Vikings Young Core Ranked Near Top of NFL

Week Is an Early
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison (3) does a Lambeau Leap with Vikings fans Craig Lindsay, Nick Johnson and Chris Gangl against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, October 29, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Vikings won the game, 24-10. © Tork Mason / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Most of the NFL world and Minnesota Vikings fanbase are fixated on a few offseason items regarding the team.

Vikings Young Core Ranked Near Top of NFL

For the most part, the top topics and dominoes are:

  1. Kirk Cousins’ impending free agency
  2. Justin Jefferson’s contract extension status
  3. Danielle Hunter’s impending free agency
Vikings Young Core
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

But as deep background for Vikings’ roster-building, the hard part may already be done, according to Bleacher Report. BR ranked every team’s offensive core heading into free agency and the draft, and Minnesota checked in at No. 4 — rare enthusiasm for a team with meaty offseason questions.

BR’s Brad Gagnon wrote about Minnesota’s offensive core, “It doesn’t get much more promising than Justin Jefferson (24) and Jordan Addison (22) at wide receiver, but then there’s also 24-year-old left tackle Christian Darrisaw. That’s a hell of a threesome in support of whoever quarterbacks the Vikes in 2024.”

Draft Grade from Last
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings were outdueled on Gagnon’s list by the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 3), Miami Dolphins (No. 2), and Detroit Lions (No. 1). Beneath Minnesota were the Atlanta Falcons (No. 5), Green Bay Packers (No. 6), and Dallas Cowboys (No. 7).

What’s most notable about the Vikings’ Top 4 placement was the quarterback. As in — nobody knows who it will be in 2024. It could be Kirk Cousins. It could be Drake Maye. Maybe J.J. McCarthy. Perhaps Jayden Daniels. Minnesota could even roll with Michael Penix Jr., for example.

5 Vikings Rank
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

The lesson is that the Vikings have the offensive building blocks in place. It’s not easy to find a Justin Jefferson, Christian Darrisaw, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson, but Minnesota has the playmaker part out of the way.

Now, it just needs clarity at QB1, either via retaining Cousins for a couple of years or drafting the new guy in April. Between that bulky list of playmakers, plus a tutelage from a former quarterback in Kevin O’Connell as head coach, some quarterback in 2024 will live in a glorious spot to succeed.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Then, in free agency or the draft, Minnesota must solve the defensive side of operations, as well. Brian Flores took over the Vikings’ defense in 2023 and immediately improved the squad to 11th-best in the NFL per DVOA. Via the same metric, Minnesota ranked 24th under Ed Donatell in 2022. The Vikings will scour the open market for free-agent defenders in March, equipped with $36 million, their most substantial amount in years.

And after that, especially if Cousins isn’t re-signed, Vikings fans will kick back and wait for the almighty climax at quarterback, biding time to see which man will inherit the league’s fourth-best offensive core, per Bleacher Report.

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