• Free agency recap: The Vikings improved their secondary by signing cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., but it's a unit with plenty of question marks remaining.
• Best move of the offseason: Minnesota drafted USC cornerback Mekhi Blackmon in the third round, and he could be an immediate contributor.
• Outlook for 2023: The Vikings are due to regress after overachieving in 2022 — and especially so with the Lions and Bears significantly improving this offseason.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
As the dust settles on the 2023 NFL offseason, it's time to assess how each team fared in the quest to improve their rosters.
Recapping blockbuster trades and high-profile signings to shrewd draft selections, PFF offers an in-depth assessment of all 32 NFL teams, shedding light on the potential impact these moves may have on their fortunes in the upcoming campaign.
For more information on each team's draft selections and offseason moves, download the PFF draft guide today!
MINNESOTA VIKINGS OFFSEASON GRADE: B+
|FA signings||FA losses|
|ED Marcus Davenport||DI Dalvin Tomlinson (CLV)|
|CB Byron Murphy Jr.||CB Patrick Peterson (PIT)|
|C Garrett Bradbury||LB Eric Kendricks (LAC)|
|DI Dean Lowry||TE Irv Smith Jr. (CIN)|
|RB Alexander Mattison|
|TE Josh Oliver|
Cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. headlines the Vikings’ free agent class. He played in just nine games for the Cardinals last year due to a back injury that ended his campaign early, but he was able to accumulate seven forced incompletions before getting hurt.
The signing of tight end Josh Oliver was one of the most curious free agent deals of the entire offseason, as he is viewed by most as a backup blocking specialist. The Vikings will pay Oliver an average of $7 million per year for the next three seasons, bringing into question whether they intend to resign T.J. Hockenson once his deal expires next March.
Wide receiver Jordan Addison should be a fantastic fit in the Minnesota offense, and an immediate upgrade over the departed Adam Thielen. While lacking elite athleticism and size, he is an excellent route runner capable of creating separation before the ball arrives. After dropping 21 passes in two seasons with Pittsburgh, last year at USC he dropped just two out of 62 catchable targets thrown his way.
Especially considering the continued rumors swirling around Dalvin Cook being a potential trade or cut candidate, seventh-round selection DeWayne McBride is a particularly interesting draft pick. He forced a whopping 76 missed tackles last season, which ranks third in the draft class — behind only Bijan Robinson and Chase Brown.
Best move of the offseason: Drafting USC CB Mekhi Blackmon
Considering how disastrous the Vikings’ secondary was last season, Blackmon could be an immediate contributor as a rookie. He transferred to USC from Colorado in 2022 and blossomed into an elite coverage player. He allowed just a 43.1% completion percentage into his coverage and forced 17 total incompletions while picking off three other passes.
Remaining team needs: IOL
Minnesota resigned center Garrett Bradbury to what will essentially amount to a two-year deal, and both starting guards from 2022 return as well, but this is a weak unit in need of some competition. Pass protection is a clear weakness for all three interior blockers, as Bradbury surrendered 29 total pressures in 2022, while guards Ezra Cleveland and Ed Ingram combined to give up a whopping 118.
Early position battle to watch: CB
Murphy should have one starting cornerback spot locked down, possibly in the slot. The other two, however, are wide open. 2022 rookies Andrew Booth Jr. and Akayleb Evans combined for just 267 snaps last year, and both posted coverage grades hovering around 40.0. Not only will Blackmon have a shot at significant playing time, but 2023 fourth-round pick Jay Ward could also factor in. At LSU in 2022, Ward posted six forced incompletions and an impressive 14 defensive stops on pass plays.
The 2022 version of the Vikings overachieved relative to the talent level of the roster, running away with the NFC North division crown before losing at home in the playoffs to the Giants. With Detroit and Chicago both looking improved and the Vikings fielding an aging roster with few new impact players due to cap concerns, Minnesota is likely in for some regression.