Vikings Make Easiest Decision of 2024 Offseason

Revamp in Order
Ezra Cleveland and Christian Darrisaw

The Minnesota Vikings have just concluded their 2024 draft class, in which they added seven players via draft picks and 17 additional rookies as undrafted free agents. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy and pass-rusher Dallas Turner, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s two first-rounders, are envisioned to become staples of the organization for years to come.

Vikings Make Easiest Decision of 2024 Offseason

Vikings Officially Make Easiest Decision of 2024 Offseason
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Two of those cornerstones departed in March when Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter joined other teams in free agency last offseason. Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Eric Kendricks were released, drastically reducing the number of those staples. Harrison Smith is getting older and might be in his final season in the NFL.

Because of that, the Vikings must keep their promising players around, and they ensured one guy’s presence on Monday when they exercised left tackle Christian Darrisaw’s fifth-year option.

The star offensive tackle has been nothing short of sensational in three years of protecting Minnesota’s blindside, and he will continue to play a vital role in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. His excellence will undoubtedly also benefit McCarthy’s development.

about Dalvin Cook
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The compensation for the fifth-year option is set based on playtime and the number of Pro Bowls. Because he met the playtime criteria (75% of snaps over three seasons) but failed to make a trip to the Pro Bowl, although he deserved to be there, his salary projection is $16,037,000 in 2025, according to OverTheCap.

Often compared to 49ers star tackle and future Hall of Famer Trent Williams, Darrisaw has the talent to be a true franchise left tackle, handling the blindside duties for a decade or more. The Vikings want to keep him on the team for years to come, so exercising the option is the obvious choice. Once they have done that, he will be under contract for two more seasons, and the front office and the player can negotiate a new contract without any pressure.

Christian Darrisaw and Roger Goodell
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Four left tackles have an annual salary of at least $20 million, and Darrisaw will undoubtedly top that benchmark. Only injuries have slowed him down in his career. He first missed the start of his debut season because of a core muscle surgery in the previous offseason, and then he suffered two separate concussions in 2022. In 2023, an ankle injury kept him on the sidelines for two contests.

Darrisaw is an integral part of the offense. He protects the passer but also opens holes in the running game. His power and mobility allow him to hold his own against any pass-rusher in the NFL.

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Pro Football Focus graded him as the second-best tackle in the league in 2022 and ranked seventh in 2023. His excellence in pass protection and run blocking is a huge plus compared to other players specializing in one aspect of the game.

Darrisaw is a building block of the organization and will not leave anytime soon. With the additions of McCarthy and Turner to Jefferson and Darrisaw, if they develop well, the Vikings have hopefully restored a good number of star players.

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