A realistic way-too-early look at the Vikings playoff chances in 2024

Minnesota Vikings WR Brandon Powell
Minnesota Vikings WR Brandon Powell / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

With a number of notable departures during the last few months, the assumption by many is the Minnesota Vikings playoff chances are significantly low heading into the 2024 NFL season. However, some of the most successful Vikings teams from the recent past have been those who began their schedule with low expectations.

Few believed Minnesota was capable of winning 13 games in 2022 during its first year with Kevin O'Connell as the team's head coach. No one could have anticipated the Vikings making it all the way to the NFC Championship in 2017 with Case Keenum as their starting quarterback.

So before Minnesota returns to the practice field for training camp at the end of July, how realistic are its chances of making the playoffs during the upcoming 2024 season?

Heading into training camp, what are the Minnesota Vikings playoff chances for the 2024 season?

Whoever ends up spending the most time as the Vikings' starting quarterback is likely going to play a large part in whether the team qualifies for the 2024 postseason or not.

Currently, veteran Sam Darnold appears to be Minnesota's No. 1 signal-caller heading into the 2024 campaign. Since entering the NFL in 2018 as a top-three draft pick, Darnold's teams have only won 37.5 percent of their games with him as their starter.

To be fair, the majority of his starts in the league came with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers, two franchises that have failed to win a playoff game in the last eight seasons. So, it wouldn't be shocking if Darnold is able to have a bit more success with the Vikings in 2024.

At the same time, Minnesota rookie quarterback J.J. McCarthy might be difficult to keep on the bench if Darnold is struggling. The veteran should be able to hold off McCarthy during training camp and the preseason this summer, but if the Vikings get off to a slow start next season, O'Connell might want to see if the rookie can help them get back on track.

Any team with Justin Jefferson on its roster should always be considered a threat to make the playoffs, regardless of whoever is throwing him the ball. Jefferson can change the entire momentum in a game with just a single play, so it's difficult to count Minnesota out of any postseason race whenever he's on its roster.

In their second year with Brian Flores as the unit's coordinator, the Vikings' defense should also be even better than they were last season. Minnesota replaced the aging Danielle Hunter and Jordan Hicks with the younger Jonathan Greenard and Blake Cashman. Flores has also had the entire offseason to fix some of the weaknesses of Minnesota's defense from last year.

Currently, ESPN's Football Power Index has the Vikings ranked as the 24th-best team in the NFL. This makes them the 12th overall team in the NFC, behind teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Chicago Bears.

That seems a bit low, especially since Minnesota hasn't won fewer than seven games since the 2013 season. But for now, the public doesn't seem to be too high on the Vikings ending up as one of the seven teams to qualify for the playoffs in 2024.

Will Minnesota prove even more doubters wrong next season, or will the Vikings miss out on the playoffs for the second year in a row?

More Vikings News and Analysis