The 7 Big Events from Vikings Free Agency Day 1

The Minnesota Vikings started the 2023 free agency period with noteworthy movement as the team hopes to hold serve in 2023 on a 13-4 record from head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first season.

Minnesota is a trendy “regression” candidate, with most NFL pundits believing the team’s 2022 success is not repeatable. In fact, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears have better Vegas odds to win the division than the Vikings as of March 13th.

The 7 Big Events from Vikings Free Agency Day 1

About seven significant Vikings-related items transpired Monday, and these are those ranked in ascending order of importance.

7. Cameron Dantzler to WAS

The 7 Big Events
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.

The up-and-down former Vikings cornerback was chosen by the Washington Commanders off the waiver wire. The Commanders pick up Dantzler’s remaining contractual tab, and that’s that for the Dantzler era in Minnesota.

The Vikings now have four CBs on the roster — Kalon Barnes, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, and Tay Gowan. They need more. And Dantzler isn’t coming back anytime soon.

6. Jordan Hicks Restructured

Vikings Retain Veteran
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts after making a stop against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Theorized by many as a possible cap casualty, Hicks will actually return in 2023 unless he suffers a summer roster cut.

The Vikings can still pursue alternative off-ball linebackers in free agency and the NFL draft, but for now, it’s Hicks and second-year defender Brian Asamoah penciled in for 2023 duty.

The formal details of Hicks’ restructure have yet to be announced.

5. Patrick Peterson to PIT

Recommendation for Patrick
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates after defeating the Indianapolis Colts 39-36 in overtime at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Peterson hosts a popular podcast with his cousin and former NFLer Bryant McFadden. Wouldn’t you know it — the Steelers are one of McFadden’s former teams.

The future Hall of Famer said about seven times this offseason that he wanted to return with the Vikings. No cigar. Mike Tomlin welcomes Peterson, and that’s a wrap on the Patrick Peterson era in the Twin Cities.

4. Eric Kendricks to LAC

The PFF Prediction for
Sep 19, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

This one was obvious in hindsight. Kendricks played college ball at UCLA, and former Vikings defensive coach Josh Howard is the Chargers ILB coach. He crossed paths with Kendricks in Minnesota, and now the two reunite.

Kendricks fetched a two-year, $13.25 million deal out in Los Angeles.

3. Dalvin Tomlinson to CLE

Oct 3, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps the most damning news from Monday, Tomlinson heads to StefanskiLand for his career’s third chapter.

All told, Tomlinson was a Viking for two seasons and about as consistent as football players come. The Browns run defense was terrible in 2022, so they signed Tomlinson for four years and $57 million.

That was too rich for the Vikings, who will eat Tomlinson’s $7.5 million dead cap penalty.

2. Vikings Sign TE Josh Oliver from BAL

Do the Unexpected
Sep 18, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Josh Oliver (84) reacts during the game against the Miami Dolphins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Oliver signed with the Vikings early Monday afternoon, and most of Minnesota screamed with vigor, “Why are we signing a tight end?”

Well, real football isn’t designed like fantasy football or Madden, and Oliver is a blocking tight end that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell deem vital in 2023. Oliver landed a three-year, $21 million contract in Minnesota, but the deal is incredibly team-friendly when one pulls back the curtain.

1. Vikings Sign EDGE Marcus Davenport from NO

Jan 2, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) in the second quarter against the Carolina Panthers at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports.

Za’Darius Smith said goodbye to Minnesota last week, the Vikings did absolutely nothing to effectuate Smith’s exit, and Marcus Davenport signed a few days later.

The freakishly-athletic pass rusher is only 26 years old and pairs with Danielle Hunter to formulate the new “EDGE department” in Minnesota. Saints fans often criticized Davenport for durability and consistency, and we shall see if he takes off for the Vikings.

His Pro Football Focus resume is scintillating:

2018 = 71.8
2019 = 84.1
2020 = 73.3
2021 = 88.8
2022 = 76.8

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