5 most explosive players on the Vikings defense in 2024

Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus
Minnesota Vikings safety Josh Metellus / Ric Tapia/GettyImages

It's time to slap some hot dogs on the grill, wear that red, white, and blue, and enjoy the booms and bangs of fireworks going off all over the neighborhood. Yes, America is another year older, and in honor of this most explosive of holidays, it's time to look at the members of the Minnesota Vikings who will be bringing the boom in 2024.

These are the players who'll be the difference makers. The ones who will force fumbles, make tackles behind the line of scrimmage, and create turnovers. These will be the players whose explosive plays will win ball games.

There are a handful of guys who just barely missed making this list, and that's a good thing, as it shows this Vikings defense is chock full of playmakers. Let's take a gander at the ones who'll be the most explosive members of Minnesota's defense in 2024.

Most explosive players on the Minnesota Vikings defense

Josh Metellus - Defender

Yes, Josh Metellus is listed as a defender here and that's because we just don't know where he'll line up. He's played cornerback, safety, linebacker, edge, and defensive tackle. Basically, if there's a position on the defense, Metellus lined up there in 2023.

Metellus's stat line from a year ago is littered with explosiveness: 116 total tackles, two and a half sacks, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, seven tackles for a loss, and an interception. The dude flies around the field like a jumping jack, making plays that change the outcome of games.

Metellus finally got some national attention for his game-changing ways and was a Pro Bowl alternate. The Vikings also realized what they had in him and gave him a little extension before the 2023 season. It was only a two-year deal, so there's plenty of motivation for Metellus to put up those big numbers again.

While he doesn't have Danielle Hunter on his defense anymore, he's surrounded by more quality players than a year ago. This could lead to even bigger numbers for Metellus in 2024 and a plethora of explosive plays that could lighten up the darkest of skies.

Jonathan Greenard - OLB

If you are looking for the Roman Candle of this group, the guy who'll be constantly creating explosions for this defense, then Jonathan Greenard should be the name you seek. The guy was a firecracker for the Texans' defense last year and will be an M-80 for the Vikings in 2024.

Greenard had 15 tackles for a loss, 12.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and even broke up a couple of passes. He was a huge reason why the Texans' defense was so good and why they went as far as they did in the playoffs.

Greenard brings that quick get-off and relentless motor to Minnesota. He goes from one great defensive mind in DeMeco Ryans to another one in Brian Flores, who will surely use him in ways that will maximize his explosive nature. He'll be able to stay fresh throughout games as the Vikings are deep enough to give him breathers while Dallas Turner gets some snaps in his stead.

Greenard was one of the Vikings splashier free-agent signings and is a guy who is just starting to scratch the surface of his true potential. He's on a defense loaded with playmakers and will assuredly create huge plays that win games for the Vikings.

Blake Cashman - ILB

The Vikings brought in Blake Cashman to replace Jordan Hicks as the tag team partner of Ivan Pace Jr. Speaking of Ivan Pace Jr., many probably expected to see him on this list, and he almost did make it. He just didn't make enough splash plays last year, and If Cashman is in that Hicks role, he may be the one to make the majority of them.

Cashman made plenty of explosive plays for the Texans a season ago. He racked up 106 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, and two sacks. He's very good in coverage and had an interception and five pass breakups. He's going to make the plays that kill drives and force offenses to punt. He's got great speed, power, and smarts, and that's going to show.

Pairing him with Pace will be a dangerous combination for offenses. Both are lightning-quick off the ball, can fight through blocks, and are excellent tacklers. It'll be a fun contest between the two to see who makes the most game-changing plays, but Cashman should be the favorite.

Dallas Turner - OLB

It may be about as bold as lighting off a bottle rocket in your bare hand to include a rookie on this list, but Turner has created this buzz for himself. Apparently, the dude looks the part of an elite pass-rushing force in the NFL. He was name-dropped by Christian Darrisaw in an interview, and the Pro Bowl-caliber left tackle said his spin move was even better than Danielle Hunter's.

Turner should have a major impact, even in a situational role, in 2024. He'll be rotated with Jonathan Greenard and Andrew Van Ginkel. That'll cut down on his snaps, but it'll also keep him fresh. It has also been rumored that Turner could line up inside on passing downs, utilizing his speed and power to create mismatches.

It isn't out of the question to expect Turner to put up eight plus sacks with 10-12 tackles for a loss. That's the type of talent he possesses, and Brian Flores is the perfect man to help him reach those lofty numbers.

Mekhi Blackmon - CB

Blackmon on this list could be seen as a surprise like that lame-looking firework that blows away expectations with its color, noise, and longevity. Blackmon had an underrated rookie season with 41 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and an interception, and will be looking for more in 2024.

He did that as a rookie, appearing in 15 games with just three starts. He got his feet wet, adjusted to the speed of the NFL, and was still able to make plays. The guy oozes confidence and isn't afraid to lower his shoulder to make a hit on a ball carrier. He's only going to be better with another preseason of Brian Flores honing his craft.

Blackmon has been name to a few breakout player watch lists and for good reason. Flores got an idea of what he can do, and will use him in more creative ways in 2024. Expect to see some corner blitzes, and see Blackmon come down with a few more interceptions this season. The big plays are going to come and those tackle numbers should rise. He is going to be a huge part of this defense, and will earn his spot on this explosive list.

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