NFL training camps are in full swing with 35 days remaining before the 2023 regular season kicks off in Kansas City. That means the fight for the last few remaining spots in each of the league’s 32 starting lineups are heating up. Some of the more easily trackable fights are on offense with the quarterback, running back, and wide receiver positions. Even offensive lines are noticeable given teams will utilize their main front five more often than not.
Defensively, many teams utilize a number of different personnel in their front seven and secondary, making those contests more murky to define as much of the roles are scheme and coordinator dependent. They’re still critical for depth purposes, but those battles possess less of a sparkle. Let’s take a look at the 10 juiciest battles around the league while taking a stab at how they will turn out as the preseason is set to begin starting Thursday with the Hall of Fame Game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets.
Note: The Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback “battle” between Gardner Minshew and 2023 fourth overall pick Anthony Richardson will not be listed below. Team owner Jim Irsay said Richardson “has to play.” This is Richardson’s job.
10. Vikings: Two of their three starting cornerback spots
Contenders: Byron Murphy Jr. vs. Akayleb Evans vs. Andrew Booth Jr. vs. Joejuan Williams vs. Mekhi Blackmon
The Minnesota Vikings had the worst defense of any playoff team in the NFL last season as well as simply one of the worst in the entire league in 2022. Their lack of production forced 2022 Offensive Player of the Year Justin Jefferson and the offense to bail out the team in close game after close game last season (11 one-score wins, most in a season in NFL history).
Vikings Defense 2022 Season
Total YPG Allowed
Pass YPG Allowed
That’s why Vikings head coach Kevin…