All the Vikings Free Agents in Limbo

All the Vikings Free Agents in Limbo
Anthony Barr

NFL free agency began three weeks ago, and the Minnesota Vikings notably added Jesse Davis (Dolphins), Jordan Hicks (Cardinals), Harrison Phillips (Bills), Chris Reed (Colts), Za’Darius Smith (Packers), and Chandon Sullivan (Packers).

Departing the franchise were Mason Cole (Steelers), Tyler Conklin (Jets), Dakota Dozier (Bears), Michael Pierce (Ravens), Nick Vigil (Cardinals), and Xavier Woods (Panthers).

These are the players who were a part of the Vikings 2021 roster remaining unsigned as of April 3rd.

Mackensie Alexander (CB)

Aug 24, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander (20) reacts after making a play during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

Alexander started the 2021 campaign somewhat effectively but faded fast down the stretch. Because of that, he is not expected to return with the 2022 Vikings.

116 cornerback qualified for a Pro Football Focus grade in 2021. Alexander ranked 116 out of 116 with a 40.2 grade.

Anthony Barr (LB)

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Anthony Barr (55) directs the defense against the Los Angeles Rams during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Barr’s status in early April is a large mystery. There has been no chatter about the UCLA alumnus — either about rejoining the Vikings or conversing with other teams.

When Kevin O’Connell was hired, he went out of his way to compliment Barr at his introductory press conference, signaling a possible reunion. But that was the extent of the discussion, at least outwardly.

Barr is unlikely to return with the Vikings after the addition of Jordan Hicks from Arizona.

Chad Beebe (WR)

Chad Beebe
Chad Beebe

Beebe was hurt all of 2021 but is a lovable roster piece among fans. Son of former NFLer Don, Chad Beebe caught 26 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns since 2019.

Right now, the Vikings have Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Ihmir-Smith Marsette, and Olabisi Johnson under contract.

Like Alexander, Beebe is a longshot to return this summer.

Wayne Gallman (RB)

Oct 24, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Wayne Gallman (25) warms up prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Gallman was signed by Minnesota in 2021 when the running back room was skimpy due to injuries. He did not have a single rushing attempt.

The Vikings will welcome back Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison, and Kene Nwangwu in 2022. so Gallman is not a hot commodity. The journeyman halfback will land elsewhere as an RB3.

Everson Griffen (DE)

Everson Griffen
Dec 30, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) during a game between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Griffen was marvelous last season before encountering a bout with mental health, which he and the Vikings navigated with grace. He notched five sacks in nine games, keeping the defensive line glued together for a few games when Danielle Hunter was lost of the season.

Yet, the coaches keeping Griffen associated with the Vikings, Mike Zimmer and Andre Patterson, are no longer for the organization.

We predict Griffen eventually signs the New York Giants, where Patterson is the current defensive line coach.

Rashod Hill (OT)

Rashod Hill
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Rashod Hill (69) before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Quietly, this man played 72 games for the Vikings in six seasons. He was a textbook backup offensive tackle.

The problem? When the Vikings would slide Hill into the starting lineup, he wasn’t very good. In theory, Hill could return as a depth tackle, but don’t bet on it.

Sheldon Richardson (DT)

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson (9) warms up on the sidelines against the Kansas City Chiefs before the game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Richardson was versatile in 2021, playing defensive end and defensive tackle after the Hunter injury.

He played for the Vikings in 2018 and 2021 — both ill-fated, mediocre campaigns for the organization that were peppered with high stakes by the team’s ownership and fans.

The 31-year-old will sign with a different team — and maybe even start from time to time.

Dede Westbrook (WR)

Dede Westbrook
Oct 27, 2019; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Dede Westbrook (89) enters the field prior to the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

A decent punt returner for Minnesota last season, Westbrook never really caught on as WR3 or WR4, as was the expectation when he signed in the summer of 2021.

He has ties to Keenan McCardell, the only Vikings coach on Mike Zimmer’s staff to survive the coaching staff turnover to Kevin O’Connell.

There’s a reasonable chance Westbrook returns to the Vikings sometime this summer because of his McCardell ties.

Eddie Yarbrough (DE)

Aug 14, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive end Eddie Yarbrough (77) walks off the field after the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Yarbrough was a Zimmer signing, too. He played for the Vikings in 2020 and 2021 — but not very much. The Wyoming alumnus played 20% of defensive snaps in 2020 and 3% in 2021.

If he rejoins the Vikings, it will be to compete for a reservist EDGE rusher gig.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).