4 Non-Rookie Breakout Candidates for the Vikings in 2024

Tabs Unlikely
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The Minnesota Vikings will soon fire up mandatory minicamp in June, training camp in July, the preseason in August, and the regular season in September.

4 Non-Rookie Breakout Candidates for the Vikings in 2024

Indeed, meaningful Vikings happenings are on the way as the franchise seeks to improve on a wayward 7-10 season in 2023.

And inside that quest, these are four non-rookie breakout candidates to monitor, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most likely to break out).

4. Ed Ingram (RG)

Ingram Starting
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Ingram produced a 59.9 Pro Football Focus grade in 2023, up slightly for his rookie season. In fact, the young guard only really played poorly in his first handful of games as a rookie. Because it was a first impression — and Vikings often don’t have patience for rookies’ development, in general — some wrote him off as no good.

But Ingram played well in Year No. 2, and he might take the leap in Year No. 3 as many young players do.

3. Ty Chandler (RB)

Monitor Key Offensive
Minnesota running back Ty Chandler (32) dives for the end zone as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt (57) and Cincinnati Bengals safety Dax Hill (23) defend in the first quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The beholder of 4.38 speed, Chandler will split RB1-RB2 duties with Aaron Jones in 2024. The North Carolina alumnus put a thumbprint on the 2023 season in December and January and actually felt in line for a possible bellcow RB1 gig when this offseason kicked off.

If Jones gets injured — he’s old and injury-prone — Chandler will be the next man up. He’ll make the most of his opportunity, building on his wonderful finish in 2023.

2. Mekhi Blackmon (CB)

Breakout Candidates
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Blackmon was the NFL’s 32nd-best overall cornerback back in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus, a superb mark for a rookie and a decent grade for anybody. About 90 cornerbacks play football on any given Sunday, and Blackmon was near the NFL’s best one-third.

He should be able to build upon a noteworthy rookie season, and with only Byron Murphy and possibly Shaquill Griffin ahead of him on the depth chart, Blackmon will have the opportunity to shine.

1. Sam Darnold (QB)

Vegas Odds
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When Darnold last started in the NFL two years ago, he didn’t play poorly at all.

QB Rankings | 2022,
(min. 125 att)

  1. Patrick Mahomes (.178)
  2. Tua Tagovailoa (.148)
  3. Jalen Hurts (.143)
  4. Josh Allen (.137)
  5. Sam Darnold (.128)
  6. Jimmy Garoppolo (.128)
  7. Joe Burrow (.126)

There’s a plausible chance that he will pull off a Baker Mayfield-like tale in 2023, convincing everyone that he’s a decent start after all. The VIkings’ offense was molded in paradise for any quarterback, Darnold included.

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.