These 7 Vikings Free Agents Remain Unsigned

The Minnesota Vikings began free agency with 20 men ready to hit the open market (dating back to February when the franchise re-signed Khyris Tonga and Blake Brandel).

Some joined other clubs — Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), and Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns) — and 11 men have been re-signed.

These 7 Vikings Free Agents Remain Unsigned

Here’s who’s left, either to re-join the Vikings or find their next home for NFL employment:

1. Kris Boyd (CB)

these 7 Vikings
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.

A member of the Vikings for four years so far, Boyd seems like a candidate to return before the offseason is all said and done, especially for his fancy special teams contributions.

But, as of March 17th, it’s been crickets on Boyd’s free agency. The man is 26 years old and should sign somewhere soon.

Boyd played 82% of all Vikings special teams plays in 2022. Assuming he’ll return in purple is relatively safe.

2. Jonathan Bullard (DL)

Vikings Designate Defensive
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jonathan Bullard (93) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Bullard joined the Vikings last offseason and somehow clawed his way up the depth chart as a starter for most of 2022 before injuries arose. But like a long list of Vikings defensive tackles since the early-round draft capital used on Sharrif Floyd in 2013, Bullard felt like a placeholder at DT.

Then, the Vikings signed Dean Lowry from the Green Bay Packers, perhaps ending the brief Bullard era in Minnesota.

3. 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.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport¬†tweeted Thursday, “Former Vikings WR Bisi Johnson is flying in to visit the Patriots today, source said. A young WR with upside, he missed all of last season with an injury.”

Johnson has missed back-to-back seasons with ACL tears in both knees — a bummer, to be sure — and likely isn’t a priority for the Vikings front office to re-sign.

He hasn’t signed a deal with the aforementioned Patriots yet, but we shall see.

4. Duke Shelley (CB)

1 Vikings Free Agent Wants to Come Back
Minnesota Vikings cornerback Duke Shelley (20) signals an incompletion after breaking up a pass intended for Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (9) on Sunday, January 1, 2023, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

The one fans are pounding the table for — loudly.

Shelley was the NFL’s fourth-best cornerback in 2022, according to Pro Football Focus, so why on earth won’t the team re-sign him to an affordable deal? That’s the question asked by oodles of Vikings fans at the moment.

Minnesota’s CB room isn’t exactly gangbusters, meaning a Shelley reunion makes all the sense in the world. Shelley tweeted this Friday:

That doesn’t really scream “Vikings reunion.”

5. Irv Smith (TE)

Vikings Activate Rookie and Could Get TE Back
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (84) during the first half of the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Smith was supposed to “break out” for the Vikings in about four different years, and it just never happened. Thereafter, per Spotrac, the Alabama alumnus was theorized to fetch $10 million per season on his next contract.

That hasn’t happened, either.

Some team will audition Smith for 2023, but it won’t be the Vikings, a team with five tight ends on roster.

6. 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.

The guy deprived of two fumble return touchdowns in the same game last year remains a free agent. Sullivan had an up-and-down season in 2022 and might not be essential to re-sign in a Brian Flores-led defense. It probably would’ve happened by now.

Sullivan told reporters on March 8th about possibly embarking on Year Two in Minnesota, “Of course. I love the city. I love the team, the fans. So we’ll just see what happens. I understand it’s a business.”

7. Adam Thielen (WR)

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at Cleveland Browns
Oct 29, 2017; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates after scoring on an 18-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns during an NFL International Series game at Twickenham Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The beloved ex-Viking is taking his time, weighing his options — you know the drill. He met with the Carolina Panthers a few days ago but didn’t leave with a contract.

Watch contending teams like the Kansas City Chiefs or Buffalo Bills for Thielen’s next stop. Even the Cleveland Browns make sense with Thielen’s ties to Kevin Stefanski.

On the list, Thielen and Irv Smith are likely the two players who are “for sure” not coming back.


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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