The Vikings 3 Worst Offseason Moves | 2023

Vikings Had 1 Pretty Ruthless Gaffe at Lambeau
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Six newcomer free agents joined the Minnesota Vikings this offseason — Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals), Dean Lowry (DT, Packers), Brandon Powell (WR, Rams), and Troy Reeder (LB, Chargers).

Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), Irv Smith (TE, Bengals), and Kris Boyd (CB, Cardinals) left for new beginnings.

The Vikings 3 Worst Offseason Moves | 2023

The offseason still has a few months to go, so the team isn’t quite a finished product. Yet, to date, a few things could’ve been handled differently. These are the Vikings three worst offseason moves so far, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = worst).

3. Not Signing D.J. Chark or Darius Slayton

WR Target Is off
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The Vikings could just knock the draft out of the park and draft a WR like Jaxon Smith-Njigba or Jordan Addison — and then all sins are forgiven.

For now, though, they’re “forcing themselves” to find a WR2 if they’re not sold on K.J. Osborn for the job. Head coach Kevin O’Connell indeed might be enamored with Osborn — nobody knows.

Regardless, D.J. Chark was available for $5 million per season, and Darius Slayton fetched $6 million. These were not crazy contracts. Minnesota could’ve hedged the bet on the draft or Osborn’s 2023 ceiling by getting into bed for cheap with a free-agent WR2.

They did not.

2. Letting Duke Shelley Walk for $1.3M

Vikings Really Dropped
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Duke Shelley was the NFL’s fourth-best CB in 2022 per Pro Football Focus — a development no one anywhere foresaw. The guy was an utter baller and helped salvage an otherwise stinky secondary.

During the first wave of free agency, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah curiously didn’t re-sign Shelley, leading folks to believe the defender desired a fat contract. Well, that was false. He ultimately landed $1.3 million for one year with the Las Vegas Raiders, an incredibly small number for the NFL.

Of course, Shelley could show up to Sin City and revert to an anonymously average defender. Yet, at the $1.3 million, Shelley deserves to find his verdict — either way — with the Vikings. The risk was low.

In the end, Shelley’s storybook season lasted just one year with the Vikings. The team could’ve found out for relative pennies if the 2022 season was the real deal from Shelley. Didn’t happen.

Oh, by the way — the Vikings need cornerbacks. More on that now.

1. Not Prioritizing CB

3 Worst Offseason
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These are Minnesota’s CBs as of April 15th:

CB1: Byron Murphy
CB2: Andrew Booth
CB3: Akayleb Evans
CB4: Tay Gowan
CB5: Kalon Barnes

That group would probably be devoured if the Vikings played the Kansas City Chiefs tonight — a team they play sometime in the 2023 season. Current free-agent CBs like Shaquill Griffin, Rock Ya-Sin, and Marcus Peters, among others, are waiting to find new teams right now on the free-agent wire.

No playoff-contending football team can skimp at cornerback in the pass-happy NFL. The Vikings are skimping at cornerback, with the NFL draft 12 days away.

An optimistic Vikings fan must trust the draft is stuffed to the gills with startable corners and that Minnesota chooses one or two early in the event.

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