Vikings Hit 2 Weeks of Radio Silence

Vikings Hit 2 Weeks of Radio Silence

The Minnesota Vikings offseason was humming along, adding Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals), Dean Lowry (DT, Packers), Brandon Powell (WR, Rams), and Troy Reeder (LB, Chargers) as free-agent newcomers.

Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), and Irv Smith (TE, Bengals) left the club.

Vikings Hit 2 Weeks of Radio Silence

Then, on March 24th, Minnesota extended fullback C.J. Ham for two more seasons, a somewhat unforeseen move as Ham was rarely used on offense in 2022, unlike the Mike Zimmer era.

But then that was it.

The Vikings 2022 Offense by the Numbers: After Week 15
Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

Friday, April 7th, 2023, marks two weeks since the last notable Vikings offseason moves, outside of non-Vikings-sanctioned mock-draft smoke and such. In the meantime, the online community has decided QB Hendon Hooker from Tennessee belongs on the Vikings via Round 1 draft pick or that Minnesota should explore a trade for Lamar Jackson.

The team has added no new free agents, no players have been released, and no trades have occurred. It’s one long embargo.

Trade for Vikings in
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

And it’s not quite the Vikings roster is ready to roll or stuffed to the gills with depth. Cornerback is a large concern, with Byron Murphy, Andrew Booth, and Akayleb Evans as the only starting options in early April. The club needs more CBs to be considered a serious Super Bowl contender.

Mystery looms about WR2, too. K.J. Osborn might be on deck as the undisputed second receiver next to Justin Jefferson, but until the Vikings put together a draft class or sign Odell Beckham, Osborn is a maybe at WR2. The Vikings own the 23rd overall pick in the draft, a spot where it could pluck WRs Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Quentin Johnston (TCU), Zay Flowers (Boston College), and Jordan Addison (USC).

Looming Departure
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

There’s also the matter of Minnesota’s salary cap. Per Over The Cap, the Vikings rank dead last leaguewide in cap space, so onboarding free agents — or even the incoming draft class — isn’t feasible at the moment. Brian O’Neill’s contract can be restructured and save $10 million on the 2023 books, and after that, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah would have to pursue trades.

That’s where Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith enter the chat. Cook has been involved in the trade rumor mill for about a month and could be dealt before or during the NFL draft. The Vikings re-signed his teammate Alexander Mattison in March, seeming to signal the end of Cook in purple, at least at his current pricetag.

Smith Be Back
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Smith tweeted a farewell to Minnesota and Minnesotans four weeks ago, but then nothing happened. He wasn’t released or traded, and the Vikings signed Marcus Davenport for “Smith’s job” about four days later. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores will either have Danielle Hunter, Davenport, and Smith at his pass-rushing disposal in 2023 — or Smith will be traded, like Cook, before or during the draft.

The Vikings have hit a quiet patch, perhaps best described by Eric Thompson:

Per Donatello, business could pick up as soon as now.


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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