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Andy Kenutis/Minnesota Vikings

2024 Fantasy Football Preview: Minnesota Vikings


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Player Outlooks (2024)

 

QB Sam Darnold: We are expecting Darnold to at least begin the season under center for Minnesota, and traits are certainly there to be unlocked in Kevin O’Connell’s offense. Turnovers have been the big issue for Darnold, but he’s surrounded by all-world wide receiver Justin Jefferson—along with Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Aaron Jones. The offensive line for Minnesota is also one of the best in football, so it’s a much better situation than anything Darnold—who had a year to “reset” working with Kyle Shanahan—has had throughout his career (excluding last season’s Week 18 start with the Niners). Putting up huge season-long numbers is possible if Darnold starts all year.

 

QB J.J. McCarthy: Again, Minnesota is a tremendous situation for a quarterback to walk into, and although McCarthy might not have been their first choice in April’s draft, the Vikings didn’t pull the trigger on the selection—one that will decide the fate of the regime— without the approval of Kevin O’Connell. The major concern regarding McCarthy’s game is that he has trouble throwing outside the numbers and using touch, but he’s exceptional attacking the middle of the field, and O’Connell will craft the offense around what his young quarterback does best if he hits the field as a rookie. Because of the situation and his athleticism, McCarthy would draw QB2 appeal under center.

 

RB Aaron Jones: Jones was abruptly released by Green Bay in the offseason, but the offense that he now joins being similar to the one he thrived in under Matt LaFleur will ease the transition in a new city, and his expected role both as a runner and receiver boosts his chances of remaining highly productive. The top-tier offensive line is another bonus, and Jones’ usual efficiency would make him an RB2 with Justin Jefferson forcing the opposition into lighter boxes.

 

RB Ty Chandler: Chandler has been highlighted by multiple people on the team (including Kevin O’Connell) this offseason, and it’s fascinating to think about what the Minnesota backfield might look like right now if Green Bay had never released Aaron Jones. The highlight for Chandler in 2023 came when he turned 26 touches into 155 yards and a touchdown in a heartbreaking December loss to Cincinnati, and he could have standalone FLEX value in addition to being an excellent handcuff.

 

RB Kene Nwangwu: Nwangwu could end up being a weapon with the new kickoff rules, but he’s rushed 27 times for 88 yards (3.3 YPC) and zero touchdowns through three seasons—so it’s difficult to see a path to value in redraft leagues. It sounds like Cam Akers could be back in Minnesota, and they feel like a team that would add to the backfield during the season if a couple of injuries were to strike.

 

WR Justin Jefferson: Jefferson being extremely durable throughout his career was one of the reasons to consider him over Christian McCaffrey as the first-overall pick last summer, but that line of thinking didn’t work out as he missed seven games and was limited in another. When he was on the field, though, Jefferson was perhaps better than ever—averaging a career-high 107.4 receiving yards per game and still reaching 1,000 yards on the year. His outlook this season is more uncertain than usual because the Vikings no longer have Kirk Cousins under center, but Kevin O’Connell knows how to dial things up for his world- class weapon—making him at least a top-two option at wide receiver.

 

WR Jordan Addison: There is definite risk around Addison because of the quarterback change for the Vikings, and he was extremely boom-or-bust down the stretch with fantasy-point totals of 3.7, 26.1, 0.7, and 4.3 from Week 14 through Week 17. On the other hand, the upside is massive if Justin Jefferson ever goes down again, and K.J. Osborn’s departure leaves the Vikings thinner than they were in 2023 to perhaps become even more top-heavy.

 

WR Brandon Powell: Powell had career-highs in targets (44), receptions (29), and receiving yards (324) last year, and maybe he can build on those numbers by emerging as the clear No. 3 wideout behind Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison. As things currently stand, though, Powell probably won’t see enough work to carry reliable redraft value—as Minnesota will play through the Jefferson, Addison, Aaron Jones, and T.J. Hockenson as much as they can.

 

WRs Trent Sherfield and Jalen Nailor: Sherfield couldn’t really get going last year in Buffalo, but he’s someone that has flashed since he was with the 49ers—making him a name to monitor considering the lack of proven depth for the Vikings. Nailor is another option that will push for a role after only playing six games last season, and he’s drawn buzz as a deep threat in each of the past two years.

 

TE T.J. Hockenson: A significant knee injury that resulted in a torn ACL and MCL last December has Hockenson in danger of missing time this season, and the most recent speculation is that he could be out four-to-six weeks—making him more of a low-end TE1 despite a top-four finish in 2023. Whenever he does hit the field, Hockenson will hopefully pick up where he left off as one of the most consistent overall options (not just at tight end) in fantasy football, as he had at least four receptions and 50 receiving yards in each of his final 11 games last year with a collection of different options under center. We’ll get clarity as the summer progresses, but keep in mind that Minnesota has a bye in Week 6.

 

TE Josh Oliver: If Hockenson does end up being out for a handful of games, Oliver—entering Year 2 of a three-year, $21-million contract—would be the favorite for fantasy value, but it’s a situation the bears monitoring. Last season, the former third-rounder never played more than 53% of the team’s offensive snaps despite T.J. Hockenson a couple of games.

 

TEs Johnny Mundt and Robert Tonyan: Last year, it was Mundt that Minnesota turned to as their top pass-catching tight end after T.J. Hockenson went down on Christmas Eve—and his production shouldn’t go overlooked with lines of 4/39/1 and 5/58. A potential battle between him and Tonyan is worth watching, but both making the roster wouldn’t be a surprise whether or not Hockenson is good to go in Week 1.

 

Other Notes

 

Best IDP value: LB Dallas Turner

Turner has some polishing to do as a pass rusher, but reaching double-digit sacks as a rookie is still very possible in Brian Flores’ aggressive scheme—which will allow him to use his athleticism in one-on-one situations. The No. 17 overall pick can also drop back in coverage and play the run at a high level, so he’s a strong IDP selection.

 

Stat to know (via draft guide)

Excluding two starts made by Jaren Hall in which he either left early or was benched, Minnesota starting quarterbacks other than Kirk Cousins averaged 277.4 passing yards per game in seven appearances last season.