The Vikings’ 3 Biggest Changes This Offseason

vikings
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2024 Minnesota Vikings have added 14 newcomers this offseason, allowed 16 players to walk via waiver or free agency, and re-signed seven free agents from the 2023 team.

The Vikings’ 3 Biggest Changes This Offseason

The team is forecasted to win about 6.5 games, playing bottom fiddle to every team in the NFC North, at least per pre-draft April sportsbooks’ odds.

And while the draft will serve as a climax to the Vikings’ offseason, these are the three biggest changes so far ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = biggest change).

3. Getting Serious about Rushing Game

Starters in 2023
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings need to fix their rushing attack in 2024. Here’s the statistical skinny:

Vikings Rushing Stats,
2022:

Yards per Rush = 26th
Rush EPA = 29th
DVOA = 27th
Rushing Yards = 29th
Rush Play % = 30th
Rushing TDs = 8th

Vikings Rushing Stats,
2023:

Yards per Rush = 24th
Rush EPA = 25th
DVOA = 27th
Rushing Yards = 29th
Rush Play % = 30th
Rushing TDs = 30th

So, requiring repair during Kevin O’Connell’s second season, Minnesota actually regressed, mainly because it couldn’t score rushing touchdowns. It might’ve been tempting to roll the dice with Ty Chandler in 2024 and partner him with a rookie from this month’s draft, but general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah chose a surer solution: Aaron Jones from the Green Bay Packers.

Now, Minnesota can still draft a rookie runner if it pleases while knowing that Jones and Chandler should do the trick this season. Cutting Alexander Mattison proved the club meant business in the RB room.

Mattison later signed with the Las Vegas Raiders.

2. Salary Cap Flexibility

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Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s up for debate, but this offseason is the first since 2015 that Minnesota isn’t pushing its chips into the center of the table for a Super Bowl run. Correspondingly, Adofo-Mensah didn’t totally load up on long-term contracts — yes, we’re talking about QB1 — which would’ve plopped the purple team in its usual spot: a slim salary cap for the following season, mandating roster cuts and penny-pinching just to add newcomers.

But this year is different — meaning next offseason will be different.

Because the Vikings didn’t re-up with the following two guys on the list, they’ll have over $100 million to spend next offseason, a valuable asset as Adofo-Mensah may have to trade his 2025 1st-Round pick during the draft for a rookie quarterback.

Of course, the $100 million will dwindle when Justin Jefferson is extended, but no matter what, Minnesota has newfound salary cap flexibility. In 11 months, it can be a big spender in free agency, hopefully loading up a roster around its rookie quarterback, similar to the Houston Texans in recent weeks.

1. New Era at QB; New Era at EDGE

vikings move
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins joined the Atlanta Falcons, and Danielle Hunter became a Texan. Two of the team’s best players from 2023 are gone and not coming back.

It’s a new era, whether Vikings fans are prepared for it or feel melancholy about change.

Cousins, as QB1, is the top signifier of a new age, but Hunter was a part of the franchise for longer. In fact, because he stayed healthy, Hunter was the club’s best overall player in 2023. At quarterback, Adofo-Mensah will reveal his grand plan during the draft. Folks are on pins and needles waiting for the verdict. And at EDGE, Minnesota signed Jonathan Greenard (Texans) and Andrew Van Ginkel (Miami Dolphins).

The competitive rebuild is winding down, and there’s no bigger indicator than the departures of Cousins + Hunter.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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