These 4 Vikings from the 2022 Roster Remain Unsigned

Longtime Viking Traded
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; A general overall view as Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands the ball off to running back Dalvin Cook (4) on the NFL shield at midfield in the first quarter during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings said goodbye to several aging veterans this offseason, part of general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s plan to become young, faster, and more affordable via player personnel.

These 4 Vikings from the 2022 Roster Remain Unsigned

Most jettisoned Vikings found new homes, but four players from the 2022 roster remain unsigned as of June 23rd.

These are those men listed in alphabetical order.

1. Dalvin Cook (RB)

from the 2022 Roster
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) celebrates the win against the Indianapolis Colts after the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Following three months of ‘will they or won’t they,’ Dalvin Cook was released on June 9th after six terrific seasons with the Vikings. He’ll latch onto a new team before too long and has hinted he’s in no rush to find his next employer.

Cook had surgery this offseason to heal an ailing shoulder and claims to be in wonderful shape for his seventh NFL season. The Miami Dolphins have twisted in the Cook rumor mill for over three months, so perhaps the veteran tailback ‘goes home’ to Miami.

Otherwise, the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys are oft-mentioned landing spots. By a mile, Cook is the most fascinating free agent unsigned from the 2022 roster.

2. Thomas Hennigan (WR)

Dec 4, 2021; Lafayette, LA, USA; Appalachian State Mountaineers wide receiver Thomas Hennigan (5) is tackled by Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns cornerback Eric Garror (19) during the fourth quarter of the Sun Belt Conference championship game. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports.

In March, the Vikings re-signed DT Jonathan Bullard, and Hennigan was the roster casualty to make room.

The Appalachian State alumnus impressed in college, tallying 242 receptions for 3,124 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in five years. Hennigan was also an experienced special teams contributor, so if he were going to make the Vikings active roster at any time, that would’ve been the likely reason. Hennigan also set an FBS record of 65 games started as a Mountaineer.

Hennigan, a 6’1″ 210-pounder, is still young enough to catch on elsewhere around the league, especially with a special teams toolkit.

He was a Viking for 11 months.

3. Bisi Johnson (WR)

Heading to Patriots
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bisi Johnson (81) after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports.

Remember him?

Terrible injury luck beset Johnson in 2021 and 2022, as the young wide receiver missed both seasons. Then, he wasn’t a priority to re-sign this offseason and remains a free agent.

The Vikings scooped Johnson from the 7th Round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Colorado State alumnus actually seemed promising in two seasons, especially for a 7th-Rounder. Johnson has caught 45 passes for 483 yards and three touchdowns in his career. During the 2019 and 2020 seasons, the Vikings never really preached the utility of a big-name WR3, so Johnson adopted the role as his, to a degree. And after the 2021 torn ACL, the 2022 campaign was supposed to be revival. But that was ruined by an ACL tear in the other knee — truly rotten fate.

He met with the New England Patriots about a 2023 gig during free agency’s opening week, but no contract materialized.

4. Kenny Willekes (EDGE)

Aug 27, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Derrick Gore (40) is tackled by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Kenny Willekes (79) during the second half at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Willekes was waived in May and hasn’t landed anywhere as of late June. He was fruit from the Stefon Diggs trade in 2020, drafted from the 7th Round about a month after Minnesota pulled the trigger on Diggs-to-Bills. The Vikings also gained Justin Jefferson through the transaction — not a bad return.

Playing six games for the Vikings, Willekes experienced action at the middle and end of the 2021 season. He was routinely injured throughout his Vikings tenure, and 2022 was no different. The Michigan State alumnus spent the entire season on injured reserve with a non-publicly-disclosed ailment.

He played 202 defensive snaps in 2021, tallying 18 total tackles, seven quarterback hits, 2.5 sacks, and a 63.1 grade from Pro Football Focus. Next to Cook, Willekes is arguably the most likely man on this list to receive another NFL audition.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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