Vikings Land 2 “Bargain Signings” in Free Agency

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Since Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over the front office in 2022, Minnesota’s general manager has completely rebuilt the roster. The running-it-back narrative was overblown in the 2023 offseason, but even the last doubters should have buried the theory at some point in the last couple of weeks. Of the 66 currently employed Vikings, only 12 players remain from the previous regime, and five have been re-signed or extended by Adofo-Mensah.

Vikings Land 2 “Bargain Signings” in Free Agency

Vikings Land 2 "Bargain Signings" in Free Agency
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2024 free agency period has also included some monumental changes in the organization’s structure, especially the departures of foundational pieces Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, which triggered more changes and perhaps even a shift in the strategy named competitive rebuild. Rarely are teams with a bridge QB like Sam Darnold or a rookie under center actually competitive, although the Vikes still have some fantastic players around those passers.

Regardless, Adofo-Mensah acquired some excellent players, some of them for a decent price, according to CBS Sports analyst Jared Dubin, who named his favorite bargain signings. Aaron Jones and Andrew Van Ginkel drew his attention.

Different Story
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Running back Jones was released from Green Bay following the signing of star runner Josh Jacobs. It took a salary of $7 million to switch his jersey color from green to purple.

The Packers reportedly wanted Aaron Jones to take a pay cut to around $6 million … so he went and signed with their division rivals for one year and $7 million (fully guaranteed). He ended the 2023 season with a Packers-record five consecutive 100-plus-yard rushing games, including the two playoff contests against the Cowboys and 49ers. He’s getting up there in years but still playing at a very high level, and should form a nice tandem with Ty Chandler.

Jared Dubin

After one-and-a-half decades of watching explosive RBs Dalvin Cook and Adrian Peterson carve up defenses, longtime backup Alexander Mattison took over in 2023, but he couldn’t enter the circle of electric Vikings rushers. Ty Chandler stole his job late in the season, perhaps too late, considering how much more dynamic he proved in those contests.

Chandler and Jones will form a solid duo in the upcoming season and can hopefully revive the lackluster rushing attack to spell the downgraded QB position better than in the second half of last season.

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports.

An outside linebacker, Van Ginkel, reunited with his former head coach Brian Flores as a perfect fit for his defense.

Reuniting Andrew Van Ginkel with the coach (defensive coordinator Brian Flores) who first figured out the best way to utilize his skill set is a very good idea. Doing it for only $20 million over two years with $10 million in guarantees is an even better one. Minnesota essentially turned the Danielle Hunter money into both Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard. Hunter is the best player of the trio, but the Vikes needed more than just one rushmen. They got a good one here, and relatively cheap.

Jared Dubin
Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Hunter’s departure will hurt, but the tandem Van Ginkel/Greenard might be an upgrade over Hunter/Wonnum from the previous years. The new arrival can stop the run, rush the passer, and drop back in coverage. Because versatility is vital in a Flores defense, his presence will open up even more wrinkles in the unique scheme.

Adofo-Mensah had some cap space to spend for the first time in his tenure, but he has addressed almost every position and weakness, signing some significant contributors for relatively cheap money.

It remains to be seen how successful his free agency period was, but on paper, it looks like a good one despite losing a pair of staples.

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