The Minnesota Vikings have to decide if they want to rebuild or not this offseason.
With Kevin O’Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah taking over, the Minnesota Vikings have to figure out if they heading towards a rebuild or not this offseason.
In the years since the Minneapolis Miracle, the Vikings have not returned to the NFC Championship Game. While they had been a playoff-caliber team throughout the Mike Zimmer/Rick Spielman era, Minnesota could never consistently assert itself as the best team in its division. With two rivals rebuilding, the Vikings must decide if they should be joining them or not.
Here are the pros and cons of the Vikings opting to rebuild right now under a new administration.
Minnesota Vikings: Pros of opting for a rebuild right now
There are a handful of things that serve the Vikings to rebuild now. The first is they are in a bad spot with the 2022 NFL salary cap. Minnesota is nearly $15 million in the hole. While the Vikings can get under the cap with a few roster calibrations, the new administration may opt to go lean and see if it can rebuild the thing from the ground up. This is their team they are running after all.
Another advantage is the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions are rebuilding right now. So even if the Vikings do go into rebuilding mode, one of them will finish second in the NFC North race to the Green Bay Packers. Thus, it will hasten the rebuilding efforts and Minnesota may not be down for all that long because the Vikings could potentially be the best of a bunch of bad teams in division.
And finally, they do have decent draft capital already before potentially trading away marquee pieces like Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen or Danielle Hunter. Minnesota has the No. 12 overall pick, as well as two other picks inside of the top 100 this spring. At the very least, that is sufficient ammunition for O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah to get to work and really rebuild this team.
Minnesota Vikings: Cons of opting for a rebuild right now
Of course, there are a few downsides towards rebuilding now besides the obvious part of losing a ton of games. The first is there are no guarantees these rebuilding efforts will work. If the Vikings are absolutely putrid in year three of the O’Connell/Adofo-Mensah era, they could get the ax. Adofo-Mensah may have more leeway with this, but it is O’Connell’s job to try to win games.
The second would be it could create tumult with the team’s most talented player in Justin Jefferson. 2022 will be the first-round pick’s third season out of LSU. While he is absolutely getting his fifth-year option picked up, the Vikings have a bad track record under the Wilfs’ ownership of alienating their top wide receiver talents. If the Vikings are bad, then Jefferson will want to leave.
And the third thing that needs to be considered with a rebuild is the entire NFC is in a state of flux. Outside of the Los Angeles Rams, the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay if Aaron Rodgers comes back, how many teams are a lock to make the playoffs next year? Though every team has a different competitive life cycle, rebuilding seems to be en vogue in the NFC, so that is an issue.
Minnesota Vikings: Should they opt for a rebuild right now?
This is a tight one, but the Vikings may be better served to wait and see how this year shakes out before fully heading into a rebuild. It will allow other NFC teams who are currently in one to be one year further along than they are on the competitive life cycle. Should the Vikings struggle anyway without totally hitting the reset button in 2022, then all signs should be pointing to that for 2023.
Ultimately, this is not the draft to find one’s next franchise quarterback. The 2023 class should be infinitely better over this one. It may give O’Connell and Adofo-Mensah enough time to identify what they would be looking for in Cousins’ eventual successor anyway. Admittedly, this is going to be a clunky year for the Vikings, but this core of players deserves one last shot at the NFC playoffs.
The Vikings can rebuild this offseason, but those efforts will go a lot further in a year’s time.