The Minnesota Vikings have long been a team on the cusp of greatness. They have a fan base that dreams of returning to the Super Bowl glory of decades past. As the dust settles on the 2024 NFL Draft, the Vikings find themselves at a critical juncture. With a mix of seasoned veterans and promising rookies, the team is poised to make a deep playoff run. However, to truly cement themselves as contenders, the Vikings must make strategic moves in the free agent market. Here are three free agents that the Vikings should target to bolster their roster and make a serious push in the upcoming season.

Reflecting on the 2023 Season

The Vikings started the 2023 season with a disappointing 0-3 record. It marked the second time in four seasons they found themselves in such a hole. Their hopes of matching their impressive 13-4 record from 2022 were dashed early after a Week 5 loss to the eventual back-to-back Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and a subsequent Week 11 loss to the Denver Broncos. Despite this rough start, the Vikings rallied. They won five consecutive games to improve to a 6-4 record. However, their season took a turn for the worse during their Week 8 game against the Green Bay Packers. That was when starting quarterback Kirk Cousins ruptured his Achilles tendon, ending his season.

After that, the Vikings struggled to find stability at the quarterback position for the remainder of the season. This resulted in a 1-6 record over their last seven games, including four consecutive losses to close out the campaign. They also bid goodbye to Cousins after he signed a four-year, $180 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons in March.

Kirk Cousins playing for the Vikings, Falcons and Redskins.

The Vikings' 2024 NFL Draft

In the 2024 NFL Draft, the Vikings made a strategic move by trading up one spot to select JJ McCarthy. This made him the fifth quarterback chosen in the top 10. McCarthy was a polarizing prospect. However, he is in a favorable position to succeed with head coach Kevin O'Connell and star wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Retaining their second first-round pick due to the minimal trade-up for McCarthy, the Vikings traded up again to draft pass rusher Dallas Turner at No. 17. Additionally, the Vikings secured a valuable asset in the sixth round by selecting Alabama kicker Will Reichard. This emphasized their commitment to strengthening the special teams unit.

Here we'll look at the three free agent players whom the Minnesota Vikings must target after the 2024 NFL Draft.

Dalton Risner, OL

One free agent the Vikings must target is offensive guard Dalton Risner. He has spent the last few seasons with the Denver Broncos and has developed a reputation as a reliable and versatile interior lineman. The Vikings' offensive line has struggled with consistency. As such, adding a player of Risner’s caliber could make a significant difference. His ability to play both guard positions and even slide over to center in a pinch makes him an invaluable asset. Risner’s strong run-blocking skills would also help open up the ground game, providing more balance to the Vikings’ offensive attack. Bringing in Risner could be the key to transforming the offensive line from a liability into a strength.

Marcus Peters, CB

On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings should pursue cornerback Marcus Peters. He is a former Pro Bowler who brings a wealth of experience and playmaking ability to any secondary. The Vikings' pass defense has been suspect, particularly in critical moments, and adding a seasoned veteran like Peters could provide the stability and leadership needed to elevate the unit. Peters’ knack for creating turnovers would be a welcome addition to a defense that struggled to generate takeaways in 2023. His aggressive style of play and ability to match up against the league’s top receivers would significantly bolster the Vikings' secondary. He could provide a much-needed boost to their pass defense.

Kwon Alexander, LB

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kwon Alexander (54) during the second quarter of their game at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Penn.
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean / USA TODAY NETWORK

Finally, the Vikings should consider signing linebacker Kwon Alexander. He has played for several teams including the Buccaneers, 49ers, Saints, Jets, and Steelers. Alexander brings great speed and tackling ability. Take note that the Vikings' linebacker corps has been solid but lacks a true playmaker in the middle of the field. Alexander’s ability to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield would add a new dimension to the Vikings' defense. His presence would also allow the team to be more creative with their defensive schemes, knowing they have a linebacker who can handle multiple responsibilities. Alexander’s leadership and experience would be invaluable for a defense looking to take the next step.

Looking Ahead

The Minnesota Vikings have a solid foundation and a promising group of rookies from the 2024 NFL Draft. However, to truly compete for a championship, they need to address specific weaknesses through free agency. Targeting Dalton Risner, Marcus Peters, and Kwon Alexander would provide immediate upgrades at key positions and fill critical gaps in the roster. Risner would solidify the offensive line, Peters would enhance the secondary, and Alexander would add playmaking ability to the linebacker corps. With these strategic additions, the Vikings could transform from playoff hopefuls to legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The upcoming free agency period will be crucial, and the Vikings must act decisively to seize their opportunity for greatness.