Randball
See more of the story

The Vikings have one more week of Organized Team Activities — the abbreviation OTAs sounds so much better and less like structured time at a preschool — before taking off for a month-plus until the start of training camp in late July.

Last week was a busy one with the Justin Jefferson extension combined with a mandatory minicamp that gave us a better look at depth charts and how things might shake out in the fall.

On an episode of the Access Vikings podcast last week, I opined that if the Vikings are being honest about 2024, they probably view it more as a building season instead of part of a true window to contend.

Over-under betting odds seem to agree, putting the Vikings right around the same seven wins they had a season ago, albeit in a year with a different feel.

But my sentiment that "they don't really care if they win this year" gained some traction on social media, and this feels like a good space to explain the nuance of what I was trying to express.

First: Of course they want to win this year. Every player does. Every team does. They aren't simply going through the motions and trying to fast-forward to better times ahead. These are competitors at the highest level, with pride, career longevity and earnings tied up in their individual and team performance.

To me, though, this year is mostly about establishing a new upward trajectory than trying to do everything possible to squeeze victories out of this roster.

If they wanted to win between eight and 11 games this year, they would have found a way to keep Kirk Cousins instead of signing Sam Darnold and drafting J.J. McCarthy.

They might still win that many games this year, particularly if their offseason defensive and ball control additions allow them to grind out some victories, but what they really want to do is have a team starting in 2025 that is capable of winning between 11 and 14 games for multiple seasons — and ultimately could win the elusive Super Bowl that Patrick Reusse and I talked about on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.

Next season is when they will have copious amounts of cap space with Cousins' dead money and other deals off the books. That's when McCarthy will be in the second season of his inexpensive first contract and should have the requisite seasoning needed to be the no-doubt starter in Week 1.

Being a playoff team this season would be a bonus. Missing the playoffs while still hitting other developmental targets and having another reasonably high draft pick would be just fine, too.