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Fantasy Impact of Aaron Jones Staying in Division, Joining Vikings

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(FTN Fantasy is reacting to all the big fantasy news of the offseason! Follow along in our transaction tracker.)

Aaron Jones‘ unemployment didn’t last long. Barely half a day after the Green Bay Packers cut him loose in the wake of the Josh Jacobs signing, Jones found a new home Tuesday morning, staying in the NFC North and signing with the Minnesota Vikings to a reported one-year, $7 million deal.

 

Jones has averaged 5.05 yards per carry over his seven-year career, and even his 4.6 mark in 2023 that was the second-lowest average of his career was more than acceptable for a running back. On the other hand, Jones played the fewest games of his career, with injuries holding him to 11 games in 2023. There’s still juice for Jones, but the Packers wanted to get younger and reportedly tried to insist Jones take a pay cut to stick around.

In Minnesota, he should immediately step in as the starting running back in a backfield that struggled for most of 2023 until Ty Chandler took over late in the season and popped a bit down the stretch. Jones clearly carries the better resume to Chandler and will get first crack at being a bell cow-ish back. On the other hand, running backs fall off quickly, and Jones only commanded one year and $7 million on the market, so the Vikings aren’t exactly locked in to giving Jones anything like monster work.

In a way, this move resembles one the Vikings were on the other side last offseason, when they let veteran back Dalvin Cook go. Cook landed with the Jets in a high-profile move and did almost nothing in New York, running the ball 67 times for 214 yards and 0 scores in 15 games for the team before being released late in the season. Cook was cut free in Minnesota after four straight Pro Bowl seasons and four straight seasons of at least 1,300 scrimmage yards, so don’t let Cook’s disappearance in 2023 sully the memory of what he had been before joining the Jets.

In other words – Jones still looks like a very good running back, but also he turns 30 this year (he’s almost a year older than Cook), and things fall off quickly. Jones shapes up as a fantasy starter in 2024, but Chandler looks like one of the top handcuffs in fantasy in draft season, and don’t be too surprised if he gets more work in 2024 than we might expect Jones’ backup to get.

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