5 Things We Learned about the Vikings This Spring

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

All Minnesota Vikings offseason events are in the books, and training camp is less than a month away.

5 Things We Learned about the Vikings This Spring

The franchise is expected to finish in last place inside the NFC North, tabulating about seven wins along the way, according to oddsmakers. And with the regular season about 11 weeks in the future, let’s take a look back at five items learned this spring. They’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most important).

5. Jordan Addison Hellbent on Elite Status

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.

Some NFL pundits — the fantasy football community, particularly — have forecasted Addison for a sophomore slump, mainly because he won’t have Kirk Cousins slinging the pigskin in 2024.

The problem is that he disagrees.

Addison said via Vikings.com three weeks ago that he’s focused on winning at the line of scrimmage in 2024. “That’s been a main focus for me, and I feel like it’s been paying off. My work is showing out there. Having a plan once I get to the line, being decisive and just really making sure I’m locked into my release.”

The youngster tabulated 10 touchdowns as a rookie in 2023, leading the team.

“Last year, I wasn’t as confident in my releases. I wasn’t being decisive. I didn’t have a plan when I was coming up to the line; I was kind of just freelancing, trying to do what I could do. Make something work. But now, like I said, it’s my focus,” Addison added.

And last week, SI.com’s Albert Breer analyzed several teams following minicamps last week, and the Vikings were spotlighted. He was high on Addison and noted, “Jordan Addison’s growth has created buzz in the Vikings’ facility. With Jefferson away for most of the offseason program, Addison’s progress really showed up — he came back physically stronger in April while maintaining the burst and body control that made him a first-round pick in 2023.”

Addison is putting in the work, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

4. Dallas Turner Looks like the Real Deal

Minnesota outside linebacker Dallas Turner at the first day of rookie minicamp on May 10th, 2024, in Eagan, Minnesota. TCO Performance Center. Turner was drafted by the Vikings with the 17th overall pick on April 25th, 2024, in Detroit.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert tweeted late last month, “Christian Darrisaw was just raving about rookie Vikings LB Dallas Turner. Said he saw Turner put a spin move on another lineman that was faster than the one Danielle Hunter used to put on people.”

Specifically, Darrisaw told KSTP’s Darren Wolfson, “He had a spin move last week, it was quicker than Danielle’s. I was like, ‘Damn, this guy’s gonna be special.’”

Everything about Turner has been positive this spring, about what one would expect from an expensive — the Vikings gave up a lot via trade to get him — 1st-Rounder. He might start immediately.

3. Unforeseen Offensive Line Competition

Dalton Risner
Minnesota guard Dalton Risner addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Dalton Risner: “We All Know We Have A Great Culture But We Came Up Short This Season.”

Minnesota re-signed Dalton Risner at the end of May, and soon after, head coach Kevin O’Connell said on the Rich Eisen Show, “We bring back Dalton Risner, who’s gonna compete like crazy at the guard spot with both Ed Ingram and Blake Brandel.”

Risner’s return was somewhat surprising because the coaching staff had claimed that Brandel would probably start. Intitially this offseason, if Risner had returned then, most would’ve labeled him a starter. But nope — not so fast.

There will be an interior offensive competition between three guards for two spots.

2. Sam Darnold Is the For-Sure QB1 in September

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell said at minicamp, “We haven’t had to put out a depth chart or anything like that, but I would say Sam would be the guy I would look to based on the spring he’s had and, really, where he’s at in his career and his quarterback journey, and what he’s been able to do coming in and [hitting] the ground running and taking advantage of the competitive situation.”

It is severely unlikely that Darnold will relinquish his QB1 job before Week 1. In fact, by August or so, it might be absolutely established that Darnold will start in 2024. It’s trending that way.

1. The Franchise Is Jefferson’s — Nobody Else’s

The 'Other' Important Race for Justin Jefferson
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

J.J. McCarthy might — hopefully he will — lay stake to this claim before too long, but until then, the Minnesota Vikings belong to Justin Jefferson.

The phenom playmaker inked his humongous four-year, $140 million extension a couple of weeks ago, capping 18 months of everyone wondering when the hell the deal would be finalized. Then, at this post-extension press conference, Jefferson referred to the Vikings as “his,” verbiage he never fully used with Kirk Cousins on the roster.

A leader indeed, the purple team belongs to Jefferson. He will lead it like an elite quarterback might claim a team as his own.

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.