1 crucial offensive adjustment Vikings must make without Kirk Cousins in 2024

Kevin O'Connell
Kevin O'Connell / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings are going to look quite a bit different in 2024. Several of the team's biggest contributors have moved on to play for new squads during the upcoming season, paving the way for new individuals to step into big roles.

New personnel also may signal the need for a new offensive approach. Head coach Kevin O'Connell got solid production out of a unit with Kirk Cousins at quarterback but will be without the experienced passer for the upcoming season.

In order to get the most out of the Vikings offense, O'Connell will need to lean on his players' strengths while still being able to keep opposing defenses on their toes. Finding that balance could present a big challenge for Minnesota.

Offensive adjustment Minnesota Vikings need for 2024

Last season, the Vikings passed the ball the third most of any team in the NFL. Behind only the Commanders and Bengals, Minnesota threw the ball on 63.31 percent of their offensive snaps. Putting that responsibility on Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy may not yield optimal results.

Minnesota will need to find a way to run the ball in 2024. Last year, the Vikings tied for the fewest rushing touchdowns while tying for the fourth-most rushing fumbles in the league. That lack of efficiency would not pair well with a new starting quarterback.

Replacing struggling starter Alexander Mattison with former Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones may help the run game and provide a reliable receiver out of the backfield bur a lot of pressure will be on the offensive line to create holes and push defenders back.

The interior of the offensive line is the most concerning. A guard and center combination of Ed Ingram and Garrett Bradbury will need to show improvement while the left guard position will likely be decided in a battle between Dalton Risner and Blake Brandel.

Minnesota averaged four yards per carry in 2023 and only had five runs of 20 yards or more. Lacking a true running threat who can break off an explosive run will only allow defenders to key in on the pass game and focus on shutting down Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, T.J. Hockenson, and other weapons.

Hopefully Kevin O'Connell will be up to the task of developing the offensive line while creating a playbook where teams will need to respect the Vikings' run game. If that can't happen, 2024 could be a long season for fans.

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