Minnesota Vikings Rank Near Bottom of NFL in Young Talent

Minnesota Vikings, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah
Credit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell took their plans of flipping over the Minnesota Vikings roster to the next phase this offseason. First, they let Kirk Cousins (35 y/o) walk in free agency. Then, they left the keys of their offense to be fought over by two kids 9 and 14 years younger than him.

But the Vikings youth movement goes beyond the quarterback position. Danielle Hunter (29 y/o) is gone, so his Jordan Hicks (32) and KJ Osborn (27). Even reserve players like Dean Lowry (29) and Marcus Davenport (28) are out.

Minnesota Vikings lacking young talent big time…

So, the MN Vikings must be one of the younger rosters in the NFL, at this point, right? Well, maybe. But according to a new ESPN+ article that ranked the “under-25 talent” on every team, the purple rank 24th (of 32), much lower than they ranked in the same rankings one year ago.

24. Minnesota Vikings

Blue-chip players: WR Jordan Addison, QB J.J. McCarthy

The 22-year-old Addison had a great rookie year with 911 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. McCarthy, the franchise quarterback in waiting, will likely play during his rookie year. So will edge rusher Dallas Turner, also chosen in the first round.

The only other player who qualifies for this list and started more than one game for last year’s Vikings is linebacker Ivan Pace Jr. He was a surprise undrafted star with 2.5 sacks, one interception and 102 tackles.

Aaron Schatz – ESPN+

ESPN did not rank the Vikings 24th based on how many players they, or any other team, has on roster. Instead, they used a formula that inputs everything from a player’s upside, to the number of NFL games they’ve already logged, to length of each player’s contract… and everything in between. The calculations include (but are certainly not limited to):

  • Number of starts
  • Number of snaps
  • Value and length of player contracts
  • Draft value added in the 2024 draft
  • Expected key starters and reserves
  • Significant injuries or suspensions

The full list is more expansive, but the above inclusions give a good enough idea. Last year, the Vikings ranked 18th, so they fell six spots. Moving up on the list would have been difficult, no matter who they had drafted or signed in free agency.

Related: Andrew Van Ginkel Could Land on Vikings PUP List Before Season Starts

That’s because both Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw (plus Ed Ingram too) have turned 25-years-old, thus graduating out of Minnesota’s calculations. Jordan Addison and J.J. McCarthy were the only Vikings dubbed as “blue chip” players under the age of 25.

What does this ranking say about MN Vikings GM, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah?

Dallas Turner is a top defensive rookie of the year candidate. It’s a bit surprising he is not included with Addison and McCarthy. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the Vikings are over the hill. The only locked in starters, who are above the age of 30, are Harrison Smith and Aaron Jones.

What it does say, is that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has struggled in the NFL Draft, which is probably why he gave so much power to Kevin O’Connell and Brian Flores during the draft. They wanted J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner, so Kwesi did whatever it took to make sure they got one of their top choices.

Related: Video: Adam Thielen Continues to Work Out with Vikings Rookie JJ McCarthy

There have been some rumors floated lately over how hot Adofo-Mensah’s GM seat may be, being he only has two seasons left. This ranking by ESPN shows one reason why those rumors are starting to fly. Atop ESPN’s rankings of the NFL teams with the most 25-and-under talent were the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens.

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