Following the release of the 2023 Minnesota Vikings schedule, one prediction has them finishing with the worst record in the NFC North next season.
With the recent release of the 2023 Minnesota Vikings schedule, predictions are already being made about how successful the team might be during the upcoming season.
Coming off a performance in 2022 that resulted in 13 wins and an NFC North crown, one might think the Vikings will contend for the top of the division, once again, next season. But that's not how it will be according to a recent prediction made by Fox Sports' Carmen Vitali.
"Final record: 7-10
The NFC North is going to be much more competitive this year, despite the fact that the conference as a whole seems more wide-open. I just didn’t see the Vikings get a whole lot better this offseason."
Minnesota Vikings schedule prediction has them finishing last in the NFC North in 2023
Vitali acknowledged the fact that Minnesota hired Brian Flores to be their new defensive coordinator, but she doesn't believe he'll be able to do much with a unit that is younger and faster than what they had last year.
"They brought in defensive coordinator Brian Flores, but considering all of the defensive departures and the lack of draft capital the Vikings possessed, I’m not sure they have enough to run Flores’ defense to its potential."
Apparently, the Vikings' offense is going to be devastated by the loss of veteran wide receiver Adam Thielen in 2023 as well. The same Thielen who averaged less than 25 receiving yards per matchup during his final five games with Minnesota last season. Oh, and Jordan Addison might be too small to succeed in the NFL.
"Losing Adam Thielen to free agency is going to hurt the offensive side of the ball as well. Jordan Addison was a great pick in the first round, but he’s undersized and may have a bit of a learning curve when it comes to transitioning to the NFL game."
Lastly, Vitali leaves us with the following.
"This isn’t a team that will be able to win the division by four games this season and it doesn’t look like one that will be able to win the division at all."
Ok, so, there are few takeaways to be made here.
First off, is Flores really going to struggle to improve the Vikings' defense this year following the departures of Patrick Peterson, Dalvin Tomlinson, Eric Kendricks, Cam Dantzler, Za'Darius Smith, Kris Boyd, and Chandon Sullivan?
Considering Minnesota ranked 28th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed last season with all of these "impactful" defenders on the field, it's hard to imagine the team won't be better in 2023 with a younger and faster defense that isn't full of players past their primes.
Let's talk about the Thielen stuff too. How much "hurt" is the Vikings' offense truly going to experience following the departure of a guy who will be 33 at the start of the 2023 season, who couldn't get open at all last year, and who hasn't finished with more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season since 2018?
Minnesota also has another receiver on the roster by the name of Justin Jefferson. He's been pretty good during the last few years. The Vikings will (more than) likely survive without Thielen doing 60 minutes of conditioning during every game next season.
It's also perfectly fine that Vitali doesn't think Minnesota will repeat as NFC North champs in 2023. The Detroit Lions are everyone's favorite hype team this year and she is just the latest person to predict that they will win the division next season.
But Vitali has the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers finishing with a better record than the Vikings in 2023 as well. If this were to happen, along with the Lions winning the NFC North, it would end up being Minnesota's first last-place finish in the division since 2013.
Again, it is totally fine if you truly believe the Vikings will go from 13 wins last year to winning just seven games and also finish last in the NFC North for the first time in 11 seasons.
But if this is the belief, then some better reasoning has to be used other than Minnesota moving on from a bunch of old and slow players and getting rid of a defensive coordinator in Ed Donatell who would have ruined the 1985 Bears defense with his terrible scheme.