Is C.J. Ham in danger of being cut by the Vikings in 2024?

Minnesota Vikings FB C.J. Ham
Minnesota Vikings FB C.J. Ham / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

The Minnesota Vikings are preparing for the 2024 season, but many of the players who were with the team during OTAs may not be with the team at the end of training camp. While some cuts will be obvious, others may be more of a surprise, and one name to keep an eye on is Vikings fullback C.J. Ham.

Ham is a fan favorite after making his way onto the Vikings roster as an undrafted free agent out of Augustana College in South Dakota. The Duluth, Minnesota native has also spent seven seasons with the Vikings, making Pro Bowl appearances in 2019 and 2023. 

With his impact on special teams and his status in the locker room, Ham appears to be a lock for his eighth year with Minnesota, but his contract and usage could paint a different story.

Why C.J. Ham might be left off of the Minnesota Vikings final 2024 roster

Ham was a prominent part of the Vikings offense under former head coach Mike Zimmer, playing in 200 or more snaps in four of his first five seasons. His usage also spiked as Minnesota turned to a run-oriented offense toward the end of Zimmer’s tenure, playing 380 snaps in 2019, 405 snaps in 2020, and 376 snaps in 2021, but Ham’s usage has diminished since Kevin O’Connell arrived in 2022. 

Ham played just 182 snaps in 2022 and 219 snaps in 2023, but a more alarming trend has been his usage in the run-blocking game, which decreased from 232 snaps in 2021 to 96 snaps in 2022 and 64 snaps in 2023.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis also called Ham “a solid third-down pass protector” and recently said that his usage could jump in 2024. But Pro Football Focus gave Ham the worst pass-blocking grade of his career (43.8) while allowing five pressures on 54 pass-blocking snaps last season.

Even if the Vikings wanted to keep using Ham on special teams, that also hasn’t panned out. Ham ranked 51st among Vikings in PFF’s special teams grades from last season and had the lowest grade of his career (57.1) while playing 242 special teams snaps.

The Vikings could point to a two-year, $5.6 million contract extension Ham signed in 2023 as a reason to keep him around, but Minnesota could also save $2.5 million if they choose to move on.

Ham has value as a locker room leader and a strong force in the community, but he also plays a position that hasn’t been used since O’Connell arrived in Minnesota. While it’s likely Ham will stay with the Vikings, they could also have a tough decision if someone at another position group pushes for a roster spot at receiver, safety or offensive line.

Ham has been a tremendous member of the Vikings since his arrival, but it may not be surprising if the Vikings decide to move on at the end of camp.

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