Vikings Should Show Interest in New Free Agent for Full Circle Moment

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At 6-5, the Vikings are in a comfortable lead for the final NFC wild card with a chance to upset the Lions late in the season in a couple of head-to-head matchups. For that reason, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might be willing to add some more talent to the roster to help the playoff push. The purple team is reportedly interested in signing former Colts linebacker Shaq Leonard.

Vikings Should Show Interest in New Free Agent for Full Circle Moment

But Leonard isn’t the only high-profile defender who was released this week. The Philadelphia Eagles parted ways with their former first-round selection, Derek Barnett. Once he clears waivers, he is free to sign with anyone.

Vikings Should Show Interest in New Free Agent for Full Circle Moment
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That should be interesting for the Vikings for two reasons. Barnett could help replace Marcus Davenport, who continues his stint on IR with an ankle injury. Backups D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones have an increased workload during his absence and have quietly done a decent job. However, Barnett is unquestionably a superior player and would help Danielle Hunter and Brian Flores solidify their front.

A longtime contributor for the Eagles, Barnett dropped down the depth chart with the various acquisitions on the defensive line in recent drafts and free agency periods. Just this year, the Eagles drafted Nolan Smith out of Georgia in the first round.

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Barnett played in eight games in 2023 and logged 99 snaps on defense. He has failed to make a major impact in his declining role. However, the Vikings don’t employ a plethora of edge rushers like the Eagles, whose defense also features Haason Redick, Josh Sweat, and veteran Brandon Graham. In Minnesota, he would immediately take over a meaningful role in the rotation. His dip in snaps comes one year after suffering a torn ACL in the season opener.

Signing the veteran would be an interesting story, as he was drafted with an original pick from the Vikings. The Eagles received the pick in the Sam Bradford trade. Rick Spielman was desperate to find a competent quarterback after his starter, Teddy Bridgewater, suffered his knee injury a week before the season opener.

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Bradford was available as the Eagles had just drafted Carson Wentz. The former first-overall pick threw for 20 touchdowns and only five interceptions in 15 starts and completed a then-NFL record 71.6% of the passes. A big problem was the horrendous offensive line, resulting in a dip-and-dunk offense.

In his second season under center, Bradford had an improved offensive line, but a knee injury kept him out after lighting up the Saints in Week 1 for three scores and a passer rating of 143.0. Case Keenum stepped in and guided the Vikings all the way to the NFC Championship game, including the Minneapolis Miracle. Both players left in the following free agency period, and Kirk Cousins joined the purple team.

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In the 2017 draft, the Vikings were without their first-rounder and made the first selection in the second round, drafting Dalvin Cook. Barnett played 73 games for the Eagles and made 21.5 sacks and 150 tackles. His most memorable play came in the Super Bowl win in U.S. Bank Stadium when he recovered Tom Brady’s fumble to clinch the game.

As the Vikings are in playoff contention, adding more talent on the defensive line and some veteran presence certainly makes sense.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt