4 Players the Vikings Will Miss the Most in 2024

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The Minnesota Vikings added 14 newcomers this offseason, prioritizing defense during free agency.

The club is expected to target a quarterback in the 1st Round of next month’s draft, though general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah probably needs to execute one more trade to make that happen.

4 Players the Vikings Will Miss the Most in 2024

Meanwhile, about 16 players departed via free agency. Based on 2024 impact, these are the four players the Vikings will miss the most, ranked in ascending order (No. 4 = miss the least).

4. D.J. Wonnum (OLB)

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New Team = Carolina Panthers

Minnesota signed Jonathan Greenard (Houston Texans) and Andrew Van Ginkel (Miami Dolphins) to replace Wonnum and another man on this list, and most Vikings fans are optimistic about the new duo.

Yet, Brian Flores’ defense doesn’t showcase too much EDGE depth aside from Patrick Jones II, Andre Carter II, and newcomer Jihad Ward. From the draft or the breadcrumbs of free agency, Minnesota may need more outside linebacking reinforcements. Fortunately, a few productive veteran EDGE rushers always live on the free-agent wire.

In theory, though, if Wonnum had returned to the Vikings, this depth problem would be diminished. No cigar.

3. Kirk Cousins (QB)

Rumors Hit Boiling
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New Team = Atlanta Falcons

The goal for the long-term is not to miss Kirk Cousins at all, assuming the Vikings’ brass identifies and drafts the right man as his replacement. In all likelihood, however, it will take that player a few years to mature and develop — while purple fans watch Cousins dime 4,000+ passing yards and 30+ touchdown passes per season down in Atlanta.

No matter what, Minnesota could certainly utilize Cousins’ production in 2024; it just made a fundamental decision not to bow to his financial demands.

If the rookie quarterback struggles, or Sam Darnold stinks, more than a few Vikings fans will be happy to point toward the NFC South and say, “See, shouldn’t have let that guy go.”

2. The Draft Capital

The Gringe Visited
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New Team = Houston Texans | Detroit Lions

Not a human per se, but if the Vikings pull off a mighty trade for a quarterback in Round 1 of the draft, fans will be excited — but will also miss draft picks from Round 2 and 3, which belong to the Texans and Lions, respectively.

Houston already grabbed Minnesota’s 2nd-Rounder in a swap involving the 23rd overall pick, and Detroit’s ownership of the Vikings’ 3rd-Rounder is the final step of the T.J. Hockenson trade.

Folks will probably be happy with the Vikings’ quarterback selection, but deep down on Saturday, April 26th, the draft picks will be missed.

1. Danielle Hunter (OLB)

Danielle Hunter
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New Team = Houston Texans

This man was the best and most consistent player on the whole Vikings team last year, and it wasn’t very debatable. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson battled injuries, leaving Hunter as the one steady force for nonstop Pro Bowl production.

Minnesota basically signed Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel for the price of Hunter, but if one of them doesn’t live up to expectations, many will point toward Houston and shout, “We should’ve kept Hunter.”

Hunter will be missed, rest assured. It’s kind of heartwarming, though, that he will play in front of his hometown Texans for the next couple of seasons.

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.