The Top 5 Moves of the Vikings 2024 Offseason

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings’ future trajectory changed enormously this offseason — philosophically and on the depth chart.

The Top 5 Moves of the Vikings 2024 Offseason

And because the change has been so vast, we’ve ranked the top five offseason moves by the purple team, listed below in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = top move).

5. Retaining Brian Flores

Just Give Brian Flores
Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Flores was hired in February 2023 to take over for Ed Donatel after Minnesota finished 30th in points allowed.

Minnesota hired Flores 15 months ago after one season of Ed Donatell’s leadership. Flores improved the defense right away, converting 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 with enhanced personnel.

His return wasn’t always a sure thing, though. The Vikings’ defense played phenomenally between Weeks 4 through 14 of 2023, 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 enjoyed 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 club 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 Flores received no head coach nibbles, so he’s back in Minnesota, where he’s paid handsomely, especially for a coordinator.

4. Prioritizing Defense Right Away in Free Agency

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel suffered a broken nose Sunday against the Jets but by Monday, he’d been patched up.© HAL HABIB / The Palm Beach Post / USA TODAY NETWORK

On the first day of free agency — “legal tampering” — Minnesota signed two EDGE rushers, Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel. Soon after, off-ball linebacker Blake Cashman came aboard.

The moves set the tone for the offseason, particularly when Danielle Hunter left for the Houston Texans. With a new quarterback and running back in 2024, the Vikings may rely on their defense more than folks might’ve imagined at the beginning of the Kevin O’Connell era.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah sought solid defensive solutions in March and found them. These weren’t bargain-bin, hope-for-the-best fixes.

3. Letting Kirk Cousins Walk

Turn to 2 Men
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Kirk Cousins played wonderfully for the Vikings in six seasons, but the end was nigh. Cousins wanted the maximum dollars available, which the Atlanta Falcons provided.

Kudos to Minnesota’s front office for not bending to Cousins.

Of course, Cousins could be great in 2024 and beyond. It wouldn’t be weird at all for that to happen. But Minnesota simply couldn’t accept the risk. The organization reached the postseason twice in six seasons on his watch, not worth the bulky annual cost of his employment — even if the defense was frequently to blame.

It was time for a change, and Minnesota changed. Plain and simple. More on that change … next.

2. Drafting J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner in Round 1

Judgment Day
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Let’s get this out of the way: drafting McCarthy and Turner in Round 1 certainly wasn’t free for Minnesota.

The Vikings Got:
J.J. McCarthy
Dallas Turner
6th-Rounder (2024)
7th-Rounder (2024)

The Vikings Gave:
No. 11
2nd-Rounder (2024)
2nd-Rounder (2025)
3rd-Rounder (2025)
4th-Rounder (2024)
4th-Rounder (2025)
5th-Rounder (2024)
5th-Rounder (2024)
6th-Rounder (2024)

Yet, virtually nobody predicted Minnesota netting a quarterback and Turner during Round 1 of the draft. Meanwhile, Adofo-Mensah didn’t have to use future 1st-Round draft capital in either trade. The haul was impressive.

1. Completing the Competitive Rebuild

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Some claimed the Vikings “ran it back” in 2022 and 2023, but that was false. The roster has undergone tremendous overhaul since Kwesi Adofo-Mensah took the big job. This offseason feels like the cake-topper with McCarthy in the building.

Mainly because Minnesota parted ways with Cousins — but especially because the focus will turn to an affordable quarterback contract while Justin Jefferson’s mega-money kicks in — Adofo-Mensah was wise to change the franchise at QB1.

At the start of the offseason, the young executive told reporters his “competitive rebuild” was near completion. He said, “There are some things we need to be better at, no question. I think you want to get to a point, from a depth, from a top-end standpoint, where you can overcome the adversity. Right now in the competitive rebuild, we want to get to a place where there’s no rebuild. It’s just competitive in a window. And I think we’re close to that, it’s gonna take a big offseason, it’s why we’re gonna be here a lot. I think it’s important, it’s key, and I’m excited for the challenge.”

The man made good on his promise.

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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