Vikings Acquire Dynamic Rival Playmaker

The Vikings 5 Gravest Sins thru 5 Games
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The guy in charge of the Minnesota Vikings has had a busy third free-agency period. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has signed a bunch of starters, especially notable are the three defenders, Blake Cashman, Jonathan Greenard, and Andrew Van Ginkel, who will strengthen Brian Flores’ defense. Quarterback Sam Darnold is the bridge quarterback on offense, at least until a rookie is acquired.

Vikings Acquire Dynamic Rival Playmaker

Vikings Acquire Dynamic Rival Playmaker
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Defenders were needed and the additions were pleasing overall. The new passer, while not great, was also the best available option. But none of those guys is a high-profile player like the one who is joining them in Minnesota, Aaron Jones.

Green Bay made a big splash move on Monday when they signed Josh Jacobs, the league’s top rusher in 2022. He signed a massive $48 million contract for four seasons. The Packers view him as an upgrade in addition to bringing even more youth to their offense.

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Jones was due to count $17.6 million against the salary cap because the Packers pushed some of his cap hits into the future. By releasing him, they saved $5.2 million. Green Bay tried to get him to agree to a pay cut but he didn’t budge, a release was the result.

Entering the open market, various rumors about Jones potentially joining the Vikings surfaced on Monday. On Tuesday morning, however, the reports became the reality. Tom Pelissero was the one to break the news: “NFC North swap: The Vikings and former Packers RB Aaron Jones agreed to terms on a one-year, $7 million deal, sources tell me and Ian Rapoport.”

If Jones has some ill will towards the Packers, well, he is facing them twice next season and can haunt them. The salary of $7 million for one season isn’t quite cheap in a vacuum but it is reasonable for a player of his caliber.

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When healthy, Jones is one of the most productive running backs in the NFL. He was part of the fantastic running back class in 2017 when the Vikings selected Dalvin Cook while the Packers chose Jones and Jamal Williams. Since that draft, Jones ranks seventh among running backs in the NFL in scrimmage yards and sixth in touchdowns.

Last season, Jones recorded 656 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. As a good receiver, he also caught 30 passes for 233 yards and another score. A hamstring injury and a sprained MCL cost him six games. The Packers lowered his workload to have him healthy when it mattered most. And it worked.

In the two playoff matchups, Jones racked up 247 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns, dominating Dallas’ scary defense on the ground.

Throughout his career, Jones has also been pretty explosive against the Vikings, producing 5.68 yards per carry in 11 games.

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) tosses the ball in the stands after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of the wild card playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, January 14, 2024 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Jones enters a wonderful situation for him as there isn’t much competition in the backfield. Ty Chandler was an emerging player at the end of the season but it remains to be seen if he will cut into Jones’ carries or if he will return to a backup role. The Vikings desperately needed some juice in the rushing game after ranking close to the bottom of the league in virtually every category.

At age 29, Jones is past the usual decline date for runners but he still was phenomenally quick in 2023. Injuries have slowed him down a little but playing 80 games (including postseason) in the last five seasons is still a strong number.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt