Prediction No. 7
The Vikings will rank top 5 in sacks
New defensive coordinator Brian Flores brings plenty of excitement and aggression to the Vikings this season, but it remains how immediate his impact will be. The Vikings are unlikely to transform into an elite defense overnight, but there’s a good chance they will be more aggressive.
In his final year with the Miami Dolphins in 2021, Flores led the Dolphins to rank fifth in sacks and posted a blitz rate of just under 40 percent. Even more impressive, this was a huge leap from Flores’s first season in Miami, as the Dolphins ranked last in sacks in 2019.
Many people don’t believe that Flores will stick around for three years to oversee the entire rebuild, but there’s a chance it could be accelerated in Minnesota. The Vikings ranked 21st in sacks last season under Ed Donatell but ranked second in sacks in 2021, even as Mike Zimmer blitzed on just over 26 percent of defensive snaps.
There are a lot of new faces on the defense from a couple of years ago, but many of them are younger upgrades that should be able to get home. That should mean a lot of opportunities to get to the quarterback and a lot more sacks in 2023.