Janik Eckardt’s Vikings Free Agency Predictions | 2024

Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports.

Free agency will be a huge event for the Minnesota Vikings in 2024. Well, it always is, but this year is especially crucial. The purple team is scheduled to lose two annual Pro Bowl candidates, Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter. Also entering the pool of free agents are linebacker Jordan Hicks, offensive guard Dalton Risner, and wideout K.J. Osborn.

Janik Eckardt’s Vikings Free Agency Predictions | 2024

5 Predictions for Vikings Free Agency
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings in his third offseason, must either replace those guys or re-sign them. According to OTC, he has roughly $37 million to spend. That’s much more than in previous years when he entered the offseason in the red numbers. He has some cash available but must also find players for generally expensive positions.

Teams can legally talk to players and agents on Monday, March 11th, and sign deals two days later. Here are six predictions for Minnesota’s free agency phase.

1. Vikings Sign a Quarterback

Minnesota employs only two quarterbacks for the 2024 campaign: Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall. Mullens is a fun backup, someone who is unafraid to play. He will light up the stat sheet, but unfortunately, he will also throw a bunch of interceptions. Hall hasn’t shown much that implied starter potential.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports.

That’s why the Vikings will acquire a quarterback. The first option is Cousins, though he can decline the offer and move elsewhere. Players like Sam Darnold, Russell Wilson, or Ryan Tannehill are underwhelming alternatives, but it would not be a long-term solution.

The Vikings will sign a borderline starter because they could miss out on passers in the draft, and entering the season with the two aforementioned players under contract is unsatisfactory. A backup plan is needed.

2. Vikings Spend Primarily on Defense

The Vikings need some reinforcements on both sides of the ball. Holes can be found all over the place as the team requires a new third wideout behind Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, a left guard, a quarterback, and a running back.

Flores Flourish
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

While the total number of added players might result in a victory for the offense, the high-profile players will be defenders. Defensive coordinator Brian Flores desperately needs some more talent to work with, as there are barely difference-makers under contract. Kevin O’Connell’s offense, meanwhile, already has some of those.

Christian Wilkins, a former defensive tackle from the Miami Dolphins, has been connected to the Vikes as Flores drafted him.

3. Brandon Powell Returns

It’s generally hard to predict which players will return for another season, but Brandon Powell has many reasons to sign a second purple deal. The punt returner and depth wideout has surely earned another contract. He used to be a journeyman returner but experienced his most productive season on offense last year.

The Dalton Risner
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Powell is a sure-handed returner and a reliable option as a depth receiver. He might not quite have enough juice to be a WR3, but he is a wonderful WR4, and the Vikings will make sure to have the veteran back for another campaign.

4. Vikings Don’t Add Star Runner

Also on O’Connell’s wishlist will be a new running back to share the load with Ty Chandler after the release of Alexander Mattison. The free agency class features a bunch of big-name halfbacks, primarily Derrick Henry, Saquon Barkley, and Josh Jacobs.

Indianapolis Colts running back Zack Moss (21) leaves the field Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

But the Vikings will not sign a big name. If one free agent joins the purple team, it will be a low-budget borderline starter like Zack Moss, Devin Singletary, A.J. Dillon, or Gus Edwards rather than an expensive player.

The coaches like Chandler’s burst and need to pair him with someone instead of benching him behind a star. Adofo-Mensah makes the calls, and his analytical approach will prevent the franchise from spending big bucks, as second RB contracts are rarely a smart move.

5. Defensive Front Reinforced

The most notable acquisitions will be defensive linemen and edge defenders. With the looming exit of Hunter, D.J. Wonnum, and Marcus Davenport, the Vikings don’t just need one but two starters to take their place.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

They also need someone to support Harrison Phillips on the defensive line, as the lack of talent in that area of the defense was a massive problem last year.

Successful teams in the NFL have strong defensive lines to stop the run and put pressure on the opposing passer. The Vikings will sign multiple players to reinforce the shaky front seven personnel.

6. A New Kicker

Greg Joseph was Minnesota’s kicker in the last three seasons. While he has been reliable in clutch moments, his overall percentages in field goal and extra-point kicking were terrible in all three campaigns.

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Joseph hit 82.6% of his field goals and 90.3% of his extra points in three seasons with the Vikings. Last year, the 29-year-old ranked 28th in field goals and 17th in extra points. That simply doesn’t cut it in the league, and with a bunch of excellent veterans available, expect the Vikings to make a change either in free agency or in the draft. Joseph will not return for a fourth campaign.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt