Vikings Offseason Still Surrounded by 3 Major Questions

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The Minnesota Vikings began their offseason with many unknowns, but some questions have already been answered. Kirk Cousins left the organization after six seasons, signing with the highest bidder in Atlanta. The Vikings couldn’t or didn’t want to match their lucrative offer, including three years of guaranteed money. Danielle Hunter’s departure was another big topic.

Vikings Offseason Still Surrounded by 3 Major Questions

Vikings Offseason Still Surrounded By 3 Major Questions
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Free agency is over, at least the first wave of the event, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has continued his quest to overhaul the roster. He added some decent players, especially the pass-rushers Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard. Running back Aaron Jones should be an immediate contributor. Quarterback Sam Darnold is currently the starting quarterback.

While Adofo-Mensah has answered some questions, three huge concerns remain.

1. Will the Vikings Find Cousins’ Successor?

Everyone in the NFL world is looking ahead to the draft. The three-day event will begin on April 25 with the first round, and Minnesota currently holds two picks on Thursday (11 and 23). Adofo-Mensah’s plan is pretty obvious. He wants to package those two selections and ship them to a team in the top five of the draft to secure one of the best quarterback prospects.

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If he can find a team willing to trade down, the options are Jayden Daniels (LSU), Drake Maye (North Carolina), and J.J. McCarthy (Michigan). All three are possible at this point, depending on the draft position and which players are drafted before the Vikings are on the clock.

Maye has prototypical QB size and can make any throw in the book. McCarthy possesses solid tools and guided his team to the title but wasn’t asked to carry his offense as much as the other guys. Daniels is a genuine dual threat with an exceptional arm for a guy with his athleticism.

2. Will Justin Jefferson Finally Get Paid?

Besides the crucial quarterback situation, the guy catching the passes is undoubtedly the most critical point on Adofo-Mensah’s to-do list. Justin Jefferson has arguably been the best wideout in the league for years, but he still hasn’t signed a new contract with the team despite entering the final season of his rookie contract (the fifth-year option).

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The offense is built around the 2022 Offensive Player of the Year. Regardless of what the Vikings do on that side of the ball, feeding him is the ultimate goal. Even rushing or passing plays to other players are designed to get him open at some point in the game.

Jefferson has carried himself like a true franchise player without any signs of the diva wide receiver character flaw. He just wants to play football. Whether the annual salary is $30 million or (way) more shouldn’t matter; a deal must get done at some point this offseason. If he leaves the organization, the front office has failed.

3. When will T.J. Hockenson Be Healthy?

Jefferson is not the only essential player in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. He loves to feature his tight ends in the middle of the field, and since T.J. Hockenson is one of the best in the business, he can’t be replaced by backups Johnny Mundt, Josh Oliver, and Nick Muse.

Timing Unfortunate
Tight end T.J. Hockenson, left, and the Minnesota Vikings prepare to take the field prior to a game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. © Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY NETWORK. Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Among other things, Hockenson tore his ACL in Week 16 of the 2023 season when Lions cornerback Kerby Joseph infamously hit him in the knee. The surgery was delayed because of the swelling, a normal process, but it also extended the recovery timeline.

His return to the field in time to suit up for the season’s first game is in question, but it would be a massive blow if he can’t play. Monitoring his process will be a hot topic during training camp.

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