Minnesota Vikings Odds, Predictions, and Season Preview for 2023: It's Only... Down From Here?

Kirk Cousins & Co. went 13-4 a season ago with an improbable 11-0 mark in one-score games. Their schedule in 2023, however, presents a much tougher test — one our season preview thinks they may not be ready for.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
Sep 6, 2023 • 14:48 ET • 4 min read

It didn’t take any advanced betting models or sharp insight to recognize the Minnesota Vikings as fool’s gold in their Wild Card playoff appearance last January.

The Vikings’ 13-4 SU record in the regular season was about as real as the Easter Bunny, as Minnesota danced through a rainstorm and somehow came out bone dry. The Vikes continued to dodge bullet after bullet like a gridiron Keanu Reeves en route to an 11-0 SU record (5-5-1 ATS) in one-possession games (eight points or less).

Everyone and their mom bet against Minnesota in that opening postseason contest and the other shoe dropped like Randy Savage off the top rope, with the Vikings losing 31-24 to the New York Giants as 2.5-point home chalk.

Where does that put this team in 2023? The hell if oddsmakers know.

The NFL futures say the Vikings should compete for the NFC North title (Over 8.5 wins -130) while the look-ahead NFL odds hint at a massive faceplant for Minnesota (just six games as a favorite).

The Vikings are a Rubik’s Cube wrapped in a Wordle wrapped in a Final Jeopardy question written in Vernam Cipher. I do my best to solve this riddle in my 2023 Minnesota Vikings NFL betting preview.

Minnesota Vikings futures odds

Future bet DraftKings FanDuel Caesars
Win Super Bowl +3,500 +3,500 +4,000
Win conference +1,800 +1,400 +1,600
Win division +275 +260 +300
Make playoffs +115 +104 +120
O8.5 wins -110 -134 -140
U8.5 wins -110 +110 +120

Best futures bet: Not to make the playoffs (-114)

It’s a weird year in the NFC North and I predict only one team from the division will make the tournament. If you’ve read my other team previews for the rest of the NFC North, you know that ticket goes to the Detroit Lions.

The Vikings’ season win total is flirting with nine victories, but the early point spreads paint a very different picture. Minnesota is a favorite in just six games with one other at a pick’em. Six of the nine underdog spreads for 2023 come in at a field goal or less, meaning more razor-thin finishes for Minnesota.

Those one-possession fortunes have to flip or at least have to balance out. Minnesota isn’t as good a team as it was last season when it was a preseason favorite in nine games (with three at pick’em) and enjoyed a cushy calendar ranked 28th in SOS with only seven true road games. 

While the 2023 strength of schedule ratings give the Vikes the 18th-toughest sked, the road is loaded with elite teams like Philadelphia, the L.A. Chargers, Kansas City, San Francisco, and Cincinnati.

Minnesota is also on the road nine times this year which could sour winnable matchups at Carolina, Atlanta, Denver, and Las Vegas.

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Minnesota Vikings betting overview

What will win bets: Market perception

Whether it was that Wild Card flop or the 7-9-1 ATS record in 2022, the general public is not high on the Vikings heading into this season. And don’t get them started on Kirk Cousins in primetime...

If spreads are set to public perception, then folks don’t give Minny much of a shot, pegged as point spread chalk in only six games, but what if we’re wrong?

Minnesota did finish atop the 2022 “luck ratings” at Team Rankings but you’ve got to be good to be lucky. Just ask the Chiefs, Bengals, and Eagles, who were No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 in that unique stat set. Yet nobody’s questioning their validity.

The 2023 offense is going to be sound and likely improved in Year 2 under head coach Kevin O’Connell. Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson is better than most teams’ game plans.

And as for the defense, it can’t get any worse with new defensive coordinator Brian Flores injecting this stop unit with a double shot of aggression.

Oddsmakers aren’t asking much, even in the outings in which the Vikings are tabbed as underdogs. Six of those nine tilts have a spread of +3 or less. It’s kind of crazy that a 13-win team without a severe overhaul from last year is getting points in six of its first eight games.

What will lose bets: Defense

Flores was brought in to give this Vikings defense some fangs. 

Last season, Minnesota finished the year 27th in DVOA at Football Outsiders and didn’t really have an identity. It played passively, lacked a pass rush, made mediocre offenses look amazing, and allowed an average of more than 25 points per game.

Flores will mix in different schemes and formations while going for the throat with an aggressive approach that could hurt the Vikes as much as it helps them.

The defense is susceptible to home runs if it gets too hungry for game-changing plays and the schedule features plenty of competent quarterbacks who can make Minnesota pay.

The team’s game-to-game totals tell us a lot about how bookmakers view this new-look Minnesota defense. The Vikings average Over/Under number is 47 points with four totals of 50 or more and two other numbers at 49 points. 

Like I said, it can’t get any worse for this stop unit, but it may not get that much better.

