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2023 NFL Team Offseason Roundup: Minnesota Vikings

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It’s time to look ahead to the 2023 NFL season! Follow along with all our fantasy football team offseason roundups here.

It’s been a very busy NFL offseason, with free agent signings, coaching changes and several new players entering the league via the NFL Draft. As we prepare for the 2023 fantasy football season, it’s critical to have a full understanding of each team’s offseason moves. Our NFL team roundup series today covers the Minnesota Vikings. 

 

2023 NFL Team Roundup: Minnesota Vikings

2022 Results

Record: 13-4; 1st in the NFC North 
Season End: lost 31-24 to the Giants in the Wild Card Round

Minnesota Vikings Offseason Summary

Draft 

1.23: Jordan Addison, WR, USC
3.102: Mekhi Blackmon, CB, USC
4.134: Jay Ward, DB, LSU
5.141: Jaquelin Roy, DT, LSU
5.164: Jaren Hall, QB, BYU
7.222: DeWayne McBride, RB, UAB

Jordan Addison, WR (1.23)

At least from the moment they cut Adam Thielen free (and maybe before that), the Vikings were favored to take a wide receiver in the draft, and they did so with their first pick, grabbing 2021 Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison. Addison fell from 100 receptions, 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2021 for Pitt to 59, 875 and 8 for USC in 2022, but he’s still got massive upside, especially as a secondary target behind Justin Jefferson in what should be an improved Minnesota passing attack.

Mekhi Blackmon, CB (3.102)

The Vikings lost a couple picks in the T.J. Hockenson trade, so after Addison in the first, they weren’t able to grab any surefire difference-makers. But with Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley and Chandon Sullivan all leaving this offseason, and only Byron Murphy added in free agency, it would help this defense a lot if third-round rookie (and former Addison teammate) Mekhi Blackmon can contribute right away.

DeWayne McBride, RB (7.222)

With Dalvin Cook jettisoned, Alexander Mattison is set to be the Minnesota starter this year. But that’s a shaky starter, and with question marks behind him (Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu), DeWayne McBride could find himself very relevant very fast, even as a seventh-round rookie.

Additions

Free agent signings: TE Josh Oliver, CB Byron Murphy, EDGE Marcus Davenport, EDGE Dean Lowry, WR Brandon Powell, LB Troy Reeder, CB Joejuan Williams

Josh Oliver, TE

Josh Oliver Minnesota Vikings 2023 Fantasy Football Offseason Roundup

The Vikings’ big 2023 addition came late in 2022, when they traded for TE T.J. Hockenson. But Josh Oliver could be a running mate for Hockenson. Oliver never popped in Jacksonville or Baltimore, with only 26 career receptions for 230 yards, but he had plenty of preseason flashes and is a favorite in some prospect circles. 

Byron Murphy, CB

Byron Murphy never fulfilled his second-round promise from 2019 in Arizona, but he improved over the years, with a career-high 4 interceptions in 2021 and a career-best 66.7 PFF grade last year. The Vikings will need him to take another leap in 2023 as he replaces several outgoing members of this secondary.

Brian Flores, DC

The Vikings needed a change on defense, and they started at the top, bringing in Brian Flores after the former Dolphins head coach spent a year as the Steelers senior defensive assistant. Regardless the reason, Flores was a bit of a surprise fire in Miami, and his defensive bona fides aren’t really under question. His personnel might not be elite (except at linebacker, where the Vikings shine), but Flores brings plenty of savvy.

Departures

RB Dalvin Cook, WR Adam Thielen, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, CB Patrick Peterson, LB Eric Kendricks, TE Irv Smith, CB Duke Shelley, CB Chandon Sullivan, CB Kris Boyd, WR Bisi Johnson

Dalvin Cook, RB

Dalvin Cook topped 1,100 rushing yards each of his last four years in Minnesota, but he had a career-low 4.4 yards per carry in 2021 and turns 28 before the season. We’ll see where he lands in free agency, but his departure opens the door for longtime handcuff favorite Alexander Mattison.

Adam Thielen, WR

Among undrafted wide receivers, only Rod Smith, Wes Welker and Drew Pearson have more career PPR points than Adam Thielen’s 1,553.4 (and he’ll likely pass Pearson this year). He was a big-time force in his peak in Minnesota, but his numbers had dropped pretty dramatically the last two years, so the team moved on.

Irv Smith, TE

Irv Smith was a popular breakout pick every year in Minnesota, but between injury and Kyle Rudolph and T.J. Hockenson, it never happened. He’ll now get the chance to try again in Cincinnati, where there are plenty of receivers to contend with but not much else at tight end. 

 

Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Outlook

The three most interesting Vikings fantasy options:

Alexander Mattison, RB

Alexander Mattison has six career starts and finished RB13 or better in five of them (including top-eight four times). He was one of the top handcuffs in fantasy the last few years, though that strategy bit some managers last year when Dalvin Cook played all 17 games, meaning Mattison’s only top-25 weekly finish came in the meaningless Week 18. With Cook now gone, Mattison will have to answer the question of whether he is actually fantasy starter-worthy or if he was only good as a “sometimes use” backup.

Justin Jefferson, WR

Justin Jefferson Minnesota Vikings 2023 Fantasy Football Offseason Roundup

Sometimes “interesting” doesn’t mean “wide range of outcomes,” because barring injury, Justin Jefferson doesn’t really have that. He could finish as WR1. He could finish as WR3. Could he finish as WR8? It seems unlikely. He’s a top-top receiver in a top-top situation, and he seems to have few barriers in the way of another top-three finish.

T.J. Hockenson, TE

Before his midseason trade to Minnesota last year, T.J. Hockenson was an up-and-down performer, with only one game of more than 11 PPR points but that game a 39.9-point, 2-score, 179-yard explosion. After the trade, though, he was one of the most consistent tight ends in the league, with seven TE1 finishes in nine games before a meaningless Week 18 in which he barely played. If that half-season in Minnesota is what we can expect from Hockenson in 2023, he’s battling Mark Andrews for TE2 behind Travis Kelce.

2023 Outlook

DraftKings Sportsbook Wins Over/Under: 8.5 (-130)
NFC North odds: +250

You won’t get much argument in any football circles against the Vikings being one of the most fortunate teams in recent football history in 2022, winning 13 games and notching the NFC 3 seed despite a negative point differential. It’s good when teams see themselves as they are and not what some surface numbers might have indicated, and the Vikings appeared to recognize they weren’t actually a 13-4 collection of talent, cutting Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen loose, bringing in Brian Flores to help the defense and starting a retooling. With no clear favorite in the NFC North, even a bit more good fortune could help them win it again, but right now they have work to do.

Previous 2023 NFL Team Offseason Roundup: Detroit Lions Next 2023 Fantasy Coaching & Coordinator Breakdown: New England Patriots

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