Minnesota Vikings 2023 Preview, Part 2: Offense/Defense/Special Teams, NFC North Predictions #SKOL
Welcome back, I have more to talk about. In this post, I will go a little more in depth about the Vikings outlook and what I expect to see from the Offense, Defense, and Special teams. We will go through what each side will look like, where things need to improve, and predictions for the 2023 season. We will also look at the other teams in the division and do shorter versions for them. Let's jump in it...and let me know what your thoughts are, if you want to discuss!
Justin Jefferson will go crazy again. He is the best non-QB in the NFL and I'm predicting another 1,400+ receiving yard season.
Running game will improve in a way that it is more consistent and reliable than it was last season. I am predicting more team rushing yards than we had last season.
Offensive Line should improve with natural development and experience. We have a Top 10 LT and RT. The Guards and Center should improve but will still be the weak spot.
Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, KJ Osborn, and Jordan Addison are going to be really tough to cover at times throughout the season.
Cousins is still Cousins. Last season was a crazy, rollercoaster ride. But Cousins is still a middle of the pack QB when push comes to shove. He plays well against sub .500 teams and doesn't have a great track record against teams above .500 teams or in primetime games. We have a tough 2023 schedule and we likely won't play against injury riddled teams again like we did last season. The impressive 8 game-winning drives last season will not happen again (and I don't think that a good or bad thing, it's just not happening).
I feel really confident about KOC, and he will improve his playcalling in 2023.
We have to limit the 3&outs. Punting is fine if you get 1st downs because it helps you win field position, helps the defense stay rested, and leads to scoring more points & winning more games. We have led the league in 3&outs over the past 5 seasons.
Cousins will be a part of multiple stupid decisions like taking a knee instead of spiking the ball to stop the clock, lining up under the guard in a pressure 4th down situation instead of the center, falling over after hiking it because he decides to step under his offensive lineman's foot, throwing the ball to the opponent instead of to his teammate, or throwing the ball 3 yards on 4th&8 with the season on the line to a heavily guarded TE. I don't know, something stupid like those examples.
We NEED to be aggressive all game. Turnovers are fine if you make consistent aggressiveness your identity.
DC Brian Flores was probably the biggest pick up the Vikings made this offseason. He is one of the best defensive minds in the NFL and a former Head Coach. I don't expect to see a huge jump this year with the overall defense, but it will be better thanks to Flores.
They will be younger, faster, and super aggressive with wild pre-snap looks and a ton more blitzes versus the 2022 defense.
Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport (DEs) will need to be the tonesetters of the defense. The more they can get to the QB, the better.
Harrison Smith and Byron Murphy Jr need to be the leaders in the secondary.
Linebackers will be young and undersized, but they are going to be much faster than last season. Watch for Ivan Pace Jr to make some noise (undrafted rookie from Cincinnati)!
Mistakes will be made (this will be an avg-below avg defense), but they will be better than last season.
Vikings Special Teams:
I kind of trust Greg Joseph a little more after last season. I think KOC's positivity has helped him a bunch. He does need to stop missing extra points.
Sounds like they brought in some competition for punt and kick returning duties. I don't have much else to say about those positions besides putting guys back there that won't mess up.
I don't know what else, and you don't care about anymore Special Teams talk.
This is going to be a weird season for the fans. The Vikings will look better, but won't have nearly as many wins as last season.
Last season, the Vikings had an 11-0 record in 1 score games. It was awesome and mortifying at the same time, every week. Well, that kind of end of game luck is not going to carry over.
The entire team got a lot younger and faster.
The team will be better coached on both sides of the ball.
KOC is competitive and very positive. The players seem to love playing for him.
Our draft picks from the last 2 drafts need to start making an impact. You see it every season with the best teams, they almost always have 1st or 2nd year players in important roles.
Kicking game needs to continue to improve.
The high number of 3&outs need to be reduced.
We need to be more aggressive on both sides of the ball for the whole game; need to keep our foot on the gas.
It is going to be a tough, 1st place schedule.
I think we are the 7th-8th best team in the NFC and will be fighting for the final Wild Card spot in the last couple weeks of the season.
WE HAVE JUSTIN JEFFERSON!!! ... and we have Curtis Cousins.
I predict the Vikings to finish with 7-9 total wins, finishing 2nd in the NFC North.
The Lions feel like the best overall team in the division.
They improved on both sides of the ball this offseason and have the best QB in the NFC North.
HC Dan Campbell is perfect for the Lions, but he needs to improve his in-game decision making. They lost a lot of games last year due to questionable coaching decisions.
I see the Lions continuing to make steady improvement. I predict they will finish with 9-11 total wins this season, finishing 1st in the NFC North. (I could totally see the Lions somehow finishing last)
The Bears also improved greatly on both sides of the ball, probably the most improvement in the division (they were horrible last season, so take that into account).
LB Tremaine Edmunds (former Buffalo Bill) was a huge pickup this offseason. Watch for him to make a giant impact.
Justin Fields actually has some weapons around him now, let's see if he can take a large step forward. I think he will.
The Bears were the worst team in the NFL last season, winning 3 games. I expect them to at least double that total in 2023. I predict the Bears to win 6-8 total games this season, finishing 3rd in the NFC North.
Green Bay Packers:
The Packers have the best defense in the division, and that should continue.
Jordan Love is to be determined. I don't think anyone really knows how he is going to perform in his 1st season as a starter. I just can't imagine the Packers having now a 4th no-doubter HOF QB. Just by the law of averages, he has to end up being average or worse.
Their helmet is a complete rip off of the Georgia Bulldogs. Some drunk, colorblind person in Wiscansin was painting the Georgia Bulldogs logo and used the wrong colors...because he was drunk. True story.
People from Wiscansin call drinking fountains "bubblers"...wtf?
We will find out how good of a coach Matt LaFleur actually is, now that he doesn't have Rodgers.
Packers have really good RBs and promising, young WR/TE's.
Wisconsin cheese sucks.
Should take a big step back after losing so many key offensive pieces over the last 2 seasons.
I predict the Packers to win 5-7 total games in 2023, finishing 4th in the NFC North. Hey! That has a good ring to it.
Thanks for reading and let me know your thoughts on the upcoming season! Who will be crowned King of the North in 2023? That's why we play the games! You never know how the NFL season will go year to year, that's what makes the NFL so fun! Go Vikings! BAAAROOOOOOO!