Vikings 2020 Offseason Recap

Vikings 2020 Offseason Recap

Benjamin R Dettmer

With the 2020 NFL Draft now in the rearview mirror, the 2020 NFL season is just a few short months away from (hopefully) kicking off.  While it goes without saying that sports will be much different going forward in the wake of COVID-19, one thing is certain to remain the same: Vikings fans getting their hopes up for a playoff run only to watch the team fall apart on the big-stage.  Coming off a playoff berth and electrifying victory in the NFL Wild Card round over the Saints, it’s true that the Vikings have a solid foundation to build on going into the 2020 season.  However, offseason changes are inevitable, and the Vikings will be tasked with filling key positions from last year’s 10-6 team, none bigger than that of star receiver Stefon Diggs.  That being said, let’s examine the Vikings 2020 offseason and gauge the likelihood of another playoff run during the upcoming season.



Compared to offseasons from recent memory, the Vikings lost a considerable amount of talent on both sides of the ball following the 2019 season, not to mention losing Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski to Cleveland.  The most notable loss is undoubtedly that of fan favorite Stefon Diggs, who was traded to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Buffalo’s first round pick in the 2020 Draft.  On defense, significant departures included three time pro-bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes, fellow starting corner Trae Waynes, and two multiple time pro-bowlers on the defensive line in Everson Griffen (4x) and Linval Joseph (2x).   Such major departures means that the Vikings had major work to do leading up to the 2020 draft.  GM Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer had their work cut out for them, needing to draft immediate starters for the 2020 season.



Going into the 2020 NFL Draft, the Vikings trailed only the Miami Dolphins with 12 total draft picks, yet they were the busiest team by far over the three day period.   By the end of the three days, the Vikings ended up making 15 selections, breaking the previous all-time record (for the 7 round format, adopted in 1997) of 14 selections.  That number would have been 17, but two later round picks were traded for draft capital in 2021.   The Vikings started in round one by drafting Justin Jefferson at pick 22, a wide receiver from LSU, a pick that heralded by many as the best selection they could’ve made given the team’s glaring need for a second wideout alongside Adam Thielen. Jefferson led all of college football in 2019 with 111 receptions and was the number one receiving option on a record-setting offense. The Vikings then proceeded to trade their second first-round pick (number 25) to move back, and selected Jeff Gladney with pick number 31.   Many draft experts project Gladney as the best top press corner in the draft and a player capable of starting immediately in an NFL secondary.   Combined with Jefferson, the Vikings selections in round one were ideal given the struggling nature of the teams’ cornerback and wide receiver groups.  Following round one, the Vikings made a number of selections to fill other positions of need.  Their third pick (round 2 pick 58), offensive tackle Ezra Cleveland, should be a starter on the Vikings offensive line in 2020.   With an unprecedented number of middle-round draft picks, the Vikings added immense depth to positions of need and addressed the team’s biggest roster questions with promising prospects.  While it’s certainly far too early to praise the Vikings 2020 draft as anything special, early draft grades indicate it could turn out to be one of the franchise’s best in recent years.

Prediction: 9-7, miss playoffs

Despite making significant moves in the draft, there are still gaping holes on both sides of the ball that will need to be addressed in order for the team to be successful.  Only time will tell whether or not the team’s 2020 draftees will make an immediate impact, and only once the regular season begins will we get a true understanding of what the new-look Vikings will look like in 2020.  But it’s never too early to make predictions, and my opinion is that the Vikings lost too much production on either side of the ball to improve as a team in 2020.  They will have a lot to prove, with a new offensive coordinator and new players at nearly every level of the field.  With the NFC only getting better collectively this offseason (namely the Bucs), the Vikings will have a hard time carving out 10 wins, let alone a division title and playoff berth.