New Viking Labeled with “Bust” Potential

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings hope to finally fix their ground attack in 2024 after underwhelming team performances in 2022 and 2023.

New Viking Labeled with “Bust” Potential

To do so, the franchise onboarded Aaron Jones from the Green Bay Packers in March, the solve-all solution at RB1 for one year and $7 million. However, according to CBS Sports, Jones carries a large “bust” risk, specifically when applied to fantasy football, but with obvious ripples in overall implications.

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Jones went hog wild during the final five games of the 2023 season, helping the Packers secure a playoff berth and later upset the Dallas Cowboys on the road in the Wildcard Round. Accordingly, Minnesota sought to prolong that hot streak with a contract in the Twin Cities, brushing away any age-related fears as Jones will turn 30 in December.

CBS Sports’ Dave Ricard warned about the fantasy bust potential this week: “Why might he bust? Before he erupted in the playoffs last year, Jones totaled 483 yards and three touchdowns on 102 touches over eight games. And with Kevin O’Connell as head coach, the Vikings have been among the most pass-heavy offenses in football and have failed to produce a RB with 15-plus PPR points each of the past two seasons (Alexander Mattison averaged 8.3 PPR per game in 2023).”

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If Jones gets injured or encounters an age-related decline, Ty Chandler will be waiting for RB1 duty. The Vikings are also expected to sign Cam Akers sometime soon.

“Jones has missed playing time in three of his past four seasons and will turn 30 this season. He’s much more of a quality RB to use in lineups to begin the year but not count on as a season-long starter,” Ricard added.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

In fairness to Ricard’s argument, these were the rushing-yard outputs by game for Jones until he caught fire on Christmas Eve:

  • 41
  • 18
  • 35
  • 29
  • 73
  • 35
  • 14
  • 53

If that were replicated in the Vikings’ offense sometime during the early part of the regular season, the “bust” assessment would be visible in living color.

Minnesota saved $3.35 million by releasing Alexander Mattison in March, flipping that cash into Jones for a one-year experiment. 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.

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In May, Pro Football Focus named Jones the eighth-best running back in the NFL entering 2024. So, something’s gotta give — either CBS Sports or PFF will be closer to accurate in a few short months.

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