The 3 Most Improved Areas of Vikings Roster

Should Have Optimism
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The Minnesota Vikings’ regular season is 113 days away, kicking off with a road game at the New York Giants.

The 3 Most Improved Areas of Vikings Roster

A transformational year on deck, the club will hope rookie passer J.J. McCarthy is the real deal, as that basically defines the next 3-4 years of Vikings football. Meanwhile, the roster has improved in the last few months following a pivotal offseason when general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mesnah claimed his “competitive rebuild” would draw to a close.

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And with the offseason close to over, these are the three most improved areas of the Vikings’ roster, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most improved area).

3. Cornerback

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Shaquill Griffin
Khyree Jackson
Dwight McGlothern

Some consider cornerback a remaining roster need, but with about 10 players deep, the spot is pretty well spoken for. Of course, Minnesota lacks a shutdown cornerback, but those are hard to find. Last season, the Vikings ranked 32nd per completion percentage allowed to opposing quarterbacks, which is the worst in the business.

As a proposed fix, along with the growth and maturation of Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth, and Lewis Cine, Adofo-Mensah added Griffin, Jackson, and McGlothern. That’s three men who could have an impact on 2024, especially Griffin and Jackson.

2. Running Back

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Aaron Jones

Jones has rushed for about 6,000 yards in his career and holds a five-yards-per-carry average. At age 29, he may slow down a bit, but Jones played masterfully for the Green Bay Packers at the end of 2023 and in the postseason.

The Vikings must fix their ground attack once and for all after two consecutive seasons of struggles. It might’ve been tempting to nominate Ty Chandler as the RB1 early this offseason, but onboarding Jones is a surer fix.

Based on his upside in O’Connell’s offense and under the assumption he should have a productive year or two left in thank, adding Jones was a wise transaction.

1. Outside Linebacker

Green Bay Packers tackled Dennis Kelly (79) provides pass protection from Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) during their preseason game Saturday, August 14, 2021 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Houston Texans beat the Green Bay Packers 26-7. Packers15 22. © Milwaukee Journal SentinelMARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Jonathan Greenard
Dallas Turner
Andrew Van Ginkel
Gabriel Murphy
Jihad Ward
Bo Richter
Owen Porter

The first three men on the list can be classified as a home run addition(s) in a single offseason. Indeed, it hurt to lose Danielle Hunter, yet making up for his absence with Greenard, Turner, Van Ginkel, and Murphy in a more affordable way will work wonderfully.

In fact, the current set of EDGE rushers represents the deepest Vikings group since Hunter began to break out in 2015 and 2016. Usually, Minnesota employs Hunter and another man like Everson Griffen or Za’Darius Smith, and then that’s pretty much it for trustworthy production.

Even after Hunter, Marcus Davenport, and D.J. Wonnum left, Minnesota is deep-deep at the position — that just so happens to be one of the most important in football.

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).

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