Oodles of Prominent Former Vikings Are Still Free Agents

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook -USA TODAY Sports.

Either age rapidly caught up with several former Minnesota Vikings players — or the Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer combination had a keen way of extracting talent from players otherwise not coveted by different teams. The solution may reside in the middle.

The 2022 free-agency period is over two months old, and several ex-Vikings — many of them starters — are unemployed as of mid-May. The size of the list is considerable.

Of course, most of the men available are age-related casualties, but the tendency is not down the line. Some players simply haven’t caught on elsewhere, instead experiencing their best days with Zimmer and the purple team.

Here’s the first group — men that were somewhat treasured at times in the Vikings system:

  • Mackensie Alexander (CB)
  • Anthony Barr (LB)
  • Everson Griffen (DE)
  • Linval Joseph (NT)
  • Riley Reiff (OT)
  • Sheldon Richardson (DL)
  • Kyle Rudolph (TE)
  • Xavier Rhodes (CB)
  • Trae Waynes (CB)
Everson Griffen
Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

All of those men started football games for the 2019 Vikings. The two most noteworthy as unsigned are arguably Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes. Barr is only 30 and figured to command some attention in free agency. Yet, he is available to sign anywhere as of May 18th. Barr has been rumored to land with Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.

Rhodes is more mysterious because he actually played quite well for two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts (especially in 2020) after departing Minnesota. Nevertheless, he is unemployed and isn’t too involved in the free-agent rumor mill.

The second tier of former Vikings who remain available doesn’t carry too much shock value, but it is worth mentioning.

  • Chris Herndon (TE)
  • Jerick McKinnon (RB)
  • Ifeadi Odenigbo (DE)
  • Mike Remmers (OL)
  • Shamar Stephen (DT)
  • Latavius Murray (RB)
  • Dede Westbrook (WR)
Dede Westbrook
Dec 29, 2019; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Herndon and Westbrook played for the 2021 team and were evidently “Spielman guys,” as very little chatter has occurred about 2022 reunions.

For Murray, he’s nearing the end of the road. He’s 32, an elderly age for an NFL running back. But the Vikings can thank him for helping to keep the ship afloat during the almost-storybook 2017 campaign.

On the whole, the likelihood of any of the aforementioned 15 players returning to the 2022 Vikings is slim — aside from perhaps Barr, Griffen, or Rudolph. Those three, too, are unlikely to be back, but it also wouldn’t be shocking if new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah welcomed one or some of them back for depth.

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).

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