The 5 Most Shocking Moments of the Vikings Offseason | 2024

Dallas Turner Is
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Foremost, VikingsTerritory doesn’t consider the departures of Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter too shocking, as those transactions were forecasted by many soon after the 2023 season wrapped up.

The 5 Most Shocking Moments of the Vikings Offseason | 2024

But a handful of moves were a wee bit shocking, and these are those. They’re ranked in order of shock value (No. 1 = most shocking).

5. Alexander Mattison Released

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Mattison’s release was quasi-shocking for one reason: claimed that dropping Mattison would provide the Vikings no real financial incentive.

But that website was wrong.

Minnesota did not have an egregious dead cap penalty for cutting ties with Mattison and actually saved some money to use on free agents. If the general public had known Mattison’s release provided salary cap relief, the team’s fans would’ve predicted it in November and December. The details of his release — the accurate ones — became clear after the release, so when Mattison left, it was an initial shock.

4. Aaron Jones Becomes a Viking

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On the second day of the NFL’s “legal tampering” period, Jones, a defector from the Green Bay Packers, signed with the Vikings. Minnesota general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah wasn’t expected to pursue an “old” running back, as Jones will turn 30 in December.

But the man finished the 2023 season on an incredible hot streak, and now Minnesota employs a battle-tested RB commodity to possibly fix its ground-game woes that have spanned two seasons.

3. Vikings in Play for and Then Draft Dallas Turner

Minnesota Vikings 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.

Most purple fans spent weeks and months pondering the team’s quarterback draft strategy — that would probably involve a massive trade up the board. Entering the event, Minnesota held the 11th and 23rd picks, and folks assumed the picks would be packaged for Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy.

Well, the Vikings grabbed McCarthy with the 10th overall pick and did not have to spend 1st-Rounders from 2025 and beyond. Suddenly, Adofo-Mensah could select another player with the 23rd pick — probably a defender — and those 30-60 minutes were like Christmas for the team’s fanbase.

Minnesota traded up again and chose Turner, a man many considered the best defensive player in the draft. He was expensive, but virtually nobody truly believed the Vikings could grab a quarterback and a premiere EDGE rusher.

But they did.

2. J.J. McCarthy Could’ve (Should’ve?) Been a Falcon

kirk cousins
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Michael Penix Jr. became a Falcon on April 25th, the draft’s first night. It was one of the most shocking moments in draft history, chiefly because Atlanta had just spent $180 million on Kirk Cousins. While the world wallowed in befuddlement at the Falcons’ draft decision, Vikings fans felt they dodged a bullet because Atlanta could have easily taken McCarthy, who Minnesota selected about 20 minutes later.

In fact, per the Falcons’ plan, they probably should’ve picked McCarthy over Penix, as McCarthy is about three years younger.

Minnesota was one general manager’s decision away from Penix Jr. or Bo Nix as its quarterback of the future.

1. The Trade with Houston

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On March 15th, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah executed an unforeseen trade, obtaining an additional 1st-Round pick from the Houston Texans while offloading two 2nd-Rounders in the deal, plus a late-round pick swap.

The move gave Minnesota flexibility in pursuing a rookie quarterback and proved the team meant business about finding its replacement for Kirk Cousins. The trade occurred about six weeks before the draft, and moments later, all draft heads moved Minnesota to a “they will draft a quarterback” camp.

Adofo-Mensah ended up using the Houston trade to net EDGE rusher Dallas Turner, but the swap with Houston set the tone for the Vikings’ draft plan, which they effectuated by grabbing McCarthy and Turner.

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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