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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 23 December 2023

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Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

The Vikings MUST win this week. The end!

Since yore last open thread

2023 NFL Week 16: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: Final injury reports for both teams

Daily Norseman Staff NFL Picks, 2023: Week 16

Detroit Lions QB Comparison: Week 16

Other Vikings News

Week 16 Wish List for Vikings Positioning in NFC Playoff Scenarios

1.Business priority
First and foremost, the Vikings need to defeat the Lions (10-4) at noon (CT) Sunday.
2. Little Help, Please?
The Vikings will benefit if the recently eliminated Titans (5-9) can topple the Seahawks (7-7) at noon (CT) Sunday. Seattle’s late rally against Philadelphia on Monday set it up for a potential playoff push against three teams that are a combined 15-27 entering Week 16 (Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Arizona).
Because of the potential importance of Pittsburgh (7-7) having a lot to play for in Week 17 at Seattle, the Vikings may want to add a Steelers win against the Bengals (8-6) at 3:30 p.m. (CT) this Saturday.
3. Better off if Bucs…?
Fresh off defeating the Packers at Lambeau Field last week, the Buccaneers (7-7) will host the Jaguars (8-6) in a 3:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday game.
Minnesota will be better off if Tampa Bay wins the NFC South since the Bucs have a head-to-head tiebreaker from Week 1 if those two teams were vying for a Wild Card spot.
The Vikings have head-to-head edges on the Saints and Falcons (6-8) if needed for a Wild Card tiebreaker.

Justin Jefferson Admits Doubting Vikings Teammate: He’s ‘Making Plays for Us’

That time away left a void and, in Jefferson’s absence, rookie Jordan Addison stepped up.
“He grew tremendously,” Jefferson said via the team on December 21. “He had to step into a role that we wasn’t sure if he was going to be able to take or not. But I feel like he did a tremendous job by just being that No. 1 role, making plays for us that we didn’t think that he would be able to make.”
The No. 23 overall pick in this year’s draft, Addison has a 25/360/5 line with Jefferson active.
“That just goes to show you the amount of talent that he has,” Jefferson said. “And he’s growing every single day. He’s getting better and better every day, listening to what the coaches, what I, and the rest of the players have to say. So I’m definitely looking forward to him in this last stretch of the season.”
Nick Mullens Had ‘Mental Practice’ Behind Kirk Cousins
Jefferson believes Mullens has benefitted from working with and behind Cousins for the last two seasons.
“He learned from Kirk, from being behind him and going over the plays, walking through the plays even when he’s not taking those reps,” Jefferson said. “So it’s like he’s he’s having … a mental practice. Just in the back of the huddle and going over the walkthroughs, going over the steps of everything.”
“When he’s out there on that field, it’s like he’s not missing a step, he’s not missing a beat. He knows exactly what to do, knows the cues, and everything. So it feels all confident and comfortable when he’s out there on the field.”

Vikings Have Outside Shot at Having Three 1,000-Yard Receivers This Year

Kirk Cousins Gets Honest About 49ers’ Brock Purdy: ‘I Played in This System’

“Brock has a great chance of winning league MVP,” Cousins said on “The Adam Schefter Podcast” on December 19. “He’s running the system at a very high level. I told him after we played him … ‘Hey, I played in this system. … You’re only in your second year. And what you did in your first year and your second year is incredible. … It’s really impressive.”
“I think he’s only going to get better,” Cousins said.
Cousins and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spent two seasons together in 2012 and 2013 in Washington, where the latter was the team’s offensive coordinator. The Vikings passer admitted that Shanahan’s offense has “evolved” since he last played in it.
Schefter noted that San Francisco didn’t invest much time into scouting the quarterback class of 2017 in preparation for a possible Cousins-Shanahan reunion.
It never happened, though it was for all of the right reasons for both sides.
“I was on the franchise tag in Washington. And then, halfway through that season, [the 49ers] got Jimmy [Garoppolo]. And then I played out that season, obviously, and went to free agency,” Cousins said. “That was a team that may have been in the mix but instead was off the table. Because … he played lights out.”
For Cousins, it was a quick pivot.
“I basically looked at my options in free agency. And it was a pretty easy choice that Minnesota would be the best spot for me.”

Lions’ Dan Campbell: These Vikings are better than 13-win team

“I do think this is a better team than we faced last year,” Campbell said this week. “I get it, they don’t have [Kirk Cousins]. But they ask the quarterback to do what they do well, manage the game, get the ball to your playmakers and this defense is much better.”
“It’s not going to be easy,” Campbell said of playing in Minneapolis. “On the road, and I think more than anything, we gotta keep everything simple and just function at a high level. Efficient. We cannot make mistakes. We do that, then we will come home with [the division title].”

