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Vikings Receive 'B' & 'B-Plus' Grades from NFL Network Experts

The grades are in, and the experts are pretty complimentary of Minnesota's offseason thus far.

The Vikings have the upcoming NFL Draft to snag some young talent for their roster, but their additions through free agency – and hiring of new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores – already have them on a positive path.

Vikings Entertainment Network's Tatum Everett recently spent time at the NFL Network studios in Los Angeles and asked five experts to grade the team's offseason at this point.

All five gave Minnesota either a B or B-plus.

Bucky Brooks and Cynthia Frelund each emphasized Flores joining the team as the Vikings top addition.

"I'm going to give them a B," Brooks told Everett. "We can talk about the players – Byron Murphy, [Jr.] coming over, we can talk about Marcus Davenport, giving them a pass rusher. But really, the big deal is Brian Flores coming over to change over that defense.

"When you look at the defenses that he's led – first in New England and then in Miami – lots of pressure, a lot of heat on the quarterback," Brooks added. "And this game is about knocking the quarterback down; because when that happens, explosive plays, turnovers, big things happen for the defense."

Minnesota's defense in 2022 was led by Ed Donatell and, though they did rank fourth in sacks per pass attempt, the Vikings finished the regular season 31st overall in yards allowed and 28th in points.

There's no debate that something needs to improve defensively, and Cynthia Frelund echoed Brooks' echoed Brooks' opinion that Flores is the man to do it.

Plus, she has a unique connection to the Vikings new coach, as she and Flores attended Boston College at the same time.

"I can tell you that as a human being, he is one of the best on the planet," said Frelund, who also gave Minnesota a B-plus. "So bringing him in – and I know Bucky said this too, but it's true – he's wonderful. He's going to change the culture and cadence around that defense, and adding some pieces to the defense will also help, and then of course we've still got the draft.

"And with that guy in that Wisconsin state maybe leaving, I think things are looking even more up for the Vikings," Frelund added with a smile.

Andrew Siciliano, Mike Yam and MJ Acosta-Ruiz each gave a B to the Vikings offseason.

"I really like how they're very focused on the defense. But it hurt my soul a little bit to see Adam Thielen [depart] offensively, so I think [I put them] at a B," Acosta-Ruiz said. "I would go like a solid 84 percent, which is a strong B. We'll keep it there."

Siciliano credited Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah for his approach to improving defensively, and he also spotlighted one of the offensive moves made by Adofo-Mensah and his staff.

"I think Kwesi knows that you can't totally remake a defense in the offseason, so there are a lot of good, budget-conscious moves that help this team depth-wise while turning the attention mostly to pick No. 23 in the draft," Siciliano said.

Offensively, he's a big fan of the Vikings signing Brandon Powell, who previously overlapped at the Rams with Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell.

"Now, he made a big splash a couple of years ago late in the season for the Rams," Siciliano said. "Brandon Powell can be dynamic in the return game, and he can give Kevin O'Connell a toy on offense with the jet sweeps, with the bubbles – add that extra piece to the offense.

"I think he's gonna be a surprise," he added.

View every Vikings first round draft pick through the years.

While Siciliano focused on the Powell signing, Yam pointed to Murphy as the Vikings most significant addition of the offseason.

Murphy joins the Vikings after spending four seasons with the Cardinals, who drafted him 33rd overall in 2019. He played just the first nine games of last season due to injury, but he totaled 36 tackles, one-half sack, four passes defensed and two fumble recoveries, including one returned 59 yards for a winning touchdown against the Raiders.


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In 2021, Murphy recorded career-highs in interceptions (4) and passes defensed (12).

"I think a B is a fair assessment for this offseason. There is one gem that hasn't been discussed nearly enough nationally, and that's the addition of Byron Murphy," Yam said. "I got to see him when he was in college – he is a freak athlete coming out of Washington.

"And the more you talk to people down in Arizona – what he can do to help and close the gap on what some of the issues have been in terms of the secondary cannot be understated," Yam added. "I think Byron Murphy is one of the real gems."