11 New Vikings Players Who Could Start Week 1

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The Minnesota Vikings’ overwhelmingly flipped the script this offseason — philosophically and on the depth chart. The club said goodbye to franchise cornerstones Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter and welcomed rookies J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner.

11 New Vikings Players Who Could Start Week 1

Between roughly 15 new free agents, around 20 players departing from the 2023 roster, and 24 rookies from the draft and undrafted free agency, the club will have some new starters this season.

These are 11 new possible starters, listed alphabetically.

1. Blake Cashman (LB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Jordan Hicks

This Eden Prairie native signed on the Vikings’ dotted line right away during free agency and has a clear path to a starting off-ball linebacker spot. The guy who held the job last year, Hicks, now plays for the Cleveland Browns.

Barring injury, this hometowner will start for Minnesota in Week 1 next to Ivan Pace Jr.

2. Jonathan Greenard (OLB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Danielle Hunter

Minnesota and Houston basically traded Hunter and Greenard, with Greenard at a bit more affordable pricepoint and two years Hunter’s junior. He broke out into stardom last year, tabulating 12.5 sacks, and will use Minnesota as his career’s second chapter.

Like Cashman, Greenard is a lock to start for the 2024 Vikings.

3. Shaquill Griffin (CB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Akayleb Evans

Griffin joined Minnesota’s roster after the first wave of free agency, almost feeling like an ancillary piece in the secondary at the time. But due to his experience — 89 career games with 79 starts — he’s the most experienced cornerback in the purple locker room.

He could steal Akayleb Evans’ job from 2023.

4. Aaron Jones (RB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Alexander Mattison

A no-brainer to start, Jones defected from the Green Bay Packers in March, a squad that preferred Josh Jacobs. Minnesota paid Jones handsomely by a running back’s standards, so he will for sure take the first hand-off in 2024.

Don’t sleep on Ty Chandler, though. He should grab about 30%-40% of rushing attempts.

5-6. J.J. McCarthy (QB) or Sam Darnold (QB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Kirk Cousins

This battle will seize all the headlines — rightfully so. This summer will be aptly titled “McCarthy or Darnold” in Minnesota.

Darnold joined the club in March after Kirk Cousins left, an insurance policy in case the draft bent pear-shaped. It did not, and Minnesota drafted McCarthy with the 10th overall pick. The job will be McCarthy’s eventually — no matter what — so it’s a waiting game for the young Wolverine.

7. Will Reichard (K)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Greg Joseph

The NCAA’s all-time leading scorer, a record he stole from Daniel Carlson, a former Vikings kicker, Reichard is in the house. He’ll become the new Greg Joseph unless Parker Romo somehow wins the battle.

Joseph now kicks for the Packers.

8-9. Dallas Turner (OLB) or Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Marcus Davenport

Turner and Van Ginkel will probably finish 2024 with similar defensive snap counts, but no matter what, change is on the menu because Marcus Davenport and D.J. Wonnum held this job in 2023.

When the dust settles, Van Ginkel will likely serve as a situational pass rusher, with Turner as the bellcow EDGE. But it’s a guessing game on the timetable.

10-11. Jerry Tillery (DT) or Jonah Williams (DT)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Dean Lowry

The Vikings didn’t afford many resources to the defensive tackle spot next to the nose tackle — they never do — therefore, this new starter outcome is between Tiller and Williams.

Williams started more games for the Rams in 2023 than Tillery did for the Raiders, but both had similar snap counts when the season ended.

With a side dish of Jonathan Bullard, may the best man replace Lowry in 2024.


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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