4 massive unknowns heading into the Vikings 2023 offseason
By Dean Jones
Vikings defense post-Donatell
When one examines the primary cause of what went wrong for the Minnesota Vikings in 2022, it all starts with their defense. The personnel looked impressive on paper, but nothing went right for defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and he was fired just a few short days after the team’s playoff exit.
Not many predicted anything else, to be honest. Donatell’s switch to a 3-4 base didn’t work despite the talent at his disposal, with a complete lack of experienced depth becoming another ongoing frustration that held them back.
What comes next for the Vikings’ defense is unclear. Many established players are out of contract or in danger of becoming salary-cap casualties, which might not make it the most attractive destination for any new coordinator compared to others.
Minnesota is currently in the process of interviewing candidates to replace Donatell as defensive coordinator. If they don’t solve this riddle effectively, the same pattern will no doubt emerge next season.
All three levels also need a huge makeover to improve matters. Something the Vikings would need to do on the cheap given their current financial state.
This once-proud unit under Mike Zimmer has been a shell of its former self over the last two campaigns. Minnesota’s offense looks in pretty good shape, so bolstering the defense should be the team’s top priority above all else this offseason.