Vikings in midst of most gripping offseason in years

The Minnesota Vikings are in for what could be the most interesting offseason since 2018.

The Vikings were coming off of an NFC Championship appearance, the Minneapolis Miracle, and a huge question mark at quarterback.

The highlight of that offseason was the signing of Kirk Cousins, with whom there has been very little debate for who the team would put behind center any given year.

Now, however, with Cousins yet to reach a deal with the team, the question once again is about who will be throwing passes next season for the Vikings. While quarterback is most certainly the most interesting and important decision the Vikings have to make this offseason, many more decisions will have to be made before the 2024 season starts in September in both free agency and the draft.


The Vikings will almost certainly make the Cousins decision before any other major pieces fall into place. Cousins infamously wants guaranteed money in his contract, but recent reports make it seem as though Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the rest of the Vikings’ front office are unwilling to offer a fully guaranteed contract to the 12-year veteran. My guess is that, unless Cousins caves and takes a one-year deal, or at least a two-year deal without a guaranteed second year, he will be looking for another team in free agency.

While I don’t think it’s improbable that he does sign a shorter-term contract, it also is realistic to think that Cousins will not be in Minnesota for the 2024 season.

With that being said, what are the other options the Vikings have at quarterback? While journeyman quarterbacks such as Baker Mayfield or Gardner Minshew are options in free agency, the more exiting and even more likely options are those available in the draft. Even if the Vikings do resign Cousins to a deal, the team could still look for the aging signal caller’s replacement in a rookie QB. USC’s Caleb Williams appears to be slated to go as the first pick in the draft, but there are five other quarterbacks that have been projected to go in the top 50 or so picks that could be an option for the Vikings.

My personal favorite of the bunch is Jayden Daniels. The LSU quarterback won the Heisman Trophy as college football’s most exciting player in 2023, and he is perhaps the most pro-ready of all the prospects in the draft. He needs to be, as he will enter the league at 23 years old, but I like his mechanics in the pocket and his penchant for making big plays. He has excellent speed and vision as a runner, rushing for 1,134 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final season at LSU. That, paired with excellent touch and arm strength when attacking deep down the sideline, make him an explosive threat to add to a team.

Two other quarterbacks I wouldn’t mind the Vikings adding in the draft would be UNC’s Drake Maye and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy.

Maye has all the physical tools to become a Josh Allen-esque passer and runner, but is too quick to bail on a clean pocket and needs to work on progressing on his reads after the snap. McCarthy’s knocks come down to his lack of volume passing in Michigan’s run-centric offense, though that doesn’t particularly bother me, as the failures in Michigan’s passing attack were rarely the quarterback’s fault.

McCarthy has elite pocket presence and footwork, as well as a strong deep throw down the middle, but struggles to find the touch necessary to float one down the sideline, one of the Vikings’ favorite routes to put Justin Jefferson on.

The other two quarterbacks I am less enthusiastic about. Michael Penix Jr. has shown the willingness and athleticism to take deep shots, but he has a major injury history and is also 23 years old. Unlike Daniels, however, Penix Jr. has concerning mechanical issues in a clean pocket, rarely planting his feet to throw and side-arming the ball when he doesn’t need to. Those issues are hard to fix in the NFL, especially for a left-handed quarterback, when most coaches are used to working with right-handed passers.

The other quarterback is Bo Nix, who lacks traits that excite aside from a solid sideline deep ball and has difficulty working through his reads, meaning he has both a low ceiling and a low floor for the NFL.

However, it’s always worth taking a shot on a QB, so if these two slipped to the second or third round, I would be more than OK with the Vikings taking a chance on them.



With the quarterback question out of the way, the Vikings still need to address several other issues. Another expiring contract the Vikings have to deal with is Danielle Hunter, who has racked up 27 sacks and 35 tackles for loss over the past two seasons, being selected as a Pro Bowler in both of them.

In my opinion, I would be far more devastated to see Hunter walk than Cousins. Hunter has provided top-end pass rushing and run defense for the team when healthy, which he has been in seven of the nine seasons he has played for the Vikings. Hunter should cost around $20-23 million per year, which would put him in the top five to ten highest paid edge rushers in the league, a price he is fully worth.

Even if the Vikings do re-sign Hunter, they still need help in the pass rush, as all but two Minnesota edge rushers will be walking in free agency. Re-signing Marcus Davenport, D.J. Wonnum, or signing or drafting another defensive end or linebacker needs to be a priority for the Vikings as well. Chicago’s Chase Young, Carolina’s Brian Burns and Jacksonville Josh Allen are all projected to hit the market this season, giving the Vikings plenty of options to choose from, as well as a solid draft class with players such as Jared Verse, Chop Robinson and Dallas Turner.


Another problem the Vikings need to address is the running back room.

The Vikings didn’t score a rushing touchdown until Cam Akers ran one in in Week 8 in 2023. Free agency could once again be a place to turn to, as more and more teams adopt the “running backs don’t matter” philosophy and refuse to give out big contracts. As a result, the running backs in free agency are costing less and less, meaning a good running back might be available for quite cheap this year.

Players like Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Tony Pollard and many more could easily fix the situation in Minnesota’s backfield for a relatively low cost.

Other issues the Vikings could look to address this offseason are cornerback depth, replacing or re-signing Dalton Risner at offensive guard, and adding a pass catcher to compliment Jefferson and Jordan Addison. Will all these holes to fill, Vikings fans will have to wait to see what direction the Vikings will take in 2024.


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