The 2022 NFL Season is nearly upon us. As part of the run up to the season, we’re preview all the teams, culminating with our picks for who makes the playoffs and who wins the awards this season. Check back each day through September 5. Let’s get ready for some football!
The Vikings came into the 2021 season with plenty of talent looking for a return to the post-season. Things didn’t go as planned. The team hovered around .500 most of the season but finished just 8-9, missing the playoffs. With another losing season, one in which the defense struggled mightily, the Vikings looked to make big changes heading into the 2022 season.
The biggest change came at Head Coach, where Mike Zimmer was fired after eight years with the Vikings. In his place, the team signed Kevin O’Connell, who spent the 2021 season as Offensive Coordinator for the World Champion Rams. The move portends a renewed offensive focus, which is good for long-time starter Kirk Cousins and the receiving corps.
The Vikings didn’t have any major personnel changes, though tight end Tyler Conklin left for the Jets. The team also poached pass rusher Za’Darius Smith from their rivals, the Green Bay Packers. The team also signed defensive tackle Harrison Phillips and linebacker Jordan Hicks as part of an effort to bolster the defense.
Cousins is the man at quarterback and figures to be in for a solid season. He finished as QB11 in 2021. He figures to remain on the high-end QB2, low-end QB1 spectrum. In the backfield, the Vikings have Dalvin Cook, who finished as RB16 despite missing four games. If healthy, he has easy RB1 potential, while Alexander Mattison is a decent handcuff if Cook misses time.
In the receiving corps, it’s all about Justin Jefferson. He finished as WR4 in 2021 and remains one of the best receivers in the game. He’s a great pick to finish as a WR1. The team also has solid contributors in veteran Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborne. I think Thielen finishes in the WR3 range, while Osborne should be a decent flex option.
At tight end, the question is about Irv Smith, Jr., who is entering his fourth season. He seemed poised to break out in 2021 with Kyle Rudolph off the roster, but an injury ended his season before it began. Now, he’s again poised to be a big contributor. His ADP of TE14 reflects that optimism, but it’s a bit high for me. I think he’ll be more of a low-end TE2.
The Vikings have talent on offense and some prospects on defense. O’Connell inherits a decent roster in what seems to be a winnable division and conference. Still, the Vikings have struggled to put it all together. I think the team ends up in the eight-to-10-win range, but I’m betting on them finishing above .500 and making it into the playoffs.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.