The Vikings’ Top 5 Playmakers for 2024

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In a little over 10 weeks, the Minnesota Vikings will kick off their first preseason game of 2024 against the Las Vegas Raiders. Before the action starts, it’s an ideal time to ponder the current Vikings roster and have a bit of fun by naming the Vikings’ top 5 playmakers.

The Vikings’ Top 5 Playmakers for 2024

In the build-up to this year’s draft, there was a lot of talk about Minnesota being a QB-friendly landing spot for a rookie. One reason for that is the playmakers the Vikings have at their disposal. Minnesota drafted J.J. McCarthy with the 10th overall pick, so who are these playmakers, and how do they rank inside the Vikings’ offense?

5. Ty Chandler

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Four names were certain to make this list, and who took the fifth spot was the biggest decision. The honor goes to RB Ty Chandler, who beats out the likes of Brandon Powell, Josh Oliver, and newly arrived Robert Tonyan. Chandler is entering his third season in Minnesota after being a part of Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s first draft class back in 2022. 

After just six rushing attempts in his rookie season, Chandler got his chance in 2024 — eventually taking over as the starting RB to finish the season. Chandler amassed 461 rushing yards from 102 attempts for 3 touchdowns. After the FA signing of Aaron Jones, Chandler will be back to RB2 duties to start the season, but he should still get a decent number of opportunities to make his mark. If he can continue at the 4.5 yards per carry he managed this season, he will be doing a good job for the Vikings.

4. Jordan Addison

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The Vikings’ plan for the 2023 draft was to find the Robin to Justin Jefferson’s Batman. Judging by Jordan Addison’s rookie season, they appear to have hit the jackpot. Addison will never be Jefferson, but his smooth, silky route running is a great foil to the Vikings superstar. Addison showed the ability to step up in big moments — including when Jefferson was absent from the team — and a nose for the endzone. Reaching double figures for touchdowns in his rookie season was impressive.

Through 17 games, Addison caught 70 of 108 targets for 911 yards and 10 touchdowns in a season that earned him All-Rookie honors. The only thing missing was breaking the 1,000-yard barrier. Addison was on a hot streak with Kirk Cousins under center, but life became more difficult after his injury, which brought about a QB merry-go-round in Minnesota. It will be Sam Darnold and/or JJ McCarthy throwing passes his was this season. It remains to be seen what the chemistry is like, but Addison has enough ability to do well, as does whoever the Vikings have at quarterback.

3. Aaron Jones

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The Vikings’ running game was a problem last season, although it improved with Chandler as the lead back. It would be quite a stretch to say the issue was completely resolved. With that in mind, the Vikings moved for one of the best FA backs available. Jones became the latest player to move from Green Bay to Minnesota, and according to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings snagged themselves the eighth-best RB in the league.

The concern with Jones is that he is now 29 and comes off a season where he missed multiple games due to injury. However, when he’s on the field, he’s as consistent as ever, earning a 76.1 grade from PFF last season. Jones averaged 4.6 yards per carry and thrived at creating yards after contact. His 3.16 yards after contact per attempt number ranked 14th in the NFL, and he forced 26 missed tackles in just 11 games. Those numbers would delight everyone in Minnesota.

2. T.J. Hockenson

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T.J. Hockenson is a vital component of Kevin O’Connell’s offense. He’s a do-it-all TE who makes the Vikings’ offense tick with the ability to be a leading receiver on his team. In 25 games since becoming a Viking, Hockenson has caught 155 of 213 targets for 1479 yards and 8 touchdowns. Since arriving in Minnesota, Hockenson has cemented his place as one of the top five TEs in the league.

The bad news is it looks increasingly unlikely that Hockenson will have recovered from the knee injury that cut his 2023 season short in time to start the 2024 season. There is no official timeline but a return after the Week 6 bye to face his former team. Detroit is also the team against which Hockenson got injured — a Week 7 return would certainly be the storybook scenario. While Hockenson is absent, the Vikings are certain to miss him.

1. Justin Jefferson

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There can only be one man in first place. No one in the league is better than Jefferson, and Vikings fans have been treated to some spectacular play over the last four seasons. The hope is there will be many more to come, and that will be settled with an end to the drama surrounding his contract extension, with the deal getting done sooner rather than later.

This time last year, all the talk was about Jefferson being the first man to break the 2000-receiving yards mark. Injury thwarted that attempt, but he still broke 1000 yards despite missing seven games and having lowered involvement in a further two because of his injury.

Catching passes from a new QB should not slow Jefferson — we saw evidence of that during the back end of the 2023 season — and we can expect him to be as good as ever as he looks to keep claim to the position of the best wide receiver in the NFL.