7 Vikings players who could be gone after the 2024 season

Justin Jefferson
Justin Jefferson / Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

While the Minnesota Vikings are hard at work assembling a competitive roster for the 2024 NFL season, it can be a little difficult not to take a look into a crystal ball to try to see what the future holds for the franchise.

The Vikings have made many difficult decisions under general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell. However, more difficult decisions are on the horizon for Minnesota's staff which could shape the franchise's future.

Keeping and getting production from key players is a recipe for success in the league. Achieving that balance is easier said than done and there is a chance that some important pieces to the Vikings roster may not be on the roster after this season.

Vikings players who could be gone after the 2024 season

There are plenty of reasons for a player to move on from a team. Salary cap, scheme fit, team fit, production, and numerous other factors can have a huge impact on whether or not a player stays with a team like the Minnesota Vikings.

Justin Jefferson, wide receiver

No Vikings fan wants to talk about the possibility of Justin Jefferson leaving Minnesota after this season, but that will be what happens unless the star receiver signs a contract extension since he is currently set to play on his fifth-year option in 2024.

With the wide receiver market values going wild recently, the Vikings will need to make a significant investment in Jefferson to keep him in Minnesota. Fans need to be prepared for him to get a record-breaking contract extension to hopefully keep him in a purple and gold jersey.

Sam Darnold, quarterback

When the Vikings signed Sam Darnold, his clock was already ticking. Since Kirk Cousins left for Atlanta, Minnesota needed a quarterback to handle starting duties until whoever they drafted is ready to take the field.

Darnold only has a one-year deal this offseason and is unlikely to be extended unless he plays so well that J.J. McCarthy stays on the sideline or something else happens to prevent the rookie from taking the field.

The only logical way Darnold sticks around is if Minnesota wants to keep him as a high-end backup for McCarthy. Even that situation wouldn't make him an extremely high priority for the Vikings' front office.

Byron Murphy, cornerback

Byron Murphy has been okay as a cornerback in Minnesota but the team is paying him handsomely for his services. Set to become a free agent after the 2024 NFL season, the question of whether or not the experienced defender has done enough to earn an extension must be asked.

Aaron Jones, running back

Another player signed to a one-year deal this offseason, Aaron Jones was a necessary upgrade at running back for the Vikings. If he is productive and has a good rapport with J.J. McCarthy, there could be enough motivation to sign him to a big extension but for now, he looks like a one-year rental for Minnesota.

Josh Oliver, tight end

The tight ends group is pretty stacked for Minnesota. When T.J. Hockenson is healthy enough to return, he will be the team's primary option but there will be Robert Tonyan, Johnny Mundt, Nick Muse, and others to compete with Josh Oliver for playing time.

Minnesota could save over $5 million by releasing Oliver after this season. That could be tempting for the Vikings with massive contract extensions likely on the horizon for Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw.

Harrison Smith, safety

It would be difficult to find Minnesota Vikings fans who want the team to move on from Harrison Smith, but it might be the time for that after this year. Smith restructured his contract to stay in Minnesota but has an out in his contract following the 2024 NFL season. After 14 seasons in the league, it wouldn't be shocking if Smith hung up his cleats following this year.

Andrew Van Ginkel, edge

Moving on from quality edge rushers is difficult, but it will be easier if first-round pick Dallas Turner can sneak into a heavy rotation. If the rookie can accomplish that feat, Andrew Van Ginkel and Jonathan Greenard will be put on notice. Van Ginkel's release could save Minnesota nearly $6 million, which is enough to make the Vikings consider making the move.