Forecasting 4 Vikings Position Battles

mock draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) warms up before Ohio State game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings have seen a great deal of turnover in terms of their roster this spring.

In fact, they’ve brought aboard 38 new players over the past couple months after watching a number of veterans leave in free agency. With a new-look team on the horizon, here are four Vikings position battles that could be fierce this summer.

4 Vikings Position Battles

Vikings Position Battles
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It’s going to be the talk of the summer in Minnesota. For the first time since 2018, the Vikings will start the season with a new starting quarterback under center. The two candidates? Sam Darnold, who was signed in free agency, and J.J. McCarthy, who became the highest selected QB in Vikings franchise history during the 2024 NFL Draft.

As of now, it is completely feasible for either of them to get the starting nod when Week 1 rolls around. Darnold is a veteran player and former third overall draft selection with a good bit of starting experience under his belt. He also spent the 2023 season as a backup in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, so the transition to Kevin O’Connell’s similar system shouldn’t be all that difficult.

Vikings fans will be eager to see the rookie McCarthy step into the lineup at some point, though. He was selected at No. 10 for a reason: there is a lot of talent in his arm. However, Minnesota may opt to allow him to sit back and learn before throwing him to the wolves. It all depends on how impressed the Vikings are throughout the summer.

Vikings mock draft
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Indiana during the second half of U-M’s 52-7 win over Indiana on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Ann Arbor. © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK.


The cornerback position is a very interesting one in Minnesota. Currently, the Vikings employ a blend of veteran players (Shaq Griffin, Byron Murphy, Joejuan Williams) as well as a few intriguing young pieces (Mekhi Blackmon, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, Khyree Jackson).

Ultimately, the decisions regarding playing time could depend on the type of coverage that Flores wants to utilize this season. Evans has been capable of holding up in zone coverage throughout his career, but he has seen some struggles in man. Meanwhile, Griffin and Jackson have been press-man players throughout their football careers.

Wide Receiver

Of course, Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson are going to be the top two wide receivers for the Vikings this season, but there is a question of who holds down the WR3 role. Brandon Powell is the obvious candidate after putting up career highs in receptions (29) and receiving yards (324) during the 2023 season.

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However, what if Jalen Nailor is able to stay healthy throughout camp? The former 2022 sixth-round pick struggled through injuries in 2023 after a strong conclusion to his rookie season (recorded seven receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown over the final two games of the 2022 campaign). The Vikings could also be in the mix to bring in another veteran via free agency.

Interior Offensive Line

Minnesota’s interior offensive line is an overlooked area to watch this summer. The Vikings are yet to solidify a starting left guard for the 2024 season as Dalton Risner remains on the free agency market. Blake Brandel’s return could indicate that he will step into a starting role.

However, Brandel has never played a snap at left guard throughout either of his collegiate or NFL careers. If the Vikings want a player who is experienced at the position, perhaps Ed Ingram could switch over to the left guard spot while Brandel takes on the right guard spot. Dan Feeney could be in the mix as well, and a Risner return cannot be ruled out.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.