The Vikings couldn't replicate their 13-4 record from 2022 due to injuries to key players. Kirk Cousins suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in Week 8, while Justin Jefferson played only 10 games due to a hamstring injury. Inconsistent quarterback play following Cousins' injury resulting in a 1-6 record in the final seven games. To enhance their performance in 2024, the Vikings aim to achieve greater stability at the quarterback position.  

Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Vikings' entire team outlook including changes to the top of the depth chart that matter for Fantasy, a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for all of the notable Vikings players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.

Vikings 2024 lineup changes

1/1/2024Week 1 2024 (proj)
QBJaren HallSam Darnold
RBAlexander MattisonAaron Jones
WRJustin JeffersonJustin Jefferson
WRJordan AddisonJordan Addison
WRK.J. OsbornBrandon Powell
TEJosh OliverJosh Oliver

Burning question: How long will Sam Darnold hold off J.J. McCarthy?

Once a highly touted first-round pick, Sam Darnold faced unmet expectations early in his career. Now, entering his seventh NFL season at just 27 years old, he's poised for a chance at redemption. While he's grappled with post-snap recognition previously, Darnold possesses all the physical tools necessary for offensive coordinator Wes Phillips' system. With that said, the Vikings didn't select J.J. McCarthy with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft to sit on the bench, and he likely won't be holding the clipboard for very long. He was the signal caller for a run-heavy offense at Michigan, but when asked to throw the ball, he was highly efficient, showcasing outstanding anticipation and ball placement. The Vikings anticipate these qualities will enhance their offensive performance moving forward.

2024 NFL Draft class

110J.J. McCarthyQBMichigan
117Dallas TurnerLBAlabama
4108Khyree JacksonDBOregon
6177Walter RouseOLOklahoma
6203Will ReichardKAlabama
7230Michael JurgensOLWake Forest
7232Levi Drake RodriguezDTTexas A&M-Commerce

Vikings 2024 schedule

1Sep 8, 2024@N.Y. Giants1:00 pmFOXMetLife Stadium
2Sep 15, 2024vsSan Francisco1:00 pmCBSU.S. Bank Stadium
3Sep 22, 2024vsHouston1:00 pmCBSU.S. Bank Stadium
4Sep 29, 2024@Green Bay1:00 pmCBSLambeau Field
5Oct 6, 2024vsN.Y. Jets9:30 amNFLNTottenham Hotspur Stadium
7Oct 20, 2024vsDetroit1:00 pmFOXU.S. Bank Stadium
8Oct 24, 2024@L.A. Rams8:15 pmAMZNSoFi Stadium
9Nov 3, 2024vsIndianapolis1:00 pmCBSU.S. Bank Stadium
10Nov 10, 2024@Jacksonville1:00 pmFOXEverBank Stadium
11Nov 17, 2024@Tennessee1:00 pmCBSNissan Stadium
12Nov 24, 2024@Chicago1:00 pmFOXSoldier Field
13Dec 1, 2024vsArizona1:00 pmFOXU.S. Bank Stadium
14Dec 8, 2024vsAtlanta1:00 pmFOXU.S. Bank Stadium
15Dec 16, 2024vsChicago8:00 pmABCU.S. Bank Stadium
16Dec 22, 2024@Seattle4:05 pmFOXLumen Field
17Dec 29, 2024vsGreen Bay1:00 pmFOXU.S. Bank Stadium
18Jan 5, 2025@DetroitTBAFord Field

Vikings 2024 player outlooks

By Jamey Eisenberg and CBS Fantasy staff

QB J.J. McCarthy

The Vikings selected McCarthy with the No. 10 overall pick in the NFL Draft, and he is Minnesota's quarterback of the future. We'll see if he starts in Week 1 ahead of Sam Darnold, but expect McCarthy to play plenty in his rookie campaign. In redraft one-quarterback leagues, McCarthy is worth a late-round pick, and he's a mid-round selection in Superflex and two-quarterback leagues. He landed in a great spot with the Vikings under coach Kevin O'Connell since Minnesota has fantastic weapons in Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson. While McCarthy was more of a game manager at Michigan under coach Jim Harbaugh, we're hopeful O'Connell will allow McCarthy to showcase his skills since the Vikings are a very pass-happy offense. Long-term, McCarthy could develop into a low-end starting Fantasy quarterback in all leagues, and he could even surprise us as a rookie given the offense in Minnesota. In one-quarterback rookie-only drafts for Dynasty leagues, McCarthy is a late first or early second-round selection. But McCarthy is a first-round pick in rookie-only Superflex and two-quarterback Dynasty formats.

QB Sam Darnold

Darnold will compete with rookie J.J. McCarthy for the starting QB job in Minnesota this preseason, but the expectation is that McCarthy will start the majority of games for the Vikings, if not every single one of them. Darnold's role in Fantasy is as an insurance policy in two-QB leagues in case McCarthy doesn't make a start, and it's not because of Darnold's skills as much as it is the receivers he'll throw to. Darnold isn't worth drafting outside of the deepest of two-QB leagues.

