Minnesota finishes last
The Vikings recently enjoyed a standout 13-4 regular season but were bounced come playoff time by the Giants.
While Minnesota has since made moves to try fixing its biggest weaknesses, it may not be enough. Even with the addition of new defensive coordinator Brian Flores, defense remains a huge issue in the North Star State.
The Vikings finished 2022 as the league's No. 28 defense and particularly struggled against aerial attacks by giving up the second-most passing yards in the NFL. Despite these deficiencies, Minnesota hasn't made an effort to significantly improve the secondary, as many similar faces are set to return.
The Vikings did bring in former Cardinal Byron Murphy and third-round pick Mekhi Blackmon, but many initially expected them to address cornerback in the first round of the draft.
Instead, they selected wide receiver Jordan Addison despite already having a top-notch passing game centered around Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson and KJ Osborn.
Addison's presence provides another dynamic pass catcher, yet this offensive depth may not matter if the Vikings don't show the utmost confidence in its tenured offensive leaders.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook's futures with the team were uncertain following the loss to New York, and Cook's departure remains rumored even now.
The front office likely wishes to get younger at these positions but, because there are currently no replacement options who would allow the Vikings to remain competitive, they haven't made any major changes.
Approaching this season, the Vikings are in a state of flux. While their three rivals have positive momentum on their side, Minnesota seems stagnant.
The Vikings still have a lot of talent, so it's hard to imagine they finish anywhere close to last in the conference. However, if the wheels continue to spin without change, they'll finish fourth in the North.