The 5 New Vikings Who Could Start on Offense

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The Minnesota Vikings’ overwhelmingly flipped the script this offseason with changes all over the place, especially on the depth chart. The club said goodbye to franchise cornerstones Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter and welcomed rookies J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner.

The 5 New Vikings Who Could Start on Offense

The club will have some new starters this season, between roughly 15 new free agents, around 20 players departing from the 2023 roster, and 24 rookies from the draft and undrafted free agency.

These are five new possible starters on offense, listed alphabetically.

1. Aaron Jones (RB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Alexander Mattison

An automatic to start at RB1, Jones defected from the Green Bay Packers in March, a squad that preferred Josh Jacobs. Minnesota paid Jones handsomely by a running back’s standards, so he will for sure take the first hand-off in 2024.

Don’t sleep on Ty Chandler, though. He should grab about 30%-40% of rushing attempts.

2 & 3. J.J. McCarthy (QB) or Sam Darnold (QB)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): Kirk Cousins

This battle will capture all the headlines — rightfully so. This summer will be aptly titled “McCarthy or Darnold” in Minnesota.

Darnold joined the club in March after Kirk Cousins left, an insurance policy in case the draft bent pear-shaped. It did not, and Minnesota drafted McCarthy with the 10th overall pick. The job will be McCarthy’s eventually — no matter what — so it’s a waiting game for the young Wolverine.

4. Trent Sherfield (WR)

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Replaced (or Might Replace): K.J. Osborn took a swing at the Vikings’ starting lineup last week and nominated Sherfield for WR3 duty. Gregg Rosenthal wrote about the WR group as a whole: “Keep an eye on Justin Jefferson’s contract talks, which could drag into the summer. Jordan Addison can be one of the best No. 2 receivers in football. I’m less concerned about the No. 3 spot (Brandon Powell is also an option), because T.J. Hockenson essentially will serve in that role once he’s back from a torn ACL.”

If Sherfield scripts a productive summer, he can be “the guy” at WR3.

5. Robert Tonyan (TE)

robert tonyan
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Replaced (or Might Replace): T.J. Hockenson (temporarily, anyway)

Tonyan, 30, encountered a quiet season with the Chicago Bears in 2023, receiving just 17 targets in 17 games while banking 11 receptions for 112 yards. Before 2023, Tonyan spent five seasons in Green Bay, with 1,437 yards on 148 catches for 17 touchdowns in 68 games as a Packer. At times, he was one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets.

There’s a small chance he takes over TE1 duties with T.J. Hockenson on deck to miss some of 2024. Realistically, though, Tonyan will share TE duty with Josh Oliver and Johnny Mundt until Hockenson’s triumphant return.

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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