4 Potential Breakout Candidates for the 2024 Vikings

Jalen Nailor Stock Continues to Rise
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) celebrates after making a stop against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Every year, NFL teams head into a season with promising young players on the verge of a breakout campaign.

The Minnesota Vikings are not all that different, despite some draft misses over the past few years. They still have plenty of young players waiting for their opportunity to rise on the depth chart. Here is a look at four potential breakout candidates for the 2024 Vikings.

LB Brian Asamoah

Breakout Candidates
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Brian Asamoah II (33) in action against the Detroit Lions during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Asamoah’s sophomore season certainly didn’t go as many expected it to. After he closed the 2022 season by playing 12+ defensive snaps in four of Minnesota’s final five regular season games, the linebacker was only on the field for 36 defensive snaps in 2023.

Part of this was due to the fact that undrafted free agent Ivan Pace emerged as a starter, but in addition, Asamoah was dealing with a shoulder injury throughout the season on top of other ailments that held him sidelined for different portions of the year.

With his shoulder on the mend, and veteran Jordan Hicks set to enter free agency, perhaps 2024 can be Asamoah’s season to finally break out and become a consistent contributor to the defense.

WR Jalen Nailor

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) rushes for a touchdown as Green Bay Packers cornerback Corey Ballentine (35) defends during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Nailor’s career has followed a somewhat similar trajectory to that of Asamoah on the defense. The speedy wide receiver caught fire down the stretch of his rookie season following being selected by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Over the final two games of the season, the receiver put together seven receptions for 151 yards and a touchdown.

Then, Nailor missed a large chunk of training camp this past season because of a leg injury and was placed on injured reserve in September. He saw double-digit snaps with the offense just twice in 2023, amassing a total of three receptions for just 29 yards. It didn’t help that rookie Jordan Addison took over a starting role almost immediately.

Now, though, Nailor has a chance to rise up the depth chart if he can put together a strong offseason. Both K.J. Osborn and Brandon Powell are entering free agency, and the third-year receiver is one of the more proven players behind Addison and Justin Jefferson for that WR3 role.

RB Ty Chandler

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 31, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Ty Chandler (32) runs with the ball against the Green Bay Packers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Chandler might be the most likely breakout candidate for the Vikings in 2024, at least among the players on this list. Chandler was selected in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but he was buried on the depth chart during his rookie season behind Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. In total, he put together just six carries for 20 yards during the 2022 season.

Heading into 2023, Chandler had a chance to prove himself, and despite being behind Mattison for much of the season, it seems safe to say that he did that. The running back garnered 10+ touches in six of Minnesota’s final eight games and finished the year with 102 carries for 461 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

Unless the Vikings decide they want to get another true workhorse RB in the room for the 2024 season, Chandler seems to be the RB1 in that group heading into the offseason. Of course, that can change over the course of the spring and summer, but he could be in line for a breakout simply because of an increased number of touches throughout an entire season.

DT Jaquelin Roy

Mar 2, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State defensive lineman Jaquelin Roy (DL14) participates in the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jaquelin Roy just wrapped up his rookie season with the Vikings after being a fifth-round pick in 2023. The defensive tackle largely spent his rookie season behind names like Jonathan Bullard, Dean Lowry, Harrison Phillips, and Khyiris Tonga. In total, Roy played 96 defensive snaps during his rookie season and recorded eight total tackles, including a tackle for loss.

These snaps were spread a bit more sporadically throughout the season. Roy played 17 defensive snaps in Week 4 against the Carolina Panthers before dipping back into single-digits in seven of the next eight games. Then, the defensive tackle had back-to-back games with 10+ defensive snaps against the Las Vegas Raiders and Cincinnati Bengals.

This offseason, the Vikings currently employ three total defensive tackles on their entire roster. Those players are Lowry, Phillips, and Roy. After starting 14 games last season, Bullard will enter free agency in March while other depth pieces are on the open market as well. 2024 could be the chance for Roy to solidify himself near the top of the depth chart.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.