The Minnesota Vikings ran away with the NFC North division title in 2022, going 13-4. However, their stay in the postseason was short-lived as they were eliminated by the New York Giants during Super Wild Card Weekend.
As the team prepares for the 2023 season, there is some skepticism about whether or not the Vikings’ performance can be replicated, and with reason. Minnesota finished last season with a negative point differential; they finished 8th in points for with 424 but 28th in points against, giving up 427.
If the Vikings want any chance of truly contending this upcoming season, they have to get things figured out on the defensive side of the ball. Their offense is loaded with weapons and should be able to keep up with anyone, but shootouts are not a sustainable route to success.
Minnesota made a few moves in free agency, bolstering the defensive line with Dean Lowry and Marcus Davenport. However, they had even more defections with Dalvin Tomlinson, Eric Kendricks, Za’Darius Smith and Patrick Peterson all leaving via free agency or trade.
A defense that already needed improving having more holes created certainly isn’t ideal. However, the addition of Brian Flores as defensive coordinator will help. Also, the possibility of adding pieces exists on the trade market.
One team that would make for a good trade partner for the Vikings is the Buffalo Bills. Their defensive tackle, Ed Oliver, was named one of three players that Minnesota should look into acquiring to round out their roster for the 2023 season by Michael Gartman of Clutch Points.
Oliver has been in some trade rumors this offseason, but the Bills haven’t shown much interest in moving on from him. But, if a good offer presents itself and the team doesn’t feel like they will be able to retain him long-term, as he is entering the final season on his rookie contract, a trade could make some sense.
What could a trade between the Vikings and Bills look like? Minnesota could help them fill a hole in their offense, offering running back Dalvin Cook and a fifth-round pick in exchange for Oliver and a fourth-round pick.
Buffalo has been seeking some upgrades for its offense and Cook would present a major one to the backfield. Some more work would have to be done to accommodate his contract, but moving the $10.7 million owed to Oliver in the deal would certainly help.
The Vikings would get a potential long-term piece for the interior of their defensive line landing Oliver. He would have one season to audition and prove to ownership he deserves the kind of deal that he is angling for should he hit the open market in 2024.