The Mount Rushmore of the Vikings 2024 Offseason

Storm clouds roll in over Mount Rushmore on Thursday, July 2. © Erin Bormett / Argus Leader / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings added over 40 new players this offseason, completing their competitive rebuild some two years after general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took over the organization.

The Mount Rushmore of the Vikings 2024 Offseason

Now, fans wait to determine if the club’s quarterback solution is astute, as that will decide the direction of Vikings football for the next half-decade.

The regular season is 74 days away, and this is the Vikings’ Mount Rushmore of offseason decision-making to date. That is — the top four items to occur in the last five months since the club capped a 7-10 season in 2023.

George Washington⤵️
Keeping Brian Flores

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota hired Flores 16 months ago after one season of Ed Donatell’s supervision. Flores improved the defense instantly, remaking his unit to the NFL’s 11th-best in 2023 from 24th in 2022 per DVOA. The relationship worked, and now Flores is on tap for Year No. 2 in Minnesota.

His return wasn’t always ironclad, though. The Vikings’ defense played tremendously between Weeks 4 through 14, ranking tops in the league per EPA/Play, a metric adjudicating expected points added. As Flores’ group ascended the NFL, folks took notice and began to hint that he could easily be a one-hit-wonder for the Vikings.

Vikings fans treasured what they had at the moment and bided time to determine if Flores would return to the head coaching ranks in 2024. The rumor mill suggested Flores would only jump at the big job if a sturdy franchise had an HC opening, as he appeared to experience a raw deal with the Miami Dolphins after the 2021 season ended. Flores coached the Dolphins from 2019 to 2021 before things ended in somewhat controversial fashion.

But the coaching carousel came and went, and Flores received no serious attention. Therefore, he’s back with the Vikings. The defense can achieve new heights in 2024, perhaps higher than 2023.

Thomas Jefferson⤵️
Ending the Kirk Cousins Era

kirk cousins
March 13, 2024. Newly signed Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Kirk Cousins sits down with Falcons Digital Producer Taylor Vismor to discuss his signing with the Falcons. Kirk talks about the exciting playmaking roster he is joining and what a move to Atlanta means to him and his family.

It was time.

Although the Vikings could’ve performed wonderfully in 2024 with Cousins in the saddle — we’ll never know — six seasons of his employment netted one single playoff win. The experiment was stale, and Minnesota was wise to turn the page.

Cousins now quarterbacks the Atlanta Falcons, and the Vikings will play Cousins and Co. in December. No matter what, it was time to change, and Adofo-Mensah pulled the trigger. Sometimes, change is needed for the sake of change. Switch things up.

Theodore Roosevelt⤵️
Signing Justin Jefferson for the Long Haul

Justin Jefferson
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports.

After 18 months of suspense, Jefferson signed on the purple team’s dotted line for four more years and $140 million. If he wasn’t before, he’s now the face of Vikings football, especially with an established QB1 in Cousins out of the way.

Some might debate the efficacy of paying a wide receiver the equivalent of mid-tier quarterback money, but Minnesota could afford to do so because the next guy on this list will be cheap for five years.

With no debates, Jefferson is the ambassador of Vikings football for the next half-decade. Underneath it all, he’s generating a new generation of fans, not unlike Randy Moss 25 years ago.

Abraham Lincoln⤵️
Drafting J.J. McCarthy

mount rushmore
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Indiana during the second half of U-M’s 52-7 win over Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

For weeks — months for some — Minnesota was on tap to “trade the farm” for a quarterback of the future, probably North Carolina’s Drake Maye, for the price of three 1st-Rounders.

But then the New England Patriots didn’t want to barter with anyone, at least not at their asking price, and Adofo-Mensah did not have to trade everything for his shiny new QB1. He found J.J. McCarthy with the 10th overall pick, and sooner rather than later, McCarthy will get a crack at Minnesota’s offense.

From the moment the element of age entered the constant Kirk Cousins debate, it was time for Minnesota to identify and draft a succession plan, and McCarthy is that. For the first time since Teddy Bridgewater — 10 years ago — the Vikings have a quarterback of their own, organically scooped from the draft.

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