Minnesota Vikings 2023 schedule

Week Opponent Spread
1 vs Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6.5
2 Eagles Philadelphia Eagles +7
3 vs Chargers Los Angeles Chargers +1.5
4 Panthers Carolina Panthers -1.5
5 vs Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs +4
6 @ Bears Chicago Bears -1
7 vs 49ers San Francisco 49ers +2.5
8 @ Packers Green Bay Packers -1
9 Falcons Atlanta Falcons -1
10 vs Saints New Orleans Saints -2.5
11 @ Broncos Denver Broncos +2
12 vs Bears Chicago Bears -3.5
13 BYE
14 @ Raiders Las Vegas Raiders -1
15 @ Bengals Cincinnati Bengals +5
16 vs Lions Detroit Lions -1
17 vs Packers Green Bay Packers -2.5
18 @ Lions Detroit Lions +2.5

Spreads courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

The good thing about the Vikings’ 2023 schedule is that we won’t have to wait for January to see if this team is for real. 

Week 2 sends Minnesota to Philadelphia on a short turnaround for Thursday Night Football, the Bolts await at home in Week 3, the Chiefs come to Target Town in Week 5, as do the 49ers for Monday Night Football in Week 7. By Halloween, NFL bettors will know if the Vikes are a trick or a treat.

My power ratings took the temperature of those early-bird spreads and the season win total, sprinkled in some SOS and situational spots, and spit out the Vikings as the 19th team (46.45/100), behind a number of non-divisional opponents like New Orleans, Denver, and Atlanta.

While Minnesota’s schedule ranks out just 18th overall, it’s much tougher than last season, with nine true road games and those home stands against L.A., Kansas City, and San Francisco. If things go south, the bye is way off in Week 13.

The Vikings’ new-look defense does get to dip its toe into the pool in Week 1. Minnesota is a 6.5-point home favorite hosting Tampa Bay in the season opener. My power ratings placed the Buccaneers near the bottom of the league and produced a projected spread of Vikings -8.79.

This line has been tap-dancing on the touchdown all summer and I believe that negative public perception of the Vikings is clouding just how bad the Bucs will be.

Minnesota Vikings schedule spot bet

Week 9: @ Atlanta

The Vikings really feel the crunch of the schedule to start November. This trip to the ATL will be the team’s second straight road game after playing at Green Bay in Week 8 and its third in four weeks after a trip to Chicago in Week 7 and a MNF meeting with San Fran at home in Week 7.

The Falcons are the sharp offseason darling with high expectations in 2023 and this spread is as tight as it comes, with a pick’em on the board at some books and others at Minnesota -1.

My power ratings predict a spread of Atlanta -2.67, which we could see come Week 9. The Falcons face a cupcake calendar of Houston, Washington, at Tampa Bay, and at Tennessee before this advantageous spot against Minnesota on November 5.

Star power: Justin Jefferson props

Prop DraftKings FanDuel Caesars
MVP +10,000 +10,000 +10,000
OPOY +1,300 +1,400 +1,200
Rec yards leader +550 +500 +600
Rec TD leader +1,200 +1,200 OTB
O8.5 Rec TD -110 -112 +100
U8.5 Rec TD -110 -112 -130
Rec yards total 1,400.5 1,375.5 1,375.5

Best prop: Over 104.5 receptions (112)

Much like the Vikings’ projections, Justin Jefferson’s 2023 output is a mixed bag. His receiving yards and touchdown forecasts are up and down, but the one constant among all those predictive models is receptions.

Most projections call for more than 105 catches from the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, who reeled in 128 balls in 2022. Given the uncertainty of the defense and the running game taking a step back, the Vikings could be chucking it even more than the 64.38% of snaps last year (third highest).

Minnesota plays 11 games indoors this season and Jefferson does his best work on the fast tracks inside those climate-controlled venues. In 2022, he averaged 8.4 receptions indoors against 6.3 outdoors with 114.6 yards per game inside compared to 94.7 yards through the air outside.

Minnesota Vikings betting insights

Covers Writer Icon

Minny more offensive

By Josh Inglis

Covers Betting Analyst

Minnesota was the best Over team in football last year at 12-6 O/U but there’s more to like about Kevin O’Connell’s team playing in even higher-scoring games this season.

First off, it’s another year under the head coach’s offense, and tight end T.J. Hockenson will have a full offseason. The addition of first-round WR Jordan Addison could give Justin Jefferson some more space, but it’s the defense that could consistently put Minnesota in 60+ point affairs.

DC Brian Flores is an aggressive coach and this is a Minnesota defense that struggled to cover in deep zones last year. Now with more single coverage and blitzes, the big plays on defense could be more prevalent. Aggressive offense and aggressive defense.

Covers Writer Icon

Don't write off the Vikes

By Joe Osborne

Covers Senior Betting Analyst

Last season’s 13-4 Vikings were one of the biggest frauds in recent memory, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re worthy of a significant downgrade in our preseason analysis.

Many will knock them due to 11 of their wins coming by eight points or less, but maybe they deserve some credit for consistently coming out on top in close games. The offense will be solid and a winning season should be within reach for the Vikings as the coaching staff received a major upgrade with Brian Flores coming in to run the defense.

Minnesota Vikings trend to know

Great offense and bad defense are the two parts to making an NFL Over. No team has been better at cooking up this combo than the Vikings the past two seasons.

Minnesota is 23-12 Over/Under the last two years (65.7% Overs), including finishing 2022 with an 11-6 O/U count after the Wild Card loss to the Giants topped the total. 

Take the Vikings inside and that Over clip jumps to 68% with a 15-7 Over/Under count away from the elements in the previous two campaigns. Minnesota plays 11 of its 17 contests indoors in 2023 with an average Over/Under total of 47 points in those contests.

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