Expect 2 Areas of Vikings Roster to Get Extreme Attention

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at a Minnesota Timberwolves game in 2022.

The Minnesota Vikings are on the brink of a pivotal offseason, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell enter Year No. 3 in charge.

Expect 2 Areas of Vikings Roster to Get Extreme Attention

The duo has revamped the roster on the fly, with stand outs Justin Jefferson, Josh Metellus, Brian O’Neill, and Christian Darrisaw being among the remaining young, foundational pieces on the team when Adofo-Mensah + O’Connell arrived and scheduled to be under contract in 2024.

And while the entire roster will be evaluated for improvement, two areas in particular will get extreme attention.

These are those.

Offensive Line

“Extreme attention” can be defined as re-signing in-house free agents, grabbing newcomer free agents on the open market, or using the 2024 NFL Draft to fortify personnel.

Expect 2 Areas
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

The first hint about Minnesota’s offensive line plan is similar to the defensive line: Sheer bodies at the position — the Vikings don’t have many. If the Vikings played a regular season game tonight with the 2024 players under contract, the offensive line would look like this:

LT1: Christian Darrisaw
LG1: Tyrese Robinson
C1: Garrett Bradbury
RG1: Ed Ingram
RT1: Brian O’Neill

LT2: Coy Cronk
LG2: Henry Byrd

That’s seven humans, and heading into a typical NFL Sunday, the Vikings generally have nine or ten offensive linemen on the gameday roster. Therefore, whether via internal free agents, outsider veteran free agents, or the draft, Minnesota must add at least three more players — and probably more when the roster expands to 90 men for the summer.

Vikings re-sign free agent
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

For clarity, these are the in-house free-agent offensive linemen that the Vikings can explore for a next contract:

  • OT Hakeem Adeniji
  • IOL Blake Brandel
  • OT Oli Udoh
  • G Chris Reed
  • OT David Quessenberry
  • IOL Dalton Risner
  • IOL Austin Schlottmann

Defensive Line

The same “problem” applies to the defensive trenches. This is the would-be defensive line group if nothing happened at all this offseason per new players:

OLB1: Patrick Jones II
DE1: Dean Lowry
NT1: Harrison Phillips
OLB2: Andre Carter II

DE2: Jaquelin Roy

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

On any given regular season Sunday, the defensive line depth should have 10 or 11 players. The Vikings have five under contract at the moment for 2024. Regarding the team’s depth chart, this roster section needs the most attention, with free agency five weeks away.

Of course, life will be easier if Danielle Hunter signs a third contract in Minnesota. Yet, even after Hunter, Minnesota needs a second starting EDGE rusher and more depth on the line’s interior.

Defender Earns Sweet
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

These are the existing internal DL free agents:

  • DL Jonathan Bullard
  • OLB Marcus Davenport
  • OLB Danielle Hunter
  • DT James Lynch
  • DL T.J. Smith
  • DT Khyiris Tonga
  • OLB D.J. Wonnum

Between now and May, the Vikings will likely sign about nine more defensive linemen to formulate a 90-man roster.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.