Brian Flores Puts Vikings’ Late Defensive Collapse Against Bengals on Him

Ask Brian Flores or any Vikings defensive player that question, and they’ll say it was the inability to stop the Bengals’ offense down the stretch. One of the stingiest and most productive defenses in the NFL this season allowed Jake Browning and Cincinnati to go 75 yards on eight plays, 74 yards on 11 plays, and 75 yards on ten plays for three consecutive touchdown drives across the end of the third quarter and the entire fourth. Those drives were littered with big plays and third-down conversions.
“They certainly made some plays down the field on some things that were contested catches,” Flores said this week. “I think down the stretch, especially in that end-of-game, two-minute, four-minute, that mode, we’ve gotta do a better job of finishing games. That’s something I really take personal responsibility for. I’ve gotta coach it better, I gotta put our guys in better positions.”

NFL News

Contract-year winners! 10 ascending players poised to break the bank in 2024 NFL free agency

If the Vikings cannot keep Hunter then I like Madubuike but I think the Ravens will try hard to keep him as he is likely their #1 in house free agent. The two guards play right guard and Ed Ingram might be on the rise. I am not sure the team will spend big on a linebacker either. Maybe just bring back Hicks? It all depends on who is the defensive coordinator right?

NFL announces skills competitions for 2024 Pro Bowl Games


NFL offensive line rankings ahead of Week 16

Projected Week 16 starters:
LT Christian Darrisaw
LG Dalton Risner
C Garrett Bradbury
RG Ed Ingram
RT David Quessenberry
After sitting out in Week 14, right guard Ed Ingram returned to the lineup against the Bengals and played one of his best games. He gave up just one pressure on 40 dropbacks against Cincinnati and earned a career-high 84.5 pass-blocking grade.
Center Garrett Bradbury is allowing pressure on 2.7% of pass plays this season, which is by far the lowest rate of his career. His previous best was 5.0% during his rookie season.

Pay site

Russini: What I’m hearing in NFL Week 16 on the coaching carousel and more

There are three head coach openings at this moment — the Chargers, Raiders and Panthers — and I am expecting at least three more, including a surprise firing that seems to happen every year. One that won’t be a surprise is in Washington, as we reported last week that Ron Rivera is expected to be out.

No mention of Flores.

NFL Week 16 bold predictions: Lamar Jackson leapfrogs Brock Purdy in MVP race with BIG day

Maurice Jones-Drew
With a trio of touchdowns in last week’s victory, Lions tight end Sam LaPorta broke the franchise rookie receiving TD record in a season with nine — and that’s just his total so far. He adds to that with a repeat performance Sunday against the Vikings to bring his season tally to 12.

Of course a Bruin predicts this.

Draft News

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Saints add one of class’s premier playmakers; Bears trade Justin Fields to AFC team

Raiders get: QB Justin Fields, 2025 sixth-round pick
Bears get: No. 74 overall (third-round pick), a conditional 2025 third-round pick that becomes a second-round pick if Fields plays 75% of the 2024 snaps
Bo Nix QB OREGON SR 6’2” 217
Going to take a while to move me off this pairing. No major trade-up needed. Ideal quarterback for Kevin O’Connell’s offense.

2024 NFL Draft: Landing Spots for Top QBs After Caleb Williams and Drake Maye

Michael Penix Jr.: Minnesota Vikings
There are four potential concerns about Michael Penix Jr., but the Minnesota Vikings should be able to overcome at least three of them.
Penix has already suffered two torn ACLs, so his medical evaluation at the NFL Scouting Combine will be critical. He also missed half of his second season with the Indiana Hoosiers because of a shoulder injury.
Whether he’s cleared or not may vary on a team-by-team basis based on what the doctors see regarding his long-term prognosis. But the Heisman Trophy finalist did play in 26 games over the last two seasons, with more to come during the College Football Playoff.
Second, Penix will turn 24 shortly after next year’s draft. Much like with Bo Nix, that can be viewed as a positive, particularly in this situation. With Kirk Cousins set to enter free agency and Joshua Dobbs benched, Minnesota doesn’t have a ready-made solution behind center. A more experienced signal-caller may be able to step in and claim the job sooner than later.
From an evaluation standpoint, the first major issue is how poorly Penix handles pressure. He’s a completely different quarterback when the pocket is muddied. Fortunately, he’s played behind a great Huskies offensive line. The Vikings don’t have a top-tier front five, but it’s a talented group that will remain intact into next season.
Finally, the quarterback’s touch can be erratic based on poor mechanics. Too often, Penix can be seen throwing off his back foot, which creates less variability in the throws he makes. Fortunately, Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell is a former NFL quarterback, personal quarterback coach, NFL quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. The head coach also calles the plays in Minnesota. He can build a scheme around an incoming rookie and potentially mask any weaknesses.
When Penix is operating at peak efficiency, he can distribute the ball well. In a much better offensive scheme with a good supporting cast as part of the Huskies program, the quarterback posted 8,859 passing yards and a 64-to-17 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the last two seasons.

