4 Reasons Why 2024 Vikings Can Be Better than 2023

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Most NFL pundits believe the Minnesota Vikings will win about seven games in 2024.

4 Reasons Why 2024 Vikings Can Be Better than 2023

The mindset is understandable, as the Vikings said goodbye to franchise staples Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter in March. It’s up to their replacements — J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner — to eventually emerge and guide the ship.

There’s still a chance, though, that the 2024 Vikings can top the 2023 Vikings’ 7-10 record, and here’s how that can be done. The reasons are listed in ascending order (No. 1 = top reason why the 2024 team can improve).

4. No QB Carousel?

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Last year, Minnesota featured four quarterbacks due to injury and poor performance, which will sink almost any team seeking the postseason. But in 2024, Sam Darnold should get the scepter and hold it until the Vikings’ coaching staff deems J.J. McCarthy ready.

There’s always the chance that Darnold gets hurt, too, but 2023 should’ve been an anomaly with four quarterbacks starting. This campaign should be The Darnold Show, with a side dish of McCarthy.

3. A Better Run Game — Finally

Aaron Jones, Jonathan Greenard, Jordan Addison and Cam Bynum spoke with reporters after mandatory minicamp on Wednesday, Jun 5, 2024, at TCO Performance Center. The Vikings signed Jones during the 2024 free agency period, a replacement for Alexander Mattison, who joined the Las Vegas Raiders roster.

In back-to-back seasons, Minnesota has ranked 27th per rushing DVOA. That’s awful. Kevin O’Connell’s offense can not be seasoned with herbs and spices until the running game is at least decent.

Well, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed Aaron Jones in March to, alas, fix this issue, and Jones finished 2023 with five strong performances. If Jones and Ty Chander can put the purple run game on the map, Minnesota will improve, on the whole.

2. Reduced Turnovers on Offense

Should Have Optimism
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The Vikings ranked 31st in the NFL last season per giveaways, and that stat alone might’ve been the franchise’s undoing. Fumbles flooded box scores, especially at the start of the season and later when Joshua Dobbs took over.

Many of Minnesota’s turnovers were strange or merely bad luck, so it’s unlikely that the problem plagues the franchise again in 2024. In fact, the Vikings’ turnover stats were quite splendid in 2022, Kevin O’Connell’s first on the job.

1. Brian Flores’ Defense Enters the Top 10

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In 2022, Minnesota’s defense, under Ed Donatell, ranked 24th per DVOA. Brian Flores took over in 2023, and the group ascended to 11th per the same metric.

If Flores can effectuate improvement again — like he did for the Miami Dolphins in 2019-2020 — the purple defense can climb higher. During the middle of last season, Flores’ men formulated one of the best defenses in the sport until the efficiency plunged in December.

Because Flores is still in charge, the Vikings may become a defense-first team for the next year or so.

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.