4 second-year Vikings players in line for a big jump in 2024

Minnesota Vikings DL Jaquelin Roy
Minnesota Vikings DL Jaquelin Roy / Stephen Maturen/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings spent the last couple of months retooling their team. They added new faces in free agency and found some exciting young talent in the draft. They have returning veteran depth pieces and starters and those are all guys who are expected to make an impact. Speaking of making an impact, there are a handful of Vikings who are entering their second season with the team.

The second season with the Vikings doesn't necessarily mean it's their second season in the NFL. With a few names on this list, that is the case, but others are players who have played before with other teams but are entering their second year with Minnesota.

Maybe in year one, they were still acclimating to how things are done with the Vikings and now that they understand the playbook and what the goals of this team are, they can take the next step in their production.

Others are young players who are in their second NFL seasons. Perhaps they only saw spot duty in year one, but are in line for a much bigger role in 2024. Here are four Vikings who are, in line for a jump in production in year two.

Second-year Minnesota Vikings players in line for a big jump in 2024

Mekhi Blackmon - CB

Mekhi Blackmon was a third-round pick of the Vikings who saw plenty of action as a rookie. He played in 15 games, had 41 tackles, broke up eight passes, and had one interception. Blackmon definitely didn't lack confidence, as he was seen constantly jawing with the man he was assigned to cover.

He did have some bad plays that went with the good, but that's what rookies do. He also had some injury issues late but got plenty of experience that'll help him have an even bigger role in 2024. Blackmon doesn't have elite size but is big enough, standing 5-foot-11 and weighing 180 pounds.

The Vikings have already started lining him up on the outside, splitting reps with Akayleb Evans. Evans struggled mightily at the end of last season, and it may not be a huge hurdle for Blackmon to take over his starting job.

If that does come to pass, and Blackmon locks down that No. 2 corner spot, his production will skyrocket. He kind of feels like the forgotten cog in the wheel of the new faces, with this year's draft class and the play of Jordan Addison and Ivan Pace Jr. in year one overshadowing him. Another year with Flores's tutelage will change that, and Blackmon could become one of the better young players on this squad.

Jaquelin Roy - DL

Jaquelin Roy's rookie season was pretty forgettable. He battled some injuries, and when he was on the field, he didn't make much of a peep, racking up just eight tackles on the season. It was an underwhelming year for a player who many thought could prove to be a late-round gem.

The Vikings opted not to take a defensive lineman early in the 2024 draft, which breathes life into Roy's chances at having a redemption season in year two. Reports are already extremely positive regarding Roy as he's looked like a new man in OTA's and mandatory mini-camp.

Roy doesn't face a huge uphill climb to secure playing time. With Jonathan Bullard, Jerry Tillery, and Jonah Williams on the depth chart, this should be an open competition to who earns the starting end jobs.

Roy can also kick inside if need be, and that versatility is something that Brian Flores will utilize. Roy's rookie season was a disappointment, but he's got an excellent opportunity to have a much larger sophomore season from a production standpoint.

Brandon Powell - WR

Brandon Powell isn't a second-year player, but this is his second season with the Vikings, and he should see an increase in production from 2023. Powell is in line to be the Vikings' slot receiver, and he flourished in that role last season.

Powell caught everything thrown his way. The quick, shifty, yet powerful pass catcher created some yards after the catch on his way to a solid 29 receptions, 324 yards, and one touchdown stat line in his first season in purple.

There's no doubt that Powell will end up being the fifth option in the passing game behind Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and Aaron Jones, but he will also become the forgotten man.

He could be the one who is left uncovered or under covered and that could lead to a lot of opportunities to make plays. Powell could build off of his career season in 2023 and could have close to 500 receiving yards or more if things go his way.

He's also a threat on the ground, and the Vikings weren't shy to give him touches out of the backfield. Powell is an underrated playmaker who may finally get a real chance to showcase that this season.

Josh Oliver - TE

Josh Oliver had a career year as a pass-catcher with the Vikings in 2024. He hauled in 22 passes for 213 yards and a couple of touchdowns in his first year in Minnesota. Those aren't impressive numbers, but he's primarily a blocking tight end who isn't asked to be a large part of the passing attack. That could change this season.

T.J. Hockenson is potentially going to miss the first few weeks of the upcoming 2024 season. While Oliver will continue to be the blocking tight end, he could also be asked to have a larger role in the passing game.

With teams focused on shutting down Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and Aaron Jones, that could lead to some plays where Oliver is left wide-open. If the Vikings can take advantage of those, Oliver will see his production rise.

Oliver's increase in production may just end up being a hot start that fades out when Hockenson returns from his injury, but it could be enough for him to improve on his career numbers from his first season with the Vikings.

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