Vikings “Offseason Grade” Is Pretty Noteworthy

Vikings
Minnesota Vikings General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah addressed the media about the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft from the TCO Performance Center. The Vikings have long-term draft needs at quarterback, cornerback, and interior offensive line.

The Minnesota Vikings welcomed over 15 new veteran free agents this offseason, seven rookies from the 2024 NFL Draft, and 17 undrafted free agents following the draft.

Vikings “Offseason Grade” Is Pretty Noteworthy

Along the way, about 16 players from the 2023 roster joined new teams, and change, generally speaking, was on the menu this offseason for Minnesota.

new qb
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The top of the ticket was headlined by J.J. McCarthy, the University of Michigan quarterback selected by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah with the 10th overall pick. In time, he will take over the franchise and hopefully not relinquish the QB1 title for years. Meanwhile, the Vikings used free agency to onboard veteran defensive help, hoping to improve Brian Flores’ defense in 2024, a group that already markedly climbed the NFL’s pecking order from 2022 to 2023.

For their troubles, Bleacher Report, a publication that evaluated each NFL team’s offseason performance this week, assigned Minnesota a B+ grade.

Vikings QB
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“Letting Kirk Cousins walk allowed the Vikings to bring in some quality free agents, like edge-rusher Jonathan Greenard and running back Aaron Jones. They did have to replace players like Danielle Hunter and Jordan Hicks, but they’ve done a solid job of doing so,” BR’s Kristopher Knox explained. “Letting Cousins go would have been an even bigger win had it directly led to an extension for star receiver Justin Jefferson. For now, though, Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson (when recovered from ACL and MCL injuries) and Jones will provide rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy with a strong supporting cast.”

Cousins chose the Atlanta Falcons as his next employer but has encountered a comedy of errors since the union. Atlanta allegedly tampered with the veteran quarterback before it was allowed, and then the Falcons’ front office drafted his replacement, Michael Penix Jr., without telling Cousins the plan until minutes prior.

vikings
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Knox continued, “Will McCarthy quickly adjust to the NFL, win the starting job over Sam Darnold and give Minnesota a quality offense in 2024? That’s the other big factor that could make or break the Vikings’ playoff chances this year. Still, with players like Greenard and rookie pass-rusher Dallas Turner in the fold, the defense should take another positive step under coordinator Brian Flores this season. If McCarthy and/or Darnold do play well, the Vikings should put pressure on the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.”

No one is too sure when McCarthy will take over for Darnold, but the switch is basically inevitable. Some Vikings fans hold out hope, though, that Darnold can script a Baker Mayfield-like season and perhaps keep McCarthy at bay indefinitely.

Offseason
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Sportsbooks forecast the Vikings to win 6-8 games.

The clubs with higher offseason grades than Minnesota? Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers — all receiving an A-, A, or A+.

The regular season kicks off in 16 weeks.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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