Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Presented by

NFL Power Rankings: Vikings Begin 2023 in 15 to 21 Range

Let the games begin (for real this time).

The preseason and joint practices are in the rearview mirror, the 53-man rosters have been set, and we're now just days from the 2023 Vikings season officially getting underway.

Minnesota rebounded in 2022 under first-year Head Coach Kevin O'Connell, winning 13 games, along with a division title and trip to the postseason. This year, the team will try to build on that success despite some key personnel changes.

The Vikings cast a wide net in last year's Week 1 Power Rankings, ranging from 12 to 23. This year's spectrum is tighter (15 to 21) as Minnesota opens its 2023 campaign on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Here's a look at where the Vikings landed going into Week 1:

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Buccaneers.

No. 15: Eric Edholm –

The Vikings won 13 games last season despite being outscored (-3 point differential). Going 11-0 in one-score games explains a lot of that, but it also raises the question of whether the Vikings — who parted with some key contributors this offseason and are quite young on defense — can repeat that effort in 2023. They should remain a fairly potent offense this season, but what new Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores can achieve with a heavily revamped unit could end up determining this team's ceiling. Harrison Smith should make more plays up in the box, and there are some interesting front-seven defenders, but the cornerback position concerns me. It's not hard to imagine a drop in wins, even if the defense improves.

No. 17: NFL Staff – Bleacher Report

The Vikings were a 13-win division champion in 2022. But the team accomplished that with a negative point differential and a terrible defense, and that defense was the team's undoing in a Wild Card Round loss to the New York Giants.

In an effort to bolster the defense, the Vikings brought in Flores, who has long been known for an aggressive, blitz-heavy scheme.

Per Dave Campbell of The Associated Press, veteran linebacker Jordan Hicks said that the players have taken well to the new scheme:

"It's doing it smart. It's showing different looks. It's making the offense feel pressure, even when we're not pressuring. So, it's going to be fun," Hicks said. "As a defensive guy, you innately have an aggressive mindset, so to have a D-coordinator who aligns with that, who understands that, I think one of the big things that B-Flo brings. He gives the defense freedom to be run by the players."

No. 21: Pete Prisco – CBS Sports

[The Vikings] won a lot of close games last season to make the playoffs, but I don't think they can count on that this time around. I do think Flores is a good hire to run the defense.

No. 17: Bo Wulf – The Athletic

Best-case scenario: What a difference a coordinator makes, as Flores manufactures a borderline top-10 unit despite the offseason turnover. Marcus Davenport and Byron Murphy, Jr., look like shrewd signings. On offense, Jordan Addison has almost as much early success as the last wide receiver drafted by the Vikings in the early 20s, and Alexander Mattison inspires an emergency Lin-Manuel Miranda self-parody musical. Another first-round playoff loss awaits, but by a closer margin this time.

Worst-case scenario: The division passes them by, but they remain too competitive to be in position to draft a franchise quarterback in the offseason, while Addison and the young players fail to make an impact.

No. 20: Conor Orr – Sports Illustrated

Too low? While the Vikings were historically fortunate a year ago, they do have a lot of pillars working in their favor. Atop the organization sits Kevin O'Connell, who is the latest [Sean] McVaycoaching product to take charge of his own teamand find somewhat immediate success. A Vikings fan could fairly argue that the team succeeded despite an underperforming defense and that, maybe, a more successful defense would negate situations where the Vikings are in one-score games to begin with. Their spot in our preseason poll underlines that uncertainty. The NFC North is going to be more competitive; we don't know whether personnel lined up for a Vic Fangio–defensive system can translate immediately to a more Bill Belichick–aligned system, though, again, the Vikings have thrown a lot of effort into bolstering their secondary.

No. 15: David Helman — Fox Sports

I'm curious to see what Flores can do in his first season as Vikings defensive coordinator. Even with Dalvin Cook off to New York, I'm not worried about the offensive production — especially with Jordan Addison joining the fold. Defensively, though, the Vikings are asking a lot of a bunch of unproven players. If Flores can coach better production out of this group, the Vikings are a sleeper.