Another Packer Bolts Wisconsin, Joins Vikings

Green Bay Packers fans Gannon Blankenship, left, 15, his brother Gage Blankenship, 13, and their father Doyle Blankenship watch players warm up before the start of the game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, October 20, 2019, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The three are from Oklahoma. Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

There’s almost one every year. This time, it’s Aaron Jones who spurned the Green Bay Packers for purpler pastures, set to join the Minnesota Vikings in 2024.

Another Packer Bolts Wisconsin, Joins Vikings

Minnesota needed running back help entering the 2024 offseason and will evidently find it in Jones, a playmaker who will turn 30 in December.

Aaron Jones
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Patrick Jones II (91) during their football game on Sunday, January, 1, 2023 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Wm. Glasheen USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted Tuesday, the second day of the NFL’s free agency period. “Staying in the NFC North: Sources tell me and Tom Pelissero that former Packers RB Aaron Jones is expected to sign with the Vikings, just a day after being released in Green Bay. This sets up two revenge games next year. He gets a 1-year, $7M deal.”

Minnesota saved $3.5 million by releasing Alexander Mattison two weeks ago, flipping that cash into Jones for a one-year experiment.

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Jones has played against Minnesota 11 times in his career, and now, with any luck, he’ll suit up for 17 games with his former foe, including two games versus the Packers. He’s tallied 847 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns as a Packer against the Vikings since joining the NFL in 2017 as a 5th-Round Pick.

And that makes it five running backs on the Vikings’ books as of mid-March:

  • Ty Chandler
  • Aaron Jones
  • Kene Nwangwu
  • DeWayne McBride
  • Myles Gaskin

Minnesota has finished 27th per rushing DVOA in back-to-back seasons since Kevin O’Connell took over as head coach two years ago. The franchise desperately needs to fix its ground game or risk never fully unlocking the offense.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins departed the Vikings on Monday, joining the Atlanta Falcons for four years and $180 million, so this September will feel like a brave new world on offense. Minnesota signed Sam Darnold, too, early Tuesday morning as a “bridge quarterback” to accompany whichever rookie passer it presumably drafts in April. Instead of Cousins, Mattison, and Jefferson headlining the enterprise, Week 1 could feature Darnold, Jones, and Jefferson — a wild turn of events in a short period.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jones banked 889 yards from scrimmage in 2023 while playing 11 games. He scored 3 touchdowns and turned on the gas down the stretch of 2023 once he became fully healthy. The ex-Packer will partner with the aforementioned Chandler for a decent RB1-RB2 duo next season and perhaps end the Vikings’ rushing woes once and for all.

The purple team also signed defensive players this week: Jonathan Greenard (OLB), Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB), and Blake Cashman (ILB).

Brian Powers-USA TODAY Sports.

Jones was at the peak of his powers in 2019, tabulating 1,558 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns. He’s reached one Pro Bowl — the 2020 campaign.

One ex-Packer per offseason seems to join the Vikings, almost habitually. In 2022, it was Za’Darius Smith and Chandon Sullivan. Last offseason, Dean Lowry signed in Minnesota. Jones is the latest installment.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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