These Are the 9 New Vikings

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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has been active, trying to replace the departed players and fill pre-existing holes. The top news is the exit of star players Danielle Hunter and Kirk Cousins, who will return to U.S. Bank Stadium in 2024, but this time in different uniforms. The general manager has addressed every area of the roster besides the DBs.

These Are the 9 New Vikings

The following list will include all new Vikings. Re-signed players Brandon Powell, Blake Brandel, Jonathan Bullard, and David Quessenberry will not be listed, nor will acquisitions before free agency opened like defensive back A.J. Green.

QB Sam Darnold

These Are the 9 New Vikings
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Cousins is gone, and the Vikings needed a new quarterback. Because veteran Nick Mullens and 2023 rookie Jaren Hall are too error-prone, former third-round pick Sam Darnold was signed as the short-term solution.

Darnold was a highly-touted draft prospect in 2018 but couldn’t reach his potential, partly because of the terrible surroundings he had to overcome in New York and Carolina. Playing in an offense that features Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson will help him just as much as having former QBs Kevin O’Connell and Josh McCown in his corner.

The 26-year-old is not supposed to be the long-term starter, as the Vikings essentially confirmed when they acquired more assets to trade up for a quarterback just a few days after signing him. Showing that he can be a serviceable quarterback in the NFL must be his goal to earn more opportunities in the future. He will be the starter until the incoming rookie is ready, which could, in theory, be all year.

RB Aaron Jones

The rushing attack was one of the worst elements of the 2023 Vikings and required a serious overhaul. Alexander Mattison was released before free agency opened, leaving Ty Chandler as the only candidate for carries besides depth players Myles Gaskin and DeWayne McBride and kick returner Kene Nwangwu.

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Fortunately, the running back market was flooded with excellent runners, and the Packers even added one more when they parted ways with Aaron Jones following the signing of Josh Jacobs.

Jones is immediately the team’s top runner, and despite already turning 29, he still had his burst in Green Bay’s recent playoff run, dominating on the ground in the last third of the season after overcoming a couple of minor injuries. The veteran is an agile runner with outstanding pass-catching ability and should be a prompt upgrade.

WR Trent Sherfield

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Trent Sherfield has been a journeyman in the NFL, playing three seasons in Arizona, followed by one season each in San Francisco, Miami, and Buffalo. He has never put up crazy numbers but is a reliable special teams player and earns his snaps by providing a boost as a blocker in the running game.

After the departure of K.J. Osborn, there are some snaps available next to Jefferson and Addison. Punt returner Powell will get some of those, and perhaps another wideout is on the way, but Sherfield is a good bet to claim a spot on the roster and contribute on offense.

OG/C Dan Feeney

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Backup center Austin Schlottmann and veteran guard Chris Reed are off the team, so GM Adofo-Mensah had to find a new backup for the interior spots. Dan Feeney is perfect for that because he has plenty of experience at both center and guard spots.

Formerly a third-rounder, Feeney has been a replacement player for years. However, the Vikings have also lost left guard Dalton Risner, and so far, Brandel and Feeney would be competing for that job unless another player is added to the mix. He is an uninspiring starter, but his versatility and experience make him a perfect reserve.

DL Jerry Tillery

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Perhaps the weakest area on the roster, Minnesota missed out on a significant DL help in free agency. The expensive but excellent players Christian Wilkins, D.J. Reader, Leonard Williams, and Arik Armstead signed elsewhere, but there was still a massive hole on the defensive line.

Jerry Tillery was once a first-round pick of the Chargers, but he couldn’t live up to the pre-draft hype and flamed out during his rookie contract. He spent the majority of the last two seasons in Las Vegas and was a serviceable player in 2023 under new head coach Antonio Pierce.

Tillery is likely the strongest interior pass-rusher on Minnesota’s roster, something the defense desperately needed. He will at least play a rotational role, but right now, he should be considered a starter.

EDGE Jonathan Greenard

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Hunter and his running mates Marcus Davenport and D.J. Wonnum exited the franchise, leaving only Andre Carter and Patrick Jones on the team. Jonathan Greenard was one of the top defenders on the market after enjoying a breakout season with 12.5 sacks last year.

After four seasons in Houston, Greenard signed a four-year contract with an annual value of $19 million. It will not be easy to replace Hunter, a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but he has shown his talent in 2023 and surely hopes to continue playing at that level.

The 26-year-old is a solid defender against the run and pass, which is the first step to replicate Hunter’s value in Brian Flores’ defense.

EDGE Andrew Van Ginkel

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Andrew Van Ginkel was drafted by Brian Flores in 2019 when the defensive coordinator was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. They now reunite in Minnesota. He had a marvelous 2023 campaign in a much bigger role than expected because Bradley Chubb and Jalean Phillips sustained injuries.

The 28-year-old signed for two seasons after collecting six sacks last season. Van Ginkel is a perfect fit in Flores’ defense because he is an edge-rusher who can drop back into coverage occasionally, which only increases the defensive unit’s versatility.

Similar to his new teammate Greenard, the high-motor player excels in all aspects of edge play. Neither of the duo can fully replace Hunter, but they might just be a better duo than Hunter/Wonnum.

LB Blake Cashman

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Jordan Hicks is no longer with the team after a surprisingly good campaign. Next to Ivan Pace, it will be Blake Cashman in 2024, who had his best season to date sharing a defense in Houston with Greenard.

The linebacker was born 27 years ago in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, grew up in Minnesota, and played college ball at the University of Minnesota. Injuries slowed him down in the first three seasons of his career, but he has stayed fairly healthy in the last two, racking up 106 tackles and two sacks in 2023.

Cashman is another versatile defender who fits Flores’ ideas. A fantastic pass-rusher, Cashman is equally skilled in stopping the run and in coverage. If healthy, Cashman will be an upgrade over Hicks.

K Parker Romo

Detroit Lions kicker Parker Romo (24) attempts a field goal against the New York Giants during the second half of a preseason game at Ford Field in Detroit on Friday, Aug. 11, 2023. © Junfu Han/Detroit Free Press / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Greg Joseph ranked annually amongst the league’s worst kickers from a percentage standpoint, and it was time to find someone else. Parker Romo shined in the XFL, hitting 17 of 19 field goals, including a 57-yarder, a league record that has been broken since.

After stints with the Saints, Lions, and Bears, the Vikings are his fourth franchise in the big league, but he and his strong leg have yet to attempt a kick in the NFL. It can’t be ruled out that the Vikings will add competition in the draft, but for now, he is the starting kicker.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt