In my first article on the Minnesota Vikings’ offseason rebuild, I touched on the coaching and general manager hirings that will influence the direction of the club for years to come. In this segment, I will dissect all of the offensive position groups and evaluate their strengths and areas of concern.

Quarterbacks for the Minnesota Vikings

This is one of the more stable position groups on the team and also one of the most concerning. Kirk Cousins parlayed his leverage with the team to great effect, not only getting a contract extension but also additional money. A great fantasy football quarterback whose stats are great, but his performance in big games is abysmal. Kirk wasn’t the main problem with the team last year. He is just not a quarterback who can lift a team that is struggling.

Cousins likes Sean Mannion carrying his clipboard so he will be back for another season. Let’s hope Kirk’s durability continues because Mannion will never be “ready for primetime.” Kellen Mond was completely buried by Mike Zimmer and his coaches last year. No one knows the potential of the second-year quarterback. Zimmer’s disdain for rookies ensured that.

Running Backs

Hold the presses. Don’t touch a thing. The trio of Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Kene Nwangwu ranks as one of the strongest running back groups in the league. They pack even more punch due to Nwangwu’s prowess as a kick returner. Moving forward, the Vikings should look to reduce Cook’s carries per game to ensure his durability. This is especially true with the NFL season now 17 games in length.

Wide Receivers

When you begin with one of the three greatest receivers in the league, you are off to a great start. There are not enough superlatives to describe Justin Jefferson. He is simply one of the biggest offensive threats in the league. Paired with Jefferson is the talented but aging Adam Thielen. The local boy turned star is still a great counterweight to Mr. Jefferson. But his durability over the past couple of seasons is a reason for great concern.

Left for dead after his rookie season, K.J. Osborn rebounded in his sophomore season to become a credible third option threat for the Vikings. He just needs to add some consistency to his game. Rounding out the group is Ihmir Smith-Marsette. He managed to overtake Dede Westbrook for the fourth receiver position and added a 100-yard game to his stat sheet in the season finale. The Vikings hope he can build off his strong finish to the 2021 season.

Tight Ends

This position group looked a lot stronger a month ago. Tyler Conklin filled in admirably last year when Irv Smith injured his meniscus and was lost for the year. Having them both on the field in Coach Kevin O’Connell’s pass-friendly offense would have given opposing defenses fits all season. Now the Minnesota Vikings are left with Smith and a few blocking tight ends. This is definitely a position that the Vikings will look to bolster with the draft.

Offensive Line

Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Probably a little of both. On the one hand, you have strong tackles in Christian Darrisaw and Pro-Bowler Brian O’Neill who should be rock solid bookends for the team for the next 8-10 years. Next, you have an emerging, maturing, Ezra Cleveland who has made steady improvement after his position switch two years ago. Then you get a collective thump.

Center Garret Bradbury has never lived to his potential as a former first-round pick. He is a serviceable run blocker, but he lacks the overall strength to prevent bull-rushing defensive tackles from swallowing up Cousins and Minnesota Vikings’ running backs. The free-agency signing of a certain recently released Cleveland Browns center would be a great medium-term solution to this issue.

Minnesota Vikings Have Issues on the O-Line

Bradberry coupled with the ineffective Oli Udoh at right guard formed a matador-like twosome against opposing defensive players. The addition of free-agent guards Chris Reed and Jesse Davis merely added salve to the wound. A long-term solution for this position is desperately needed. Especially with the uncertainty surrounding last year’s third-round draft choice Wyatt Davis from Ohio State. An infusion of talent from the draft appears to be the only solution to this problem.

Next: A Look at the Defense of the Minnesota Vikings

So that is my quick synopsis of the state of the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive position groups. Next, we will turn our attention to the Vikings’ defense. This once vaulted unit imploded last year like an old Las Vegas casino. For the Vikings to contend, the defense has to improve by leaps and bounds in 2022.

Read the Vikings Beat weekly at Belly Up Sports. Follow me on Twitter for more of my articles. In addition, check out other NFL articles by the Belly Up Sports Pigskin Team. 

About Author

Greg Simbeck

Freelance writer who loves telling an informative, creative, and compelling story. I am open to write about anything, but my emphasis is on sports in the Midwest. I look forward to telling you a good story and receiving your comments.

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