Here’s Where the Vikings’ Roster Got Better This Offseason

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Everything changed for the Minnesota Vikings in the last four months.

Here’s Where the Vikings’ Roster Got Better This Offseason

The club said goodbye to franchise staples Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter after a combined 15 seasons and welcomed rookies J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner.

And with the regular season 60 days away, these are the five most improved areas of the Vikings’ roster, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most improved area).

5. Cornerback

2024 Season
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Shaquill Griffin
Dwight McGlothern

Some classify cornerback as a remaining roster need, but with about eight players deep, the spot is pretty well set. Of course, Minnesota lacks a shutdown cornerback, but those are hard to find. Last season, the Vikings ranked 32nd per completion percentage allowed to opposing quarterbacks, which is the worst in the business.

As a proposed fix, along with the growth and maturation of Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans, Adofo-Mensah added Griffin and McGlothern. The Vikings also drafted cornerback Khyree Jackson, but he tragically passed away last weekend.

4. Tight End

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Robert Tonyan
N’Keal Harry
Sammis Reyes
Trey Knox

The names after Tonyan above might merely be fluff, but Tonyan was a noteworthy addition because he could start at TE1 to start the season. T.J. Hockenson is recovering from a torn ACL and may not be available in the first month or so of 2024.

Harry, too, is intriguing, as he switched from wide receiver to tight end. Most expected Minnesota to roll with Josh Oliver, Johnny Mundt, and Nick Muse until Hockenson’s return, but four new faces came aboard the roster.

3. Running Back

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Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) runs the ball at training camp practice on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis. Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin. © Samantha Madar/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Aaron Jones
Cam Akers (maybe?)

Jones has rushed for about 6,000 yards in his career and holds a five-yards-per-carry average. At age 29, he may slow down a bit, but Jones played masterfully for the Green Bay Packers at the end of 2023 and in the postseason.

The Vikings must repair their ground attack once and for all after two consecutive seasons of struggles. It might’ve been tempting to nominate Ty Chandler as the RB1 early this offseason, but onboarding Jones is a surer fix. Based on his upside in O’Connell’s offense and under the assumption he should have a productive year or two left in thank, adding Jones was a savvy transaction.

Meanwhile, Minnesota “might” have re-signed Cam Akers after ESPN reported the move on its “Transactions” page last week. But the Vikings have not confirmed the signing.

2. Off-Ball Linebacker

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Blake Cashman
Kamu Grugier-Hill
Dallas Gant
KJ Cloyd

Jordan Hicks skedaddled for the Cleveland Browns, and Cashman signed via free agency as his direct replacement. Grugier-Hill entered the chat for depth and should fit nicely in Brian Flores’ defense.

Cashman fired up a magnificent season in 2023, and the Eden Prairie native will hope to continue his positive trajectory in his hometown.

1. Outside Linebacker

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Jonathan Greenard
Dallas Turner
Andrew Van Ginkel
Gabriel Murphy
Jihad Ward
Bo Richter
Owen Porter

The first three men on the list can be classified as a home run addition(s) in a single offseason. Indeed, it ached to lose Danielle Hunter, yet making up for his absence with Greenard, Turner, Van Ginkel, and Murphy in a more affordable way will work wonderfully.

In fact, the current set of EDGE rushers represents the deepest Vikings group since Hunter began to break out in 2015 and 2016. Usually, Minnesota employs Hunter and another man like Everson Griffen or Za’Darius Smith, and then that’s pretty much it for trustworthy production.

Even after Hunter, Marcus Davenport, and D.J. Wonnum left, Minnesota is deep-deep at the position — that just so happens to be one of the most critical in football.

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