Minnesota Vikings Have Two ‘Hidden Gems’ On Their Roster

Minnesota Vikings
NFL Analysis Network

The Minnesota Vikings are a team that hasn’t had an NFC championship appearance since the Cinderella Case Keenum story.

However, the 2024 version of the Vikings is loaded with talent and has been for some years. Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are two obvious names fans can be on the lookout for. However, what about some less well-known names?

In a June 11 article by Tim Crean of Clutch Points, Crean named free agent pass rusher Andre Carter and wide receiver Devron Harper as two players worth monitoring.

Here’s what he said about Carter in the article:

“In 2022, the Vikings signed undrafted free agent pass rusher Andre Carter II out of Army to a deal. Obviously, Army hasn’t produced high-end NFL players for 75 years or so (apologies to Tex Coulter and Red Cagle), but Carter came out as an intriguing prospect,” he wrote.

Of course, Carter was not the only name worth keeping an eye on. Here’s what the analyst said about Harper:

“What may get [Harper] on the 2024 Vikings 53-man roster, though, is his kick return ability. He put up 1,346 kick return yards with a touchdown on 55 chances and 625 punt return yards with three TDs on 44 attempts in college,” he wrote.

“So, while Ty James looks the part of an NFL receiver and has the production to back it up, Devron Harper is a specialist who — with the new NFL kick return rules — could become massively valuable,” he added.

Minnesota Vikings teeter on potential rebuild year

In other words, the Vikings have a potential star in training on both defense and special teams. With rookie prospect J.J. McCarthy on the roster, the team may need a boost from the other parts of the roster this season. Getting an extra stop courtesy of Carter on defense and a big play by Harper could be massive in helping McCarthy get his legs under him.

Even if McCarthy isn’t handed the starter’s gig to kick off 2024, Sam Darnold will likely also need a boost from other parts of the team. Harper and Carter could be just that.

While talent exists for the franchise in several spots, it is clear the team took a step back in the short term this year. McCarthy replaced Cousins. Pass rusher Danielle Hunter is also gone. Dalvin Cook wasn’t part of the 2023 squad and appears to be gone for good.

As such, unless a surge arrives from a new place this year instantly, the Vikings’ hopes lay seemingly almost exclusively with Jefferson and Addison. If the Vikings are going to surge in 2024, it will be because of new talent popping.

With rookies usually needing a year to learn the ins and outs of the league, much of the roster is set to be uneven as rookies learn the game at different speeds. In one week, a rookie might surge but another may slump. Then, the following week, those rookies might switch places with the other producing and the other slumping.

Football is a team sport and requires everyone to win consistently. With Kevin O’Connell serving as the veteran coach of the rebuilding roster, his teachings will be key.

How quickly will the Vikings’ next generation pick up the professional game?

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