2 New Vikings Starters Could Be Massive Difference Makers

2024 Season
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The Minnesota Vikings have experienced a significant roster turnover this offseason, and while that is normally the case, this feels different. Among a handful of new starters, a pair seems to be in a spot to make the most sizable impact.

2 New Vikings Starters Could Be Massive Difference Makers

Of course, the easy choice would be to suggest that Sam Darnold will be the reason Minnesota Vikings fans forget about Kirk Cousins. Maybe they already did when he chased the money again and went to Atlanta. Maybe they will when Darnold throws for 4,000 yards or keeps J.J. McCarthy on the bench all season. That would be too easy, though.

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No positions on the Vikings roster have needed more help in recent seasons than the defensive line and cornerback spots. Brian Flores did what he could with what he had a year ago, but a pair of free agents being brought in for the IDL and starting cornerback roles will give him a chance to make his mark.

Jerry Tillery

Vikings Offseason
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A former first-round pick, Tillery was something of a bargain bin signing. He isn’t being counted on to be a superstar, and to save his career, he doesn’t have to be. With a fresh start in Minnesota and predecessors having done little in recent seasons, even a marginal uptick would be great to see.

Minnesota will likely spring for the interior defensive line in the upcoming draft, but the degree to which they need to nail that pick remains to be seen. If Tillery can show out with Minnesota, then they have an option they’ll likely look at extending first.

Shaq Griffin

shaquill griffin
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Needing more depth at the cornerback position alongside Byron Murphy Jr., Griffin comes in with veteran chops and an ability to work the opposition. He has shown he can handle starting in this league, and that’s something the rotating cast Flores had to work with last season often failed to prove.

Maybe Khyree Jackson, Dwight McGlothern, or one of the holdovers push him for the job, but that would be more about development than the free agent giving it away. Minnesota will face plenty of passing attacks across the NFC North, and having a group that doesn’t simply bleed points begins with starters who can do their jobs.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.