Calling all bettors! Despite enjoying one of their most successful regular seasons of the century, the 2022 Minnesota Vikings couldn’t make it past the first round of the playoffs. In a strengthening NFC North, how dramatically might they improve this next season? More pressingly, how will free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft impact their championship hopes? The following betting odds are based on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Minnesota Vikings Super Bowl 58 Odds and Futures
Last February’s early odds for Super Bowl 57 offered clues on what sportsbooks were thinking and how that wove into the thinking of the broader betting market.
For example, the Kansas City Chiefs were the favorite (+650 odds) for the Super Bowl, while the Buffalo Bills were No. 2. Not too shabby as far as year-long predictions go.
But the Los Angeles Rams and Green Bay Packers were Nos. 3 and 4, respectively — though, in fairness, Davante Adams’ status in Green Bay remained unclear at that point. The Tennessee Titans (No. 9) and Denver Broncos (No. 10) clearly underwhelmed. The Philadelphia Eagles, meanwhile, weren’t even in the top third.
With Adam Thielen released and Dalvin Cook’s future with the team in doubt, along with other major question marks, it’s little wonder why the betting markets aren’t sold on Minnesota. But as we assess if bettors should lean into these odds, let’s examine a few key takeaways from the Vikings’ 2022 campaign.
Dalvin Cook, Kirk Cousins, and Other 2022 Season Takeaways
After they fell at home to the Giants 31-24 in the Wild Card round, I read plenty of unsurprising reactions to the Vikings’ season. They were a bad 13-4 team. They got lucky. They were frauds. Et cetera.
It’s a pretty harsh take, and while I’m not in a position to “prove” that Minnesota deserved more, they certainly had a championship-caliber team. The Vikings were 3-2 versus playoff teams during the regular season, including a signature road win against Buffalo. Until that final loss, they were an astounding 11-0 in games decided by a touchdown or less — including in the greatest comeback of all time versus the Colts.
They achieved this despite giving up the fifth-most points per game, as well as the second-most passing yards. Minnesota’s pass rush and run defense were barely middling, as evidenced (in part) by their struggles getting to quarterbacks and the 4.5 yards per carry they yielded.
But the Vikings were one of the few NFL teams — maybe six or eight in all — that realistically could beat any other team on a good day. Surely, that might be arguable, I get it. But time and again, Minnesota found ways to win. If they’d lost four of those close contests and finished 9-8, would we say they deserved to miss the playoffs? Don’t narrow victories matter?
In a league where fortunes often rest on one or two games, the Vikings deserve credit for often playing their best football when it mattered most. They led all NFL teams in fourth-quarter scoring, averaging 9.6 points. The Lions were second (8.2 points), and the Cowboys were third (7.7 points). The league average was only about 6.0 points. On the road, the Vikings were even more dominant (10.3 points per fourth quarter versus a 5.8-point league average).
MORE: NFL Betting History
That fourth-quarter differential probably was the difference between Minnesota winning their division versus missing the postseason.
Whether overrated or underrated — or a little bit of both — Kirk Cousins will remain the starter for at least one more year. He has 153 touchdown passes and 50 interceptions in the regular season since joining this team in 2018, plus a 5-1 postseason clip. For context, in his final five regular seasons dating back to 2018, Tom Brady threw 161 TD passes and 52 interceptions.
So maybe Cousins is just fine. Yes, this franchise could find someone better. But is he a top-16 QB? I’d argue “yes,” and 2022 reinforced his case.
Cook also resides in this overrated/underrated purgatory. After missing multiple games in each of his first four seasons, he played in all 18 contests last year. Notably, his yards per carry, yards after contact, and broken-tackle rate all hit career lows. Of course, all three are tied together.
Less efficiency in his age-27 campaign probably has some of the Vikings’ brass concerned, especially for a starting RB signed for three more years. The team fed Cook 17.8 times per game and remained almost as much of a bell cow as always. Yet, he slowed down the stretch, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry from Weeks 12 to 18. He also failed to exceed 27 rushing yards in three of four regular-season defeats.
Of course, Alexander Mattison looms (if Minnesota chooses to re-sign him). But if Cook is still a top-12 starting running back — if he is a three-down workhorse capable of carrying the team some weeks and complementing the offense in others — then Minnesota can reach another level.
2023 Offseason Moves
We know what this receiving corps — led by Justin Jefferson — can do. T.J. Hockenson was an incredibly valuable midseason acquisition. K.J. Osborn might step up in 2023. More likely, though, is that Minnesota adds another pass catcher in free agency or the draft.
However, the key for this franchise lies with their defense. To keep pace with rapidly improving Lions and Bears squads, the Vikes have to play even better than they did in 2022. On offense, it’s doable. On defense, the pressure is on.
NFL Free Agency
In the coming weeks, we’ll update this section with breaking news on key Vikings arrivals and departures through free agency and trades, how it impacts their Super Bowl odds, and how it might inform our decision to bet on them to win it all.
In early May, we’ll update this section on key Vikings draft picks and UDFA signings, with an eye toward any instant-impact players who could help catapult them into Super Bowl consideration.