NFL Offseason Preview: Minnesota Vikings

Social Navigation

NFL Offseason Preview: Minnesota Vikings


The NFL offseason is upon us, and teams will begin working to craft their 2023 rosters in the coming months. In this series of offseason previews, we will look at what each team has to work with and their biggest needs. Today we continue with the Minnesota Vikings offseason preview.

As a reminder, here are dates to keep in mind for the 2023 NFL offseason:

  • March 7: deadline for teams to use the franchise tag
  • March 13: legal tampering period opens
  • March 15: NFL free agency begins and the new league year starts
  • April 21: deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
  • April 27-29: NFL draft
  • May 1: deadline for teams to exercise 5th-year options on 2020 first-round draft picks
  • July 15: deadline for franchise tag players to sign an extension

You can find previous team’s offseason previews here: Bears | Bengals | Browns | Lions | Packers | Steelers |

2022 Summary

The Minnesota Vikings won the NFC North. Justin Jefferson had a record-breaking season—the offense ranked 8th in the NFL in scoring (24.9 points per game). All told, the Vikings had a very successful regular season. Still, the defense was an issue all season. Those defensive woes came to a head in the Wild Card loss to the Giants, ultimately ending the Vikings’ season early.

When new Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was hired last year, he said the Vikings are “trying to live in today and tomorrow.” Meaning that Minnesota wants to win today but build for tomorrow simultaneously.

Adofo-Mensah accomplished the first part. The Vikings won 13 games and the NFC North in 2022. But how do they remain relevant in an NFC North changing this offseason? Detroit is already a threat to the Vikings atop the division. The Bears are a big offseason (or two) away from being in the same conversation.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s second offseason in Minnesota will be imperative to both the present and the future of the Vikings.

Key Positional Needs

Here’s where the Vikings need to find help this offseason:

  • CB
  • WR
  • EDGE
  • IDL
  • RB

Key Free Agents

Here’s a look at the Vikings upcoming key free agents:

  • Dalvin Tomlinson (IDL)
  • Jonathan Bullard (IDL)
  • Patrick Peterson (CB)
  • Alexander Mattison (RB)
  • Garrett Bradburry (C)

Salary Cap & Draft Capital

Here’s a look at the salary cap room and draft capital that the Vikings have to work with this offseason:

  • Current draft picks: 3 (1), 87 (3), 119 (4), 160 (5), 177 (5)
  • Cap space: -$23.4M 

Offseason Outlook

The Vikings enter the offseason with pretty limited resources. Minnesota has five draft picks, three coming in round four and beyond. They’re also $23.4 million over the salary cap. For a team with multiple needs on the defensive side of the ball, that’s not a recipe for success.

Oh, and then there’s the fact that Justin Jefferson will be due for a behemoth extension at some point very soon.

How does Minnesota begin to free up some cap space? The Vikings could save about $6 million by releasing Cook before June. They could save about $9.5 million in cap space by moving on from Eric Kendricks. They could also clear about $13 million in cap space if they traded Za’Darius Smith. Couple the cap savings with a mid-round pick in return for Smith, and now the Vikings have roughly $5 million in cap space and an extra draft pick.

Those are hard decisions to make, moving on from fan favorites and producers on the field, but if Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wants to be true to his vision of focusing on now and the future, those are the types of decisions that have to be made.

Harrison Smith and Adam Theilen are two names I would watch for regarding restructured contracts. The Vikings would probably be wise to extend Kirk Cousins another year rather than kick dead money down the road with a restructured contract for the veteran QB who is a free agent after the 2023 season.

If you’re looking for more offseason reading, Sam Hoppen at 4for4 (our sister company) is previewing each division:

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.