2024 NFL mock draft: WR goes at No. 1, Patriots land franchise QB

Bears go with Marvin Harrison Jr? Poles would be taking a huge risk!
Minnesota Vikings: Jared Verse, EDGE, Florida State

Huge draft order changes highlight updated 3-round 2024 NFL mock draft

20 - Minnesota Vikings - QB Bo Nix, Oregon
52 – Minnesota Vikings – CB Kalen King, Penn State

2024 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Moves on From Justin Fields, Chiefs Replace Kadarius Toney

20) Minnesota Vikings: Chop Robinson, EDGE, Penn State
With Danielle Hunter hitting free agency in the offseason, the Vikings are looking for his replacement. They took a chance on a raw but young player in Hunter and it paid off in the end. Minnesota can’t afford to bring him back, so they look for another player that can fill his shoes.

2024 NFL Mock Draft: 3 Rounds of Holiday Gifts for Every Team

20. Minnesota Vikings
Chop Robinson | EDGE | Penn State
Quarterback is obviously the big wild card for the Vikings this offseason, but it makes the most sense for Kirk Cousins to return with a new contract, despite his season-ending injury. Minnesota should focus on their defensive front here instead, adding an explosive edge rusher in Robinson who can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks every snap.
51. Minnesota Vikings
Maason Smith | DL | LSU

7-Round 2024 NFL Mock Draft: Rome Odunze, Emeka Egbuka, and Brian Thomas Jr. Go to Super Bowl Contenders

20) Minnesota Vikings: Bo Nix, QB, Oregon
Bo Nix has been terrific the last two seasons, boasting efficiency numbers that are almost hard to believe. He’ll get ridiculed for checking down more than hunting big plays, but that inner playmaker who can create on his own is still in there.
Don’t be surprised if Nix plays better in the NFL than in college, just like his predecessor Justin Herbert has.
51) Minnesota Vikings: Brandon Dorlus, EDGE, Oregon
At 6’5″ and 285 pounds, Brandon Dorlus has everything he needs to be an intimidating, difference-making defensive lineman. His toolbox is deep, including an impressive burst off the snap, great hand usage and physicality, as well as the ability to play as a 3-4 end, 4-3 tackle, or even as a 4-3 end.
116) Minnesota Vikings Payton Wilson, LB, NC State
124) Minnesota Vikings Kendall Bohler, CB, Florida A&M
153) Minnesota Vikings Hudson Clark, S, Arkansas
154) Minnesota Vikings Christian Mahogany, G, Boston College
161) Minnesota Vikings Jason Marshall Jr., CB, Florida
202) Minnesota Vikings Nazir Stackhouse, DT, Georgia

This person doesn’t have the picks correct and selected two corners for the Vikings. A 7 round mock draft for all 32 teams is tough to do.

College football underclassmen who intend to enter 2024 NFL draft

Prospects Foregoing the 2024 NFL Draft – Returning to School

Yore Mock

Trade Partner: San Francisco 49ers
Sent: Round 1 Pick 20
Received: Round 1 Pick 31, Round 2 Pick 63
Trade Partner: Cardinals
Sent: Round 2 Pick 63
Received: Round 3 Pick 73, Round 4 Pick 103
Trade Partner: Ravens
Sent: Round 5 Pick 163
Received: Round 5 Pick 169, Round 7 Pick 253

Pick: 31 Round: 1 Troy Fautanu OT Washington 6’4” 317

Pick: 52 Round: 2 Jackson Powers-Johnson C Oregon 6’3” 320

Pick: 73 Round: 3 Nazir Stackhouse DL Georgia 6’3” 320

Pick: 103 Round: 4 Braelon Allen RB Wisconsin 6’2” 245

Pick: 120 Round: 4 Payton Wilson LB North Carolina State 6’2” 239

Pick: 157 Round: 5 Mike Sainristil CB Michigan 5’10” 182

Pick: 162 Round: 5 Braden Fiske DL Florida State 6’5” 298

Pick: 169 Round: 5 Ainias Smith WR Texas A&M 5’10” 200

Pick: 179 Round: 6 Jaylen HarrrellL DE-EDGE Michigan 6’4” 242

Pick: 241 Round: 7 Sione Vaki JR. S Utah 6’0” 208

Pick: 253 Round: 7 Jousha Karty, K, Stanford 6’2” 208


I think the team brings back Cousins, Hunter, Hicks, and Wonnum. Smith will have to take a major pay cut again. Risner may NOT be a keeper after all.

I would like to see them possibly get a younger free agent linebacker and a veteran corner.

Thus, the interior offensive line needs to continue to have upgrades. Fautanu is projected to slide inside to guard but he has great value in that he has played left tackle.

The probable best center in the draft is a no brainer right? I think they need to continue to keep the offense as strong as possible.

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