QB Nick Mullens

Mullens is expected to be the No. 3 quarterback in Minnesota this season behind J.J. McCarthy and Sam Darnold, and Mullens has minimal Fantasy value in that role. Mullens is not worth drafting in any Fantasy leagues. In 2023, Mullens started the final four games for the Vikings and scored at least 20.5 Fantasy points in three of those outings. He could be an interesting Fantasy option if he appeared in any games this season, but that would only happen if McCarthy or Darnold suffered an injury. In that scenario, you can just add Mullens off the waiver wire.

QB Jaren Hall

Hall will compete with Nick Mullens to be the No. 3 quarterback in Minnesota this season, but Hall has minimal Fantasy value even if he wins that job. He's not worth drafting in any Fantasy leagues. Hall was given the first chance to replace Kirk Cousins in 2023, but Hall got injured in his first start in Week 9 at Atlanta and was then outplayed by Joshua Dobbs and Mullens for the rest of the season. This year, Minnesota added J.J. McCarthy and Sam Darnold, and Mullens is projected to be third on the depth chart. Hall would need a lot to happen to play this season, and you can just add him off waivers if that scenario ever occurs.  

RB Aaron Jones

Jones signed with the Vikings this offseason after being released by the Packers, and he has the chance to remain a No. 2 Fantasy running back this year. Jones is worth drafting as early as Round 6 in the majority of leagues. With the Vikings, Jones should lead the team in touches, and his main competition for playing time is Ty Chandler, which is a plus for Jones. Minnesota's offense also has the chance to be explosive, and Jones should be able to make plays all over the field, especially in the passing game. But at 29, Jones has to prove he can stay healthy, which was a problem in 2023 in Green Bay. He missed six games and parts of others, mostly due to hamstring injuries, but he finished the season strong with five games in a row with at least 108 rushing yards, including the playoffs. Hopefully that's the running back we see all season. Don't overvalue Jones based on his name and history, but at the right price he can be a low-end starter or flex in all leagues.  

RB Ty Chandler

Chandler will open the season as the No. 2 running back for the Vikings, and he's worth drafting as a sleeper with a late-round pick in all leagues. Aaron Jones will open the year as the starter in Minnesota, but the 29-year-old struggled to stay healthy in 2023 with the Packers. Chandler started last season as the backup to Alexander Mattison, but Chandler looked like the best running back in Minnesota to close the season. He finished the year with six games with double digits in touches, and Chandler averaged 12.9 PPR points in those outings. We'll see how Kevin O'Connell plans to use Jones and Chandler in tandem, but don't be surprised if Chandler ends up as the more valuable Vikings running back, especially at a reduced cost.

RB Kene Nwangwu

Nwangwu is a reserve running back for the Vikings, and he'll likely be third on the depth chart at best behind Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler. Nwangwu is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. However, in leagues where you get points for return yardage, Nwangwu is a name to remember because he should handle kickoff duties in Minnesota, and the new rules could allow him to be explosive. In 2023, Nwangwu had 15 kickoff returns for 380 yards. On offense, Nwangwu barely played with five carries and no catches, and he only has 33 total touches in his three-year career.

RB DeWayne McBride

McBride will compete for a role in Minnesota's backfield this season, but he's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. As a rookie in 2023, McBride never touched the field and spent the entire year on Minnesota's practice squad. The Vikings have Aaron Jones, Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu ahead of McBride on the depth chart entering training camp, so we'll see if McBride can make the final roster. It's unlikely that McBride will make a Fantasy impact this season, but if he does get the chance for playing time then just add him off the waiver wire during the year. 

RB Myles Gaskin

Gaskin will compete for a role in Minnesota's backfield this season, but he doesn't have much Fantasy value coming into the year. He should not be drafted in the majority of leagues. The Vikings have Aaron Jones, Ty Chandler and Kene Nwangwu as the top three running backs on the depth chart, and Gaskin will compete with DeWayne McBride for the final running back spot. In 2023, Gaskin never touched the ball and spent the majority of the season on the practice squad. It's unlikely that Gaskin will make a Fantasy impact this season, but if he does get the chance for playing time then just add him off the waiver wire during the year.  

WR Justin Jefferson

There are some Fantasy managers concerned about Jefferson this season, and rightfully so. He has a new quarterback in rookie J.J. McCarthy or Sam Darnold with Kirk Cousins off to Atlanta, and that could be a problem. But we still believe in Jefferson, and he should once again be considered a top-five Fantasy receiver in all leagues, with the upside to be the No. 1 player at his position. He's worth drafting with a top-five overall pick. Last year, Jefferson played the final four games with Nick Mullens, and Jefferson was still dominant. He had 44 targets for 30 catches, 476 yards and two touchdowns, and he averaged 22.1 PPR points per game over that span. Jefferson is capable of producing with almost any quarterback in Kevin O'Connell's offense, and Jefferson should once again have a standout campaign in 2024. He averaged at least 17.1 PPR points per game in four years in a row, including each of the past two seasons of at least 20.2 PPR points per game.  

