The 4 Main Areas of Concern on Vikings Roster

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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With training camp on the horizon, the Minnesota Vikings roster for 2024 is taking shape. The big free agency signings are on board, as are this year’s rookies. With the FA pool and the Vikings’ cap space dwindling, any significant signings at this point seem unlikely. At this point, the Vikings are only scheduled to have three draft picks in 2025, so I don’t foresee the Vikings being in the trade market either.

The 4 Main Areas of Concern on Vikings Roster

With that all being said, the Vikings’ final 53-man roster may well come from the players currently signed to the team — although the release of a player on Tuesday suggests a new player may be incoming. Looking at the Vikings roster, four main areas of concern stand out.

Interior Defensive Line

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The interior defensive line was an area of the team I expected the Vikings to seriously consider improving this offseason. Instead, it feels like it has been an afterthought.

Interior pass-rushers signed some big contracts in this year’s free agency, with Christian Wilkins and Leonard Williams leading the way. Wilkins was top of my wishlist, but the 4-year, $110 million contract he grabbed from the Las Vegas Raiders was out of Minnesota’s price range. So, the Vikings picked up Jerry Tillery, Jonah Williams, and Jihad Ward on cheap one-year deals and re-signed Jonathan Bullard.

Harrison Phillips is the Vikings’ best interior defensive lineman, but with only second-year Jaquelin Roy for company, with the FA additions and a rookie group that includes seventh-round pick Levi Drake Rodriguez and undrafted rookies Tyler Manoa and Taki Taimani.

The Vikings are high on Rodriguez and hoping to get more out of former first-round pick, Tillery, than his previous teams have managed. However, the interior defensive line was a concern when the Vikings ended last season, and not much significance was given to amending the problem.


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KJ Osborn left for the New England Patriots, leaving the WR3 spot available. Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison sit at the top of the depth chart and will get the bulk of the targets. Osborn’s role as the Vikings WR3 saw him average 82 targets per season over the last three years. Minnesota currently has 11 WRs outside of Jefferson and Addison vying for a roster spot. None of them have ever season a workload akin to 80 targets a season before.

The Vikings can perhaps get by with Brandon Powell, Trent Sherfield, and one other as the WR depth, with T.J. Hockenson acting as the de facto WR3. The problem is that Hockenson is recovering from a nasty knee injury, and there’s no timeline yet for the TE’s return. He seems certain to miss the start of the season with Johnny Mundt deputizing.

I expected the Vikings to either sign an FA or draft WR that would at least compete for the WR role. They have done neither, and the FA options are decreasing, with only players like Hunter Renfrow and Zay Jones left. With other positions filled, the long-term option at WR3 may be a bigger priority for next season.

Left Guard

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I could have said the entire interior offensive line here, while I have concerns over Garrett Bradbury and Ed Ingram. Bradbury should be okay, though they will still struggle to protect the pass against the more powerful interior pass-rushers. While Ingram improved in his second year, he might be a serviceable right guard if he can continue the upward trend.

At left guard, the Vikings signed Dalton Risner last season and decided to trade away Ezra Cleveland. So far, they have neglected to bring the still available Risner back to Minnesota, and Blake Brandel is slated to be the starting right guard.

Brandel is another tackle the Vikings are attempting to convert into a guard. He is highly rated in Minnesota, but there is talk of the team having high hopes for him as a guard dating back to last season. In 2023, Brandel played in 163 snaps at right guard, deputizing for an injured Ingram.

Nothing from that playing time suggested Brandel was ready to become a starting-caliber guard. Will a full preseason, with the coaches getting him ready to be the left guard, be enough to bring Brandel up to the required standard? Possibly, but it seems a long shot. Of course, while Risner remains unsigned; the possibility the Vikings could bring him back is still there.


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Minnesota has 12 CBs on the roster, and while there are some good players, there is no legitimate lockdown CB1.

Byron Murphy is the best of the bunch, and his influence was certainly missed when he missed the last three games of the season and the Vikings’ secondary fell apart. A CB who can go toe-to-toe with the best receivers in the league would be a welcome addition to the Vikings’ defense, but for now, Brian Flores must work with what he has.

The battle for who sees the field with Murphy should be one of the more intriguing stories of training camp and the preseason. Akayleb Evans was the starter last season, but he endured a difficult season, particularly in coverage. Minnesota added the experienced Shaq Griffin in free agency to add a veteran presence to the competition. Mekhi Blackmon showed promise in his rookie season — though he struggled more with an increased role in the final three games — and would be my choice to start at this moment. 

Fourth-round rookie Khyree Jackson will hope to make an impression in training camp and put his name forward for some early playing time. He certainly doesn’t lack confidence, and I wouldn’t bet against him seeing plenty of the field this season.

The rest of the players, including 2022 second-round pick Andrew Booth, could be on the outside looking in unless the Vikings choose to keep six CBs on the roster. In a division full of talented receivers, the play of the Vikings’ corners is likely to be integral to the Vikings’ chances of success. Coach Flores has a big job on his hands.