An Overlooked Vikings Position Group That Could See a Major Shakeup in 2024

Aug 26, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell takes the field before a game against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings currently have 28 players slated to hit free agency when March 13th rolls around.

A number of those players are at premium positions, such as Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, and major positions like QB, WR, and pass rusher could see some major changes this offseason. However, another Vikings position group could see a shakeup this offseason.

A Vikings Position Group That Could See a Major Shakeup

Position Group
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings place kicker Greg Joseph (1) celebrates with punter Ryan Wright (14) after kicking a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings have some questions to answer regarding their special teams group this offseason. The first and most obvious of those questions regards the status of Greg Joseph, who is among the 28 players currently slated to hit free agency.

Fans will remember that Joseph went through a couple major struggles during the 2022 season, missing a league-high six extra point attempts and making just four of his 10 field goal attempts from 50+ yards.

As a result, the Vikings brought in UDFA Jack Podlesny as competition for Joseph during the spring of 2023. Of course, the rookie Georgia product was eventually cut, leaving the incumbent, Joseph, in the kicking role once again for 2023.

2023 ultimately went much better for Joseph as he made 36 of his 38 extra point attempts while going 4/7 from 50+ yards. However, if Joseph wants a change of scenery (and there are a number of teams that could use kickers this offseason), he is now free to sign elsewhere.

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings kicker Greg Joseph (1) and punter Jordan Berry (3) react after a field goal against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

A sneaky area of the Vikings roster is also one of the most overlooked on any NFL team: long snapper. Andrew DePaola is going to turn 37 years old in July, and while he signed a three-year deal last offseason, the Vikings have a way to get out of that contract this offseason, and by doing so, they would save a touch over $1 million in cap space.

DePaola certainly is one of the best long snappers in the NFL (as suggested by his back-to-back Pro Bowl selections and first-team All-Pro selection in 2022), and the Vikings likely won’t look to cut him outright. However, perhaps retirement could be in the cards for the veteran, and thus, the “out” in the deal could be an opportunity to do that.

If DePaola were to decide to end his professional career after a decade, the Vikings would have to find a replacement option for him this offseason. For now, though, this remains mere speculation and is simply something to keep an eye on this offseason.

Feb 4, 2023; Paradise, NV, USA; NFC long snapper Andrew DePaola of the Minnesota Vikings (42) during practice at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Finally, we have to mention the punter here as well. Ryan Wright was one of the best punters in the league during the 2022 season, but his production saw a bit of a drop off in 2023. Wright landed 32 of his 73 punts inside the 20-yard-line in 2022 and had just a single touchback.

2023, however, saw Wright boot just 17 of his 59 punts inside the 20 (a drop of 15%), and he had seven punts result as touchbacks. Of course, there could be a couple different reasons for this, but Wright certainly wasn’t as effective this past season. Don’t be surprised if Minnesota opts to bring in some punting competition this spring.

Overall, the special teams trio of kicker, long snapper, and punter is a group that often goes overlooked in the roster construction phase, but they do play a large role in the overall success of a football team. The Vikings could have to make a couple big decisions in that department this spring.

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 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.