One Trade Idea, FA Signing, and Extension for Vikings before Training Camp

Training camp is just around the corner, and the players on the Minnesota Vikings roster will get to show why they should make the final 53. Will the Vikings add any new faces to the group before the season starts, and what news of player extensions?

One Trade Idea, FA Signing, and Extension for Vikings before Training Camp

There’s still room to add to the squad, and at least three players need contract extensions. So here are options for one trade, free agent signing, and extension before training camp.

Trade with San Francisco foot DT Javon Kinlaw

Extension for
Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (99) sacks Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kellen Mond (11) as 49ers defensive end Drake Jackson (95) and Vikings guard Olisaemeka Udoh (74) look on during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No, I’m not sending Kirk Cousins to the 49ers. I’m looking to acquire Javon Kinlaw for draft picks. San Francisco moved to sign former Eagles DT Javon Hargrave to a four-year, $84 million deal this offseason. That move was followed by San Francisco declining Kinlaw’s fifth-year option, leading many to believe the former 14th overall pick’s future in the Bay Area is soon to end. The 49ers have indicated they are in no rush to trade their man, but has that been tested with any serious offers?

Kinlaw hasn’t lived up to his high draft stock, with knee injuries seriously hampering his progress. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is garnering a reputation for picking up high-round talent that hasn’t worked out in an attempt to reignite their careers in Minnesota. Jalen Reagor, Ross Blacklock, Marcus Davenport, and Joejuan Williams are the players the Vikings have gambled on so far. Going to the well again for Kinlaw would be a smart move. The Vikings interior offensive line needs more talent.

Sign Free-Agent DE Duwuane Smoot

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot (91) sacks Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the first quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Jaguars held off the Las Vegas Raiders 27-20. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union] Jki 110622 Raiders Jags Cp 57

I’m looking at a similar area of the team for a free-agent acquisition. Duwuane Smoot is a solid, reliable defensive lineman who can offer some pass rush from the interior. Smoot was coming to the end of a good season in a contract year when disaster struck. A non-contact Achilles injury playing on the turf at MetLife Stadium ended his season early, leaving him still looking for a team in mid-July.

Last year Smoot was second on the team in pressures, fourth in quarterback hits, first in sacks, and second in pass-rush win rate. He recorded five sacks in each of the last four seasons, recording 22.5 sacks in that span and often looking like Jacksonville’s most consistent pass-rusher. That would be a welcome addition to the Vikings defense, especially if they can attain him on a cheap “prove it” deal for one year due to the injury concerns.

Extend Danielle Hunter

Feb 4, 2023; Paradise, NV, USA; NFC linebacker Danielle Hunter of the Minnesota Vikings (99) during practice at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

All eyes are on when Justin Jefferson gets his new contract, and to a lesser extent, the same for T.J. Hockenson. There’s no rush for those contracts to be sorted, but the same can’t be said for Danielle Hunter. He will not play for Minnesota on his current contract, and the Vikings defense can’t afford to lose him. He is the only star player still in his prime the Vikings have on that side of the ball. The young secondary will need the Vikings to have an effective pass rush, and Hunter will be critical to that.

Without a new contract, will Hunter even turn up to training camp? He has been absent thus far throughout all the voluntary team activities. A team doesn’t need the distraction of a potential holdout at this time of year. The situation needs to be solved one way or the other, and my preference is the Vikings keep one of their star players.