Are the Vikings just putting lipstick on a pig during the 2022 offseason?

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) /

Much of the same core group of players from the last four seasons are expected to return to the field for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022 despite their lack of success together.

When the Minnesota Vikings announced their decision to fire head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman this past January, the assumption made by the majority of the fan base was that the team was heading into a period of major change.

Spielman had been with the Vikings since 2006 and Zimmer was with the organization since 2014. Moving forward by starting with a clean slate seemed like the obvious choice for Minnesota to make this offseason.

However, that has been far from the case for the Vikings this year, even after the hirings of new head coach Kevin O’Connell and new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Much of the roster that Minnesota begins the 2022 campaign with is going to look very similar to their previous two seasons, which both resulted in missing out on the playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings banking on a new coaching staff to make a major impact in 2022

Instead of taking the 2022 offseason as an opportunity to get rid of some terrible contracts and build a new core of young players, the Vikings have spent the majority of the last few weeks keeping a roster that missed the postseason in three of the last four years intact.

Minnesota is bringing back a quarterback in Kirk Cousins that has led his teams to one playoff win in 10 years, they’re bringing back an aging receiver in Adam Thielen who has missed more games due to injury during the last three years than Dalvin Cook, they’re bringing back a pass-rusher in Danielle Hunter who just suffered serious injuries in each of the last two seasons, and it appears that they will also be rolling with an offensive line that has been one of the worst in the NFL during the last few years.

Sure, the Vikings signed former Green Bay Packers pass rusher Za’Darius Smith, former Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips, and former Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks this offseason. But the arrival of these players isn’t something that is going to completely transform a Minnesota defense that currently has Cameron Dantzler at the top of their cornerback depth chart.

The Vikings are also going to draft a bunch of new players in a few weeks and that will add to the optimism that the franchise’s new regime is attempting to sell to the fan base.

But this isn’t a case of a team keeping a young group of core players to work with a new coaching staff. Minnesota’s core is on the wrong side of 30 and these are guys that are set in their ways when it comes to what they do on the field in each game.

If this franchise didn’t have championship aspirations, then the new guys in charge bringing back Cousins, Thielen, and Hunter wouldn’t be as big of a deal. But the Vikings ownership group clearly thinks their rookie head coach and rookie general manager can do enough with the same core of players from the last few years to transform this team into an immediate contender next season.

It’s great to have hope and be optimistic about what O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah’s arrival could mean for Minnesota this year and into the future. But handing them a roster full of guys that haven’t been able to get the job done in the past just doesn’t seem like an approach that’s going to result in the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl win.

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