With Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman heading into a pivotal year, the future of the Minnesota Vikings is unclear. They have several young players who are the foundation of the roster, but they also have several veterans that could experience a dropoff as soon as this year.
We are several months to go before the start of next season, and it’s hard to tell how the Vikings will fare this season. But what does this roster look like in five years? For that, I needed to look into the crystal ball and see where they could be headed.
Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman will still be in Minnesota
This assumes that Spielman and Zimmer have led the Vikings to the Super Bowl, and everything is fine at TCO Performance Center. But recent history suggests that this is not the case.
After finishing with an 11-6 record in 2021, the Vikings backpedaled to an 8-9 record in 2022. With their jobs on the line, Zimmer and Spielman saw it all come together in 2023. Kirk Cousins finally led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game in 2023, only to be squashed by the eventual Super Bowl Champion Arizona Cardinals.
Although it was another soul-crushing chapter in Vikings history, it came with some benefits. Zimmer preached about the benefits of moving to a wishbone-style offense while Spielman continued hunting for gems with eight seventh-round picks in the 2026 NFL Draft. While other organizations have a hair-trigger, the Vikings are satisfied — until they go 9-8 the following fall.
The Vikings will usher in the Quinn Ewers era
A magnificent season in 2021 helped Cousins earn another multi-year extension from the Vikings, but the same inconsistent play caught up with him after the loss to the Cardinals. With the Vikings looking to take “the next step,” Spielman finally pushed his chips to the middle of the table in the 2024 NFL Draft to select Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers.
With Justin Fields’ success with the Chicago Bears, the stigma about Ohio State quarterbacks has disappeared. More importantly, it shouldn’t be there with a prospect like Ewers.
His sidearm delivery drove Zimmer to adopt the wishbone offense, but it was worth it due to Ewers’ QB1 looks. With a mullet that has to throw a game-winning touchdown at 3:00 pm and play at the Olmsted County Fair at 7:00 pm, Ewers quickly becomes the prize of the 2024 NFL Draft and gives Minnesota the franchise quarterback it deserves.
Justin Jefferson is still happy in Minnesota. Or is he?
During all the turnover with a new offense and a new quarterback, Justin Jefferson still keeps producing. He has collected a 1,000-yard season in each of his six years in the league, but fans are still unsure if he actually likes it in Minnesota.
After signing a five-year deal with the Vikings, Jefferson announces that he’s getting the green salsa at Chipotle on Twitter. Fans become instantly paranoid, believing that he has asked to be traded to the Packers. Later, he orders the No. 10 at Chick-Fil-A, which fans believe is another cryptic sign he wants to be paired up with Jordan Love.
Despite the worst fears of Vikings fans, Jefferson keeps producing and inspiring some of the most awkward “Griddy” dances known to man.
The Vikings finally have an elite offensive line
Davis winds up seizing the starting job from Day 1 and instantly becomes a fan favorite after pancaking Akiem Hicks. After years of the on-field equivalent of stuffing the Vikings offensive linemen in a locker, Hicks now plays like Davis just took his lunch money.
Meanwhile, Darrisaw becomes a mauler at left tackle after showing him clips of Randall McDaniel burying Mike Singletary. While McDaniel played guard, Darrisaw gets the message and gives Cousins the cleanest pocket he’s ever had.
With Davis and Darrisaw in the fold, Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury, and Ezra Cleveland become a force in The Great Snow Plow to help Dalvin Cook win his first rushing title during the magical 2023 season on the strength of 500 touches.
The Vikings defense undergoes a transformation
The Vikings tried to rebuild their defense on the fly by adding some young pieces around their core veterans. By 2026, many of those veterans have left, and a new wave of defenders has taken over.
After Anthony Barr left — and followed through — to sign with the Indianapolis Colts, Chazz Surratt becomes one of the most important players on defense. Surratt also carves out a role on special teams with Zach Davidson, who wound up being another specialist drafted in the fifth round.
The Vikings never budged from their philosophy along the defensive line taking players between the fourth and seventh rounds. Andre Patterson has become a head coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, but defensive coordinator, and head coach in waiting, Adam Zimmer can’t stop bragging about his clowder of pet cats. The Vikings hit on a pair, and they fix their pass rush.
The secondary has also stayed the course with their strategy looking something like Ewers mullet. The Vikings are all business in the front end of the draft, using their first-round picks on cornerbacks. But the safeties are the party in the back, with one starting safety a seventh-round pick out of UW-River Falls and the other a UDFA from Rochester Community Technical College. Somehow this has worked to put a functioning defense on the field, and Zimmer is thrilled.
Where do the Vikings stack up in the NFC?
With everything staying the same, so has the outlook in the NFC. Fields and Love have become game-changing quarterbacks for the Bears and Packers, which increased the need to go get Ewers. And with Tom Brady playing into his 50s, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have continued to rule the conference.
The Los Angeles Rams have fired Sean McVay, and after turning down a massive deal to call Monday Night Football, he opted to retire to his oceanfront beach house. After Russell Wilson was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, Kyler Murray and Trey Lance battle in an epic rivalry to control the NFC West.
This leaves the Vikings stuck in the middle battling for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NFC because the NFL realized that seven was a bizarre number. With a new 18-game schedule being unveiled, the Vikings have a chance to go 10-8 and hope to make a surprising run in the playoffs.