Only 3 Vikings from Last Year’s Team Remain Jobless

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.

Former Minnesota Vikings cornerback Kris Boyd joined the Arizona Cardinals Monday after four seasons with the club. He’ll reunite with a handful of ex-Vikings defensive coaches from the Mike Zimmer era, led by Cardinals skipper Jonathan Gannon.

Through April 10th, these former Vikings players have trekked elsewhere:

  • Kris Boyd, CB (ARI)
  • Cameron Dantzler, CB (WAS)
  • Eric Kendricks, ILB (LAC)
  • Patrick Peterson, CB (PIT)
  • Duke Shelley, CB (LV)
  • Irv Smith, TE (CIN)
  • Adam Thielen, WR (CAR)
  • Dalvin Tomlinson, DT (CLE)

And these players re-signed in Minnesota:

  • Garrett Bradbury, C
  • Blake Brandel, OT
  • Jonathan Bullard, DT
  • Andrew DePaolo, LS
  • Ben Ellefson, TE
  • C.J. Ham, FB
  • Greg Joseph, K
  • Alexander Mattison, RB
  • Nick Mullens, QB
  • Austin Schlottmann, C
  • Khyiris Tonga, DT
  • Oli Udoh, OT
  • Kenny Willekes, DL

Only 3 Vikings from Last Year’s Team Remain Jobless

These are the three players left who can sign with another team or return to the Vikings.

1. Thomas Hennigan (WR)

Only 3 Vikings from Last
Dec 4, 2021; Lafayette, LA, USA; Appalachian State Mountaineers wide receiver Thomas Hennigan (5) celebrates during the fourth quarter of the Sun Belt Conference championship game against the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Wevers-USA TODAY Sports.

If you’re wondering, “Who is that?” — fair enough. Hennigan has never played a regular season snap for the Vikings, joining the club last year via undrafted free agency.

The Appalachian State alumnus impressed in college, tallying 242 receptions for 3,124 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns in five years. Hennigan was also an experienced special teams contributor, so if he were going to make the Vikings active roster at any time, that would’ve been the likely reason. Hennigan also set an FBS record of 65 games started as a Mountaineer.

Hennigan was injured last summer and later became a practice squad member.

Hennigan, a 6’1″ 210-pounder, is still young enough to catch on elsewhere around the league, especially with the special teams toolkit. Too, he could be back with the Vikings heading into the summer when the roster expands to 90 players.

2. Bisi Johnson (WR)

Heading to Patriots
Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Bisi Johnson (81) after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings discovered this Colorado State alumnus in the 7th Round of the 2019 NF Draft. He nibbled at WR3 duty in his first two years but tore ACLs in back-to-back seasons (2021 and 2022).

Earlier this offseason, Johnson met with the New England Patriots about a free-agent relationship, but nothing came together. Johnson tabulated 45 catches for 483 yards and 3 touchdowns during the 2019 and 2020 seasons while manning WR3-WR4 duty.

The Vikings have plenty of WRs at the moment, so a Johnson reunion is a maybe.

3. Chandon Sullivan (CB)

The NFL Had the Gall to Fine Chandon Sullivan
Jul 28, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chandon Sullivan (39) during training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Minnesota does not have cornerback depth akin to the wide receiver group. But outside of two would-be fumble return touchdowns in 2022, Sullivan wasn’t an upper-echelon performer. That’s likely why the Vikings haven’t prioritized his re-signing.

The Vikings said goodbye to the aforementioned Boyd, Cameron Dantzler (Commanders), Patrick Peterson (Steelers), and Duke Shelley (Raiders) this offseason while adding Byron Murphy from the Arizona Cardinals and evidently showcasing grand plans from last year’s rookies, Andrew Booth and Akayleb Evans.

Of the free remaining unsigned free agents, Sullivan is the most likely to return with the 2023 Vikings.

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).

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