One Vikings Free Agency Acquisition Has Kevin O’Connell Very Excited

Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell reacts after the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2024 NFL season saw a lot of change occur for the Minnesota Vikings.

Obviously, they lost a number of free agents from a year ago, but they’ve also brought in a number of new players to replace them. One of the Vikings free agency acquisitions that Kevin O’Connell seems particularly excited about is the team’s new running back, Aaron Jones.

The Vikings Free Agency Acquisition Who Excites Kevin O’Connell

Vikings Free Agency
Oct 29, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) tackles Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) during their football game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

O’Connell stood at the podium for a press conference earlier this week, and during that time, he shared some very high praise for one of the newest Vikings.

“[We’re] pretty darn excited to have Aaron [be] part of our team,” O’Connell said. “We’ve felt, from the opposite sideline, his impact on games. I just know what he’s been a part of as an offensive weapon in the run game and also the pass game is something that has always drawn me to him. Then you’ll learn more about him, you meet him, the toughness, the intangibles. He’s got that building-changer-type quality to him.”

Of course, the Vikings are going to need to improve their running game in 2024 after they were one of the worst offenses in the NFL in that department last season. They finished with the following rankings in 2023:

  • Carries: 393 (28th)
  • Rushing Yards: 1553 (29th)
  • Yards per Carry: 4.0 (23rd)
  • Rushing TDs: 7 (Tied-last)
  • PFF Grade: 75.2 (24th)
January 20, 2024; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) celebrates after a two point conversion against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in a 2024 NFC divisional round game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The hope is Jones can help in that department, and throughout his career, he has been one of the more efficient running backs in the NFL when healthy. The running back spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers, so the Vikings are very familiar with what he is capable of as a player.

Over his seven seasons, Jones has amassed 1177 carries for 5940 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and 45 touchdowns in the running game while adding 272 receptions for 2072 yards and 18 TDs as a receiver.

Of course, there is a bit an injury concern with Jones seeing as he missed six games during the 2023 season. Regardless, the 29-year-old looked like his old self down the stretch of the regular season and was a major force behind Green Bay’s run to the playoffs.

Over the final three games, Jones recorded 63 carries for 358 yards (average of 5.68 yards per carry) while also catching seven passes for an additional 48 receiving yards. The Packers won all three of those games to make the playoffs.

Jan 14, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones (33) reacts against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half for the 2024 NFC wild card game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the Vikings will be hoping that Jones can bring that same playmaking ability to their backfield.

Jones will turn 30 years old in December.

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.