WR Jordan Addison

Addison quietly had a solid rookie campaign in 2023, and he's looking to build off that performance this year. Addison is worth drafting as a high-end No. 3 Fantasy receiver with a mid-round pick. As a rookie, Addison was one of six receivers to score double digits in touchdowns with 10, and he averaged 13.0 PPR points per game. This season, Addison will get a new quarterback in either J.J. McCarthy or Sam Darnold, and there could be an adjustment for Addison. But Addison could also benefit with T.J. Hockenson (knee) potentially out to start the season, which could lead to more targets for Addison. He has the upside to be a top-20 Fantasy receiver in all leagues, and he's someone to draft as early as Round 6.  

WR Brandon Powell

Powell is expected to be the No. 3 receiver for the Vikings this season behind Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison, but Powell is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. Powell will compete with Trent Sherfield for the No. 3 job, but Powell should have the inside track after spending 2023 with the Vikings. He only averaged 3.9 PPR points per game last season, and Powell has never produced at a high level in his career offensively with a combined 162.1 PPR points in seven seasons with Minnesota, the Rams, Atlanta and Detroit. But this could be his best chance to be an offensive weapon if he's third on the depth chart, especially if T.J. Hockenson (knee) is limited early in the season. Powell also is the primary punt returner for the Vikings, and he had 37 returns for 289 yards in 2023.

WR N'Keal Harry

Harry will compete for a role in Minnesota's receiving corps, but he has minimal Fantasy value this season. Harry is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. Harry spent time on Minnesota's practice squad in 2023, but he never caught a pass. After failed stops in Chicago and New England in the first five seasons of his career, it's difficult to envision Harry making an impact this year, and he's behind Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, Brandon Powell and Trent Sherfield on the depth chart. At best, you can add Harry off the waiver wire if he starts off the season playing well.

WR Jalen Nailor

Nailor will compete for a role in Minnesota's receiving corps, but he has minimal Fantasy value this season. Nailor is not worth drafting in the majority of leagues. He appeared in six games in 2023, but he only scored 5.9 PPR points for the season. And in his two-year career, Nailor has just 38.8 combined PPR points. Nailor will open the season behind Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, Brandon Powell and Trent Sherfield on the depth chart, if he makes the final roster. At best, you can add Nailor off the waiver wire if he starts off the season playing well.  

TE T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson could be tough to trust this season coming off a serious knee injury toward the end of 2023. We recommend drafting Hockenson with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues, but he could be out in the early part of the year. Hockenson suffered a torn ACL and MCL in Week 16 last year, and he didn't undergo surgery until late January. There's a good chance Hockenson could be on the PUP list or injured reserve to open the season, and we might not see him until after Minnesota's bye in Week 6. Now, he could surprise us and be ready for Week 1, but that seems unlikely. Hockenson is more appealing in leagues with IR spots where you can potentially stash him, but don't draft him based on his production from last year when he averaged 14.6 PPR points per game. Keep in mind the Vikings have a new quarterback this year in J.J. McCarthy or Sam Darnold, and it could take time for Hockenson to develop a rapport with his new passer. We're hopeful Hockenson can return to form quickly and perform at a high level, but your best bet is to consider him a No. 2 Fantasy tight end to open the season and not overvalue him based on what happened before his knee injury in 2023.

TE Robert Tonyan

Tonyan is an interesting tight end to monitor in training camp now that he's in Minnesota because he could play a prominent role early in the season. T.J. Hockenson (knee) is coming off a serious injury and might not be ready to play in Week 1. Tonyan will compete with Josh Oliver and Johnny Mundt for targets behind Hockenson, and we'll see if Kevin O'Connell prefers Tonyan as a potential Hockenson replacement. Tonyan had a quiet season in 2023 with the Bears at 1.3 PPR points per game, and he's never been a consistent receiving threat. But he does have one year on his resume with 11.0 PPR points per game in 2020 with the Packers when he scored 11 touchdowns, and if beats out Oliver and Mundt for the No. 2 role in Minnesota then he could be a late-round flier for Fantasy managers in deeper leagues. Keep an eye on what happens in training camp, and Tonyan could be a name to remember if Hockenson is out to start the season.

K Will Reichard

The Vikings selected Reichard in the sixth round of the NFL Draft, and he's expected to be the starter in Minnesota this year. Reichard will compete with John Parker Romo for the job, but Reichard should have the edge if he performs as expected. Reichard is the NCAA's all-time leading points scorer (547). At Alabama, Reichard converted 274 of 275 extra points and had an 86 percent field goal success rate. He's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues, but Reichard could be someone to add off the waiver wire during the year.

Vikings DST

The Vikings defense lost standout pass rusher Danielle Hunter this offseason, but Minnesota added some reinforcements in free agency with Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel and Blake Cashman. Then, the Vikings added Dallas Turner in the NFL Draft, and the Vikings DST could be a nice surprise this season. We need to see it from the Vikings DST first before recommending the unit as a starting option, but the Vikings DST could be worth adding off the waiver wire in all leagues during the season.