Where’d Everyone Go? 9 Ex-Vikings Landing Spots

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The Minnesota Vikings signed eight new free agents, drafted six rookies, welcomed 15 undrafted free agents — and watched as nine veterans from the 2022 roster departed to new teams.

The franchise will look to follow Kevin O’Connell’s maiden voyage with a playoff trip in 2023 and perhaps a second consecutive NFC North crown.

Where’d Everyone Go? 9 Ex-Vikings Landing Spots

And of the nine men who bolted for new NFL addresses, this is where everybody landed (in alphabetical order).

1. Kris Boyd (CB)

Everyone Go
Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Kris Boyd (29) celebrates during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Arizona Cardinals
New Contract: 1 Year | $1.2 million
Roster Projection:
Backup CB | Special Teamer

Boyd will fight to make the 53-man roster in Arizona and probably end up replicating his Vikings role as a special teamer. He played oodles of snaps on special teams for the 2022 Vikings and was considered a special teams ace. In theory, Boyd could snag a starting cornerback gig in the desert, but it is a longshot.

2. Cameron Dantzler (CB)

Purple Rumor Mill: Dantzler 'Benching,' No Negativity from Coaches, Why They Wanted Suh
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler (3) during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Washington Commanders
New Contract: Still on Rookie Deal
Roster Projection:
Backup Outside CB

Dantlzer’s Commanders trajectory was looking great — until the 2023 NFL Draft. There, the Commanders draft two defensive backs in Round 1 and 2, onboarding Emmanuel Forbes and Jartavius Martin. And Martin is actually a safety but will likely play slot cornerback snaps. Unless Forbes struggles this summer, Dantzler will be a primary reservist CB.

3. Eric Kendricks (LB)

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) looks on prior to the game against the San Francisco 49ers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Los Angeles Chargers
New Contract: 2 Years | $13.2 million
Roster Projection:
Starting Off-Ball Linebacker

Kendricks will continue his starter’s streak in Los Angeles next to Kenneth Murray Jr. in the middle of the Chargers defense. Los Angeles selected Daiyan Henley from the 3rd Round of the draft to develop while Kendricks finishes out his career.

The Vikings will host Kendricks and his lightning bolt team at U.S. Bank Stadium sometime this autumn or winter.

4. Patrick Peterson (CB)

Free Agent Coined
Dec 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates his interception against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
New Contract: 2 Years | $14 million
Roster Projection:
CB1

The Steelers drafted Joey Porter Jr. to run with Peterson in 2023, and there probably isn’t a better teacher in the world for Porter Jr. Peterson should thrive and turn back the clock — again — in Mike Tomlin’s system.

5. Duke Shelley (CB)

Vikings Really Dropped
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) celebrates a defensive pass breakup during the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

New Team: Las Vegas Raiders
New Contract: 1 Year | $1.3 million
Roster Projection:
Starting CB

The Raiders spent no early-round draft capital on cornerbacks, a somewhat surprising development. They waited until Round 4 to draft Jakorian Bennett.

That’s good news for Shelley, who appears poised to start in Las Vegas. And his team will play against the Vikings in Nevada at some point this season.

6. Irv Smith (TE)

Has a New NFL
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (84) in action during the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Cincinnati Bengals
New Contract: 1 Year | $1.7 million
Roster Projection:
TE1

Cincinnati fans are already pounding their chests about an Irv Smith breakout year, a phenomenon Vikings fans will know about because they, too, pounded their chests about an Irv Smith Jr. breakout year for four straight offseasons. The Vikings play at Smith’s Bengals in 2023.

7. Chandon Sullivan (CB)

Oct 16, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan (39) attempts to tackle Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jaylen Waddle (17) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Pittsburgh Steelers
New Contract: 1 Year | $1.2 million
Roster Projection:
Backup Slot CB

Sullivan was the latest former Viking to sign elsewhere, inked by the Steelers during the NFL draft. He’ll reunite with the aforementioned Peterson and fight for a starting slot CB job this summer. If he scores defensive touchdowns in Pittsburgh, hopefully the referees don’t nullify them.

8. Adam Thielen (WR)

End of an Era for Adam
Nov 6, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Lions defeated the Vikings 22-16. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Carolina Panthers
New Contract: 3 Years | $25 million
Roster Projection:
WR1

The Vikings had Thielen envisioned as a WR3 in 2023. He’s played WR2 for the last few years. In Carolina, he’ll be the WR1 to start 2023 with Andy Dalton or Bryce Young flinging the ball his way. The role and target load is precisely what Thielen wanted — a chance to prove he’s still got “it.”

9. Dalvin Tomlinson (DT)

Vikings Lose a Top
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson (94) in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

New Team: Cleveland Browns
New Contract: 4 Years | $57 million
Roster Projection:
Starting DT

Tomlinson returns to a 4-3 defensive system and is on tap to start in 2023. He’s one of the NFL’s best and most balanced defensive tackles, and at $57 million, he has to start. Minnesota will probably miss Tomlinson’s presence most of all free-agent departures.

He just wasn’t worth $14.2 million per season. At least not in a Brian Flores defense.


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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