender for the division in just one offseason.
Detroit has a solid team and will be everyone’s favorite when it comes to stealing the division from the Vikings. However, they have to prove it. First, they won’t win a single game with expectations. It may not be as uncontested as it was in 2022, but winning the division is entirely possible in 2023, which will be the first big step towards the ultimate goal.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and statistics. Despite quarterback Christian Ponder at the time, the Vikings became his favorite team. He is a walking football encyclopedia, loves sitcoms and classic rock is his favorite music genre. Follow him on Twitter if you like Vikings: @JanikEckardt
|TOI.NEWS Home||Click here|
Follow and Subscribe to Our YouTube, Instagram and Twitter – Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.
News & Image Credit – Click Here