6 Vikings Who Vanished for Good

A handful of football players unceremoniously leave a football team each year and never really return anywhere else. Such players don’t explicitly retire, nor do they join other teams or practice squads.

The 2021 Minnesota Vikings, the final rendition of the team led by Mike Zimmer, had six players fitting the criteria. The rest of the roster either stayed with the 2022 Vikings or joined other teams.

6 Vikings Who Vanished for Good

These six didn’t latch onto another team and seemed to vanish.

Bashaud Breeland (CB)

6 Vikings Could Who
Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Bashaud Breeland (21) in action during the game between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

Bashaud Breeland had about the bumpiest ride possibly scriptable for a player in his first year with a team. He didn’t perform very well, but then-head-coach Mike Zimmer insisted on starting him over cornerback Cameron Dantzler.

Breeland also tweeted lewd thoughts at fans whom he perceived booed him. And down the stretch of the 2021 season, he reportedly got into a fight at practice squad, and the Vikings said “toodles.”

He joined the Arizona Cardinals practice squad for their abbreviated 2021 playoff appearance and did not surface in 2022.

Everson Griffen (DE)

Everson Griffen
Sep 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) takes the field prior to a game against the Atlanta Falcons at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Ludeman-USA TODAY Sports.

Absolutely beloved by the Vikings fanbase, Griffen spent 10 years with the Vikings before trying on the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions for size in 2020. Griffen actually played well for both teams but rejoined Minnesota in 2021.

Griffen was the Vikings only source of pass rush after Daniele Hunter tore a pectoral muscle on Halloween night of 2021. But soon after, Griffen left the Vikings to pursue mental health solace and didn’t come back.

He turned 35 about seven weeks ago and may have quietly retired.

Chris Herndon (TE)

Former Vikings TE Suspended for Rest of Season
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Chris Herndon (89) and Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Joe Schobert (93) and cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) in action at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

The splash tight end acquired by Rick Spielman in 2021 after Irv Smith was lost for the season, Herndon was an expensive acquisition — Minnesota sent a 4th-Rounder for the Jets to grab him — who didn’t pan out.

Herndon was targeted just seven times in the Vikings 2021 offense, as Tyler Conklin emerged as TE1. And Conklin later departed for the Jets, which is where Herndon came from in Spielman’s trade.

The Miami alumnus joined the Saints in 2022 but was suspended for eight games after violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. It is unclear if he’ll return to the NFL.

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.

The Vikings lured Richardson with promises of Super Bowl contendership in separate seasons of 2018 and 2021. In both campaigns, Richardson performed adeptly and left the team in free agency after one year.

He seemed like a candidate to join a different team in 2022, but that never panned out. The 34-year-old former Pro Bowler and 2013 Defensive Rookie of the Year kind of vanished from the NFL.

Luke Stocker (TE)

Oct 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans tight end Luke Stocker (85) at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

Stocker played on offense and special teams in 12 Vikings games during the 2021 season. He was not retained by the Kevin O’Connell version of the Vikings, nor did he join another squad at any time in 2022.

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 utilized a smidgen by the Vikings when the aforementioned Hunter was hurt in 2021. He was also a part of the 2019 and 2020 Vikings teams, mainly via the practice squad.

When Zimmer was fired on January 10th, 2022, that signaled the end of Yarbrough because he never rejoined the club. He’s a 29-year-old free agent.

These semi-notable players also “vanished” but landed on a team’s practice squad at some point in 2022:

  • Mackensie Alexander (Dallas Cowboys)
  • Jordan Berry (Pittsburgh Steelers)
  • Rashod Hill (Washington Commanders)
  • Blake Lynch (Arizona Cardinals)
  • Dede Westbrook (Green Bay Packers)

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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.