4 Impending Vikings FAs on Track to Be Re-Signed

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The Minnesota Vikings have six games around the bend in the 2023 regular season and are in full command of reaching the January tournament, so long as they finish the season with a 3-3 record at worst the rest of the way.

4 Impending Vikings FAs on Track to Be Re-Signed

The team’s five-game win burst after Week 5 really worked wonders.

And before you know it, the offseason will hit, and all eyes for the Vikings will turn to roster movement and the draft. These four Vikings players are scheduled for free agency in 3.5 months but are on track to return in 2024. They’re listed alphabetically.

1. Jordan Hicks (ILB)

4 Impending
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Hicks is on injured reserve right now, which is, of course, a bummer, but before the injury, he was feasting on opponents. In 2022, the veteran defender fired up a decent 65.4 Pro Football Focus grade with Ed Donatell at the helm of the Vikings’ defense. Yet, after 10 games with Brian Flores in charge, Hicks’ PFF grade has swayed to 76.7.

He was on pace for a 148-tackle year, has markedly sweetened his pass coverage, and has served as a stalwart in the middle of the field. That’s why Minnesota signed Anthony Barr when Hicks fell injured, hoping to keep the Vikings abruptly good defense on track.

Hicks should return near the end of the season, and until then, Minnesota will hope Barr, Ivan Pace, and Brian Asamoah have the juice to fill his responsibilities.

Then, when the offseason hits, it should be a no-brainer to retain the 31-year-old, especially if Flores doesn’t leave for a head coaching job. Hicks won’t cost too much for a two-year-or-so deal, and he’s proven to be instrumental in 2023.

2. Danielle Hunter (OLB)

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After Danielle Hunter reworked his contract with the Vikings last summer, he told a gallery of reporters, “I want to be a Viking forever.”

Not long after, Hunter showed up to the regular season and totally excelled in his ninth NFL season. He leads the NFL in tackles for loss and ranks second in sacks behind Myles Garrett in Cleveland. He’s also arguably served as the Vikings’ best player in 2023, particularly after Justin Jefferson, who would usually own that title, fell injured in October.

Minnesota had the opportunity to trade Hunter in October when the season was swirling down the toilet and could’ve fetched a 1st- or 2nd-Round draft pick. But Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did no such thing, suggesting Hunter will return in purple for 2024 and beyond.

Of course, it won’t be cheap.

3. Dalton Risner (LG)

Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

The man every Vikings fan clamored for late in the summer, Risner finally signed on the Vikings’ dotted line in September. Then, it took multiple weeks to see action, but after that, Minnesota’s offensive trenches really hit its stride.

Risner’s addition to the offensive line was so ironclad that Adofo-Mensah traded longtime starter Ezra Cleveland to the Jacksonville Jaguars, clearing a path for Risner to start indefinitely.

His contract expires at the end of this season, but based on his ardor for the Vikings — and vice versa — he seems like an affordable shoo-in to re-sign this March.

4. D.J. Wonnum (OLB)

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Wonnum is suddenly a steady starting outside linebacker. He was a worthy reservist commodity during his first few seasons, but that changed through 11 games in 2023.

Newcomer Viking Marcus Davenport has missed most of his first season with the club due to injury, and when he exited with a high ankle sprain, Wonnum transformed into a Davenport-caliber starter. The man is on pace for 9 or 10 sacks, which is more than complementary to Danielle Hunter on the other side of the Vikings’ line.

Wonnum will hit free agency in March and might’ve done enough already in 2023 to convince the Vikings’ front office of a second contract.

Minnesota’s plan could be to re-sign Hunter for megabucks, ink Wonnum for medium-sized bucks, and draft an EDGE defender in April with high-round draft capital.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.