The Browns Now Employ 4 Well-Known Former Vikings

Za’Darius Smith Breaking Packers Hearts
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

On March 9th, former Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith tweeted, “I just want to say ‘Thank you!’ to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience! Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization! ?.”

Smith’s wish was granted sixty-four days later, joining the Cleveland Browns via trade. The Vikings received two 5th-Round draft picks while also sending a 6th- and 7th-Rounder to Cleveland in the swap.

The Browns Now Employ 4 Well-Known Former Vikings

The Browns employ a longtime Vikings coach in Kevin Stefanski, and Minnesota swiped its current general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah from Cleveland. And on top of Smith and Stefanski, the Browns employ two other well-known ex-Vikings — Dalvin Tomlinson and Kellen Mond.

The Browns Now Employ
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

So, if you’re keeping score at home, this is the running tally:

  • Kellen Mond (QB)
  • Za’Darius Smith (EDGE)
  • Kevin Stefanski (HC)
  • Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)

Stefanski worked for the Vikings from 2006 to 2019, a whopping 14 seasons. He peaked in Minnesota as Mike Zimmer’s offensive coordinator in 2019 before taking the big job in Cleveland the following season. On his watch, the Browns are 26-24 (.520) in three seasons, good enough for the 17th-best record in football.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports.

Mond was supposed to become the next big thing in Minnesota if Kirk Cousins left. However, the Texas A&M alumnus lasted one year with the Vikings, not fully embraced by Zimmer’s coaching staff as a rookie and then outright cut by Kevin O’Connell’s staff last August. For now, in Cleveland, Mond is listed as the team’s QB4 behind Deshaun Watson, Josh Dobbs, and rookie Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Smith is the latest addition, forming a brutal pass-rushing duo for Stefanski’s Browns, partnering with Myles Garrett on the defensive line’s edges. For a single season, Smith performed wonderfully as a Viking, especially in Weeks 1 through 10.

Outcry over
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps the most significant loss of the Vikings this offseason, Tomlinson vamoosed to Cleveland thanks to a sizable four-year, $57 million contract. The Vikings could not afford that on the 2023 books, so Tomlinson joined his third team in seven years, starting with the New York Giants on a rookie deal, the Vikings, and now the Browns.

Cleveland experienced a blah 2022 campaign, finishing 7-10 and on the outside looking in the playoff tournament. But it knew the underwater record was inevitable. New quarterback Deshaun Watson was suspended for most of the 2022 season and was rusty upon his return. The Browns ranked 8th in offensive DVOA with Jacoby Brissett at the helm and 23rd in defensive DVOA.

In addition to VikingsMania in Cleveland, the Browns notably added Cedric Tillman (WR), Siaki Ika (DT), and Dawand Jones (OT) in last month’s draft.

The Vikings play the Browns again in 2025.


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.

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