Minnesota Vikings Position Battles To Watch

The Vikings Lost And Added An Array Of Talent This Offseason, Creating Many Opportunities For Players New And Old.

With the draft and free agency periods finishing up over the last month or so, the NFL offseason has come to an end, and rookie minicamps have already started for a handful of teams. For the Minnesota Vikings, their roster is set. Rookie minicamp in Minnesota is May 10-12 where the rookies can get familiar with the playbook and facilities, and then compete for a roster spot when OTA’s are June 4-6 and training camp later in the summer (unannounced up to this point.) OTA’s and training camp will have some heavy competition, with many spots being open due to departures from last year’s squad. With so many players fighting for a chance to fill only a handful of spots

Minnesota Vikings Position Battles to Watch


This one has been talked about to death, so let’s keep it brief (I went into it deeper in another article!) Sam Darnold was given a not-insignificant amount of money, so don’t be surprised to see him taking the first team reps to start camp. If J.J. McCarthy can fix the issues he had in college- deep-ball accuracy and progressing through his reads,  he’ll be more than ready to start early into the season. Because of all the weaknesses he had in college, his biggest one was not getting enough reps, and the only way to fix that was to play him. If he’s not ready, Darnold is a fine option to keep you afloat until the rookie is ready.

On the other hand, the backup and third-string quarterback jobs are in play. The backup will be either McCarthy or Darnold, with second-year man Jaren Hall battling veteran Nick Mullens for the third spot. It’ll be interesting to see if the Vikings choose to roster four quarterbacks because one of Hall or Mullens would be popular options around the league if they get cut. It’s a good problem to have and trading one of them, like the Vikings traded for Mullens two years ago, could be a solution.

Left Guard

In the 2023 preseason, the Vikings cycled through multiple linemen in a mission to find a viable backup. In the middle of the season, they signed Dalton Risner, who beat out Ezra Cleveland, which resulted in him being traded to Jacksonville. In the offseason the Vikings decided to let Risner walk in free agency, leaving themselves with fourth-year man Blake Brandel as the most likely to fill the left guard spot. Brandel played sparingly the last two years at tackle and guard, most noticeably filling in against New England on Thanksgiving of 2022 where he held his own against Matthew Judon. Last year he made the switch to guard but didn’t see any serious playing time.

The Vikings signed Dan Feeney to compete with Brandel, or at the very least provide depth to the interior. Feeney’s spent the last three years as a backup with the Jets and Bears, playing less than 400 snaps over those three years. Brandel is the favorite, but the competition may not be entirely with Feeney or anyone else on the roster. If Brandel struggles in the preseason they could add someone else through a trade before the season starts, or sign someone, like they did with Risner.

Third and Fourth Wide Receiver

Like the left guard situation, the third receiver spot will be heavily favored to be Brandon Powell’s. Kevin O’Connell has raved about Powell since he’s been in Minnesota and even coached him a bit while they were both in Los Angeles. Barring a free agent signing, which isn’t very likely, it’ll be Powell and Jalen Nailor competing. Nailor showed promise when he received snaps but hasn’t played nearly the amount of games Powell has, with Powell producing when getting the chance. The others competing with Nailor for the fourth spot will be N’Keal Harry, who played a decent bit last year, and Trent Sherfield coming over from Buffalo. Sherfield has the highest blocking grade for receivers since 2022, according to PFF.

All of the Corners

The entirety of the cornerback room currently in Minnesota is made up of mid-round draft picks and free agents who are viewed around the league as second or third corners on most teams. Byron Murphy will be a day-one starter and has earned the right to be, but beyond that, it’s anybody’s guess who starts week one. Akayleb Evans started the year off strong but was benched by the end of the year. Mekhi Blackmon had a solid rookie season and with improvement would be my pick to start opposite Murphy. Andrew Booth didn’t get much playing time but when he did, he played well. Shaq Griffin was signed this offseason and was someone Kwesi Adofo-Mensah said has been on the Vikings’ radar for a while now. Griffin spent last year with Houston and Carolina and started in seven games between both teams. Lastly is Khyree Jackson, the fourth-round pick from Oregon. With all these guys, including some other end-of-the-roster guys, vying for three or four cornerback spots, this is the most interesting position to track for me when training camp and preseason games come around.

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