Minnesota’s Offense Is Better Than Ever
There are more reasons than ever why Minnesota will seriously contend for a Super Bowl this season. The signing of Dede Westbrook only highlights an offseason that has led the Vikings to this point.
This is the roster that Kirk Cousins was brought to Minnesota to lead. He has a top-three running back in Dalvin Cook, who could contend for the rushing title this season. He has rising superstar WR Justin Jefferson, who broke nearly every rookie receiving record last season.
Adam Thielen gives Minnesota a top-five WR duo, and Irv Smith is the dynamic young tight end who is ready to step up. The only missing weapon was a third reliable receiver. Olabisi Johnson and Chad Beebe took turns trying to secure the spot over the past two seasons.
Unfortunately, Bisi only garnered 19 targets in 2020, and Beebe has accounted for a whopping 310 yards in his three seasons. The Vikings addressed the position in the draft, snagging Iowa WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette, who many believed could be diamond in the rough.
However, the position was still a question mark and would be one of the only things holding back the offense. Dede Westbrook changes things. While an ACL tear robbed him of his 2020 season, the former Biletkinoff winner was a reliable target in Jacksonville.
Through 2018 and 2019, Westbrook racked up 132 catches for 1377 yards. That kind of production would have been key to the Vikings offense in years past. As Minnesota gears up for a big title push, Westbrook could prove to be a vital component.
The Vikings Have Addressed Their Biggest Holes
Most squads look to fill a keyhole or two in free agency and grabbed some additional talent in the draft. However, riddled with the injury bug in 2020, the Vikings did not want to waste this roster’s talent.
They grabbed Dalvin Tomlinson, forming one of the most formidable interior defensive lines in the league. Star corner Patrick Peterson joined the squad, providing stability and depth to a position that has been lackluster lately.
Finally, the offensive line was abysmal in 2020. There were games where they could not run block. There were games where they could not pass block. In fact, there were a few games where they could not do either.
For the first time in a while, GM Rick Spielman decided that enough was enough. A trade down in the first round netted the Vikings a franchise-caliber left tackle in Christian Darrisaw. Later, they grabbed Ohio State’s Wyatt Davis, who was once a 1st round projected player.
With two new starters on the OL, a full offseason training at guard for Ezra Cleveland, and competent guards next to Garrett Bradbury, this unit could actually impress in 2021.
Management Knows We Are Close
More than anything, this offseason has proved that Spielman and his staff are capable of seeing an opportunity and capitalizing. Last season was disappointing, no doubt, but it was the wake-up call they needed to finally pull the trigger.
For years, depth on defense, a lackluster offensive line, and a glaring hole at WR3 have held back an otherwise blooming roster. Management has always seemed to try to work around the issue, masking the real problems on the team.
Dede Westbrook is truly the cherry on top of this offseason. This could be Kirk Cousin’s last season at the helm of the Vikings, and there is no better opportunity for him to prove every naysayer wrong.
With the enigma that is Green Bay, Minnesota may have the second-best roster in the NFC. Watch out NFL; the Vikings are sprinting towards the Super Bowl.