Vikings Have a “Bounceback Candidate” in 2024

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Minnesota Vikings mandatory minicamp gets off the ground in one week after about five months of offseason. The franchise will feature a new quarterback, linebacker, three EDGE rushers, and possibly a cornerback.

Vikings Have a “Bounceback Candidate” in 2024

It will also showcase a fresh running back in Aaron Jones, who defected from the Green Bay Packers during free agency. And according to Pro Football Focus, Jones is the Vikings’ foremost bounceback candidate.

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Bounce back from what, you ask? Injury. Jones missed six games in 2023 because of a hamstring ailment — the same injury that beset Justin Jefferson — and an MCL sprain last November. Otherwise, Jones performed quite well and wholly avoided an age-related decline, unlike former Viking Dalvin Cook. Jones actually played marvelously down the stretch of the regular season and in the postseason.

As a bounceback candidate, PFF’s Bradley Locker explained, “Jones mustered 889 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns last year, primarily because he missed six games with hamstring and knee injuries. At the same time, his numbers after contact and in receiving efficiency were largely on par with the past few years, where he was one of the top backfield weapons in football. Plus, Jones earned four straight games with a grade above 80.0 as the season wound down, presumably as he got healthier.”

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Minnesota saved $3.5 million by releasing Alexander Mattison in March, flipping that cash into Jones for a one-year experiment. Jones has squared off 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.

“If he can avoid more injuries, Jones could shoulder an even higher carry proportion in his first year in Minnesota, particularly because there aren’t exactly running backs equivalent to A.J. Dillon (especially a few years ago) behind him. Jones should prove key in helping either Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy, given Kevin O’Connell’s affinity for play action,” Locker added.

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Minnesota has finished 27th per rushing DVOA in back-to-back seasons since Kevin O’Connell took over as head coach two years ago. It will hope Jones is the solve-all to get out of the NFL’s basement.

Other bounceback personalities defined by PFF included Daniel Jones (New York Giants), Tony Pollard (Tennessee Titans), and Marcus Davenport (Detroit Lions), among others.

Running Back
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Jones will turn 30 in December.

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 are provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information is provided by