Free Agency Is 1 Month Away. Here’s What the Vikings Need.

Drops One Hint
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The NFL season wrapped up Sunday night, as the Kansas City Chiefs outdueled the San Francisco 49ers in overtime of Super Bowl LVIII.

All 32 teams now set sail on the offseason.

Free Agency Is 1 Month Away. Here’s What the Vikings Need.

The Vikings are, of course, included and have a handful of roster needs.

The following list assumes that an additional off-ball linebacker will be easy to find — either re-signing Jordan Hicks or promoting Brian Asamoah. It also operates under the idea that a WR3 can be obtained for cheap or a man like Brandon Powell will be back for another season.

After that, these are the Vikings’ top five offseason needs, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most urgent need).

5. Cornerback

Is 1 Month
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Vikings faithful adored the team’s cornerbacks during the five-game winning streak a few months ago, but Brian Flores’ defense regressed down the stretch of 2023, and Minnesota missed the postseason.

Now, all of a sudden, corner feels like a roster requirement in the offseason again. It’s an annual Minnesota habit.

The Vikings have respectable CB building blocks in Mekhi Blackmon, Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth, and Byron Murphy, but adding a tall, physical CB might be a priority. Re-watch games against the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals, and you’ll agree.

If not, Minnesota will hope those four men grow in Flores’ system during Year No. 2 and pray for the best.

4. Defensive Tackle

Vikings Run It Back
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The Vikings routinely employ an average defensive tackle next to Harrison Phillips (or Dalvin Tomlinson or Linval Joseph in years past) — never a good or great asset.

Here’s the statistic Vikings fans will reference frequently heading into free agency and the draft:

They need more DT oomph, especially when getting after quarterbacks.

3. Running Back

Alexander Mattison
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Alexander Mattison didn’t work out as the RB1. Ty Chandler looked decent, at times, for the job. DeWayne McBride has a spot on the practice squad.

It is somewhat unlikely that Minnesota will just roll with the same group in 2024, “hoping it’ll be better this time around.” Therefore, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could scour free agency for a big name like Josh Jacobs, D’Andre Swift, or J.K. Dobbins. In fact, tons of high-profile running backs are set to hit the free-agent market.

In Year Three on Kevin O’Connell’s watch, the Vikings must, alas, fix the ground game. They’ll need different, additional, or young personnel to do so.

2. Outside Linebacker

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Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II are the only outside linebackers under contract in 2024. Aye caramba.

Danielle Hunter might be back for a 10th season — it feels like a mandatory roster decision — but then what? The club won’t re-up with Marcus Davenport. No, sir. That experiment failed.

D.J. Wonnum played well in 2023 but tore his quad and will hit free agency in one month.

Whether it’s Bryce Huff, Josh Uche, Jerome Baker, Josh Allen (the defender), Chase Young, Carl Lawson, etc., the Vikings need two EDGE rushers for 2024. Hunter and someone else.

1. Quarterback

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The Vikings’ quarterbacks under contract for next season are Nick Mullens and Jaren Hall. Kirk Cousins is scheduled to hit free agency. And the Vikings own the 11th pick in April’s draft.

Minnesota can re-sign Cousins, draft a rookie quarterback with Round 1 capital for the first time since Teddy Bridgewater, or both. It could also examine the trade availability of someone like Justin Fields.

Caleb Williams (USC), Drake Maye (North Carolina), Jayden Daniels (LSU), Michael Penix Jr. (Washington), J.J. McCarthy (Michigan), and Bo Nix (Oregon) are expected to go off the board in Round 1.

But above all else, the Vikings need a quarterback. Cousins, a rookie, or a veteran via trade.

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