Where Departed Vikings Free Agents Went

Where Departed Vikings Free Agents Went
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Six Minnesota Vikings agents scattered this offseason, and about 10 others remained unsigned on the open market.

The franchise opted for a new general manager this year, hiring Kwesi Adofo-Mensah away from the Cleveland Browns to lead the enterprise. He prioritized the re-signing of quarterback Kirk Cousins, let Danielle Hunter’s contract stay as-is, and signed new players like Za’Darius Smith, Harrison Phillips, Jordan Hicks, Chandon Sullivan, Jesse Davis, Chris Reed, and Johnny Mundt, among others.

These are the 2021 Vikings players who found new NFL homes.

Note: Mackensie Alexander, Anthony Barr, Wayne Gallman, Everson Griffen, Rashod Hill, Chris Herndon, Sheldon Richardson, Jordon Scott, Dede Westbrook, and Eddie Yarbrough have yet to sign with new teams.

Chad Beebe (WR) — Houston Texans

Chad Beebe
Chad Beebe. © Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Contract = 1-Year, $1.035 Million

A little engine that could for the Vikings, Beebe will now try the Texans on for size. Houston has oodles of wide receivers on the summer depth chart, so Beebe will fight to make the 53-man roster.

Beebe was loved by many fans, possessing a mini-Thielen vibe and NFL lineage with his father, Don Beebe. He missed all of the 2021 season due to injury and was not a priority by Kevin O’Connell and Co. to re-sign — evidently.

All told, Beebe had 310 receiving yards in three seasons with the Vikings.

Tashawn Bower (EDGE) — Las Vegas Raiders

Aug 19, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New England Patriots defensive end Tashawn Bower. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Contract = 1-Year, $1.035 Million

Bower played 97 snaps in three seasons with Mike Zimmer’s Vikings. He was a player the team pivoted to when injuries hit — like a safeguard.

He never made an impact with Minnesota and, like Beebe, will try valiantly to snag a regular season roster spot with the Raiders.

Bower is arguably most famous for attending LSU.

Mason Cole (C) — Pittsburgh Steelers

Mason Cole
Mason Cole

Contract = 3-Year, $15.75 Million

If Garrett Bradbury struggles with pass protection again — and the team doesn’t sign free-agent JC Tretter — the Vikings might regret this one.

Cole fired up a 69.7 grade from Pro Football Focus last year, a heavenly score by Vikings offensive line standards. In March, Cole cashed in a rather lucrative deal with the Steelers, where he’ll likely thrive because, well, they’re the Steelers.

Tyler Conklin (TE) — New York Jets

Don't Forget about Other Side of the Ball for Vikings Draft
Tyler Conklin

Contract = 3-Year, $20.25 Million

Probably the most noteworthy departure, Conklin was unbelievably productive given the circumstances in 2021. He performed like a true-blue TE1, enough for the Jets to sign on the dotted line for $6+ million per season.

He’ll encounter a crowded house in New York for tight ends, competing against C.J. Uzomah and rookie Jeremy Ruckert. But as the 2021 season showed, if lady-killer Zach Wilson throws the ball anywhere in the vicinity of Conklin, he’ll snatch it.

Xavier Woods (S) — Carolina Panthers

Xavier Woods
Sep 29, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; Dallas Cowboys free safety Xavier Woods. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Contract = 3-Year, $15.75 Million

The 2021 version of Xavier Woods was hot and cold. He wound up with a 66.4 grade from PFF, showcasing a knack for run defense more so than pass coverage.

In Carolina, Woods enters the Baker Mayfield circus after the Panthers traded a fifth-round pick to Cleveland for the passer earlier this week.

And last year, the Panthers defense was damn good. The forecast for this year, though, is mixed among NFL pundits.

Nick Vigil (LB) — Arizona Cardinals

Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Nick Vigil. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Contract = 1-Year, $1.77 Million

Vigil had his best game as a Viking against the Cardinals in 2021 — and now he’ll join them.

When the Vikings signed Jordan Hicks, all linebacker discussions — and perhaps even Anthony Barr’s Vikings career — ended. Eric Kendricks and Hicks will fill the starting linebacking jobs in 2022, with rookie Brian Asamoah presumably mopping up the rest of the LB work.

According to PFF, Vigil was the league’s 13th-worst linebacker last year.

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).