Image Credit (Chuck Cook/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicholas-mullick-354076184/
With Training Camp about to start for the NFL in a few weeks, there are questions that follow each team. Like I did with the Commanders, I will be doing the Top 5 Biggest questions for every team heading into Training Camp. Next up is the Minnesota Vikings who originally had the 12th Overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, until they traded down in order to secure extra picks. They then held the 32nd overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft.
1. How will Kirk Cousins with a new coaching staff? I still don’t understand why the Vikings decided to give another fully guaranteed contract to Kirk Cousins. Cousins is not a terrible quarterback, but he is not going to lead this team to a deep playoff push. As of now, Cousins’s tenure has been a complete disaster, which sucks because I was a fan of Cousins during his time in Washington. I have to wonder if he will look better or worse with new head coach Kevin O’Connell. People forget O’Connell and Cousins did work together in 2017 with Washington. If Cousins wants to get another fully guaranteed contract with Minnesota next year, he will have to impress and make the playoffs.
2. Can KJ Osborn continue his impressive performance from last year?
I got to say even though last year was disappointing, one of the players that impressed me last year was KJ Osborn. He finished last season with 50 catches, 655 receiving yards, and 7 touchdowns. He made some nice plays last season and it got me thinking that the Vikings may have something in him. While doing research on him he performed better at the end of the season than at the beginning. Hopefully next season he can have an impact earlier in the season and continue his performance from last year.
3. Can Irv Smith come back from his injury and have an impact on the offense?
The Vikings have a ton of depth at wide receiver, but what about the tight end position. Well, last season it was a mess due to Irv Smith suffering a Torn Meniscus ending his season. Chris Herndon sucked (What else is new) and Tyler Conklin was a good tight end, but he decided to sign with the Jets during Free Agency. So it looks like the Vikings are banking on Irv Smith being healthy next year at the Tight End position. I wish Irv luck because suffering a Torn Meniscus is a very hard injury to come back from. Luckily he suffered that injury before last season began, so he should be healthier this year. But injuries can derail a player's career and hopefully, Smith can play well and have an impact on offense as he showed flashes when he was healthy.
4. The o-line is pretty good, but What about the Right Guard position?
One of the strong points of the Vikings is their offensive line. They have two good tackles in Brian O’Neal and Christian Darrisaw. Garrett Bradberry, while not being great, is still a solid center. At left guard, it is Ezra Cleveland who is the starter and he has been a better fit at guard than at tackle. Well, what about the Right Guard position? Well, it is easily their weakest position. So, the current players at Right Guard are Jessie Davis, Ed Ingram, and Wyatt Davis. Jessie Davis was one of the offensive linemen for the Miami Dolphins last season and he was absolutely terrible. Maybe a switch at guard would be a better fit. The Vikings took Ed Ingram in the second round of the NFL Draft and hopefully the pick works out for the team. Wyatt Davis was mainly a rotational player and was dealing with nagging injuries. Hopefully, the Vikings can solidify this position because they have a good o-line excluding the guard position.
5. Did the Vikings do enough to improve the secondary?
I think we can all agree that the Vikings secondary was a mess last season. It was a tremendous weak point on their defense and the Vikings decided to improve it in the offseason. They did next to nothing during Free Agency, which confused me until looking at their cap situation. This is why they brought back Patrick Peterson who is a shell of his former self. So the Vikings focused on improving it in the Draft. The Vikings selected Lewis Cine in the 1st round, Andrew Booth Jr in the second round, and Akayleb Evans in the fourth round. These are solid selections looking at the future, but was it enough is the question. Of course, that will be answered later in the season.