5 Unresolved Vikings Matters Entering FA Week 3

Nov 21, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and running back Dalvin Cook (33) in action during the game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 NFL Draft will arrive in 4.5 weeks, but the Minnesota Vikings have more items to ponder in the meantime.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has watched six veterans depart in free agency, welcomed six newcomers, and re-signed 13 players from the 2022 roster.

5 Unresolved Vikings Matters Entering FA Week 3

These are the happenings to monitor this week, free agency week No. 3.

1. Another Free Agent CB?

5 Unresolved Vikings
Sep 18, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Shaquill Griffin (26) reacts against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports.

These are the Vikings cornerbacks as of March 25th:

  • Byron Murphy
  • Andrew Booth
  • Akayleb Evans
  • Tay Gowan
  • Kalon Barnes

While that group could grow and develop, it’s an insipid fivesome compared to the rest of the NFL, especially for a playoff-contending team. If the Vikings opt not to sign any more prominent cornerbacks in free agency, an early-round draft pick involving a corner is nearly required.

With week No. 3 of free agency afoot, these CBs are available and could add to the Vikings depth:

  • Eli Apple (CIN)
  • Shaquill Griffin (JAX)
  • William Jackson (PIT)
  • Marcus Peters (BAL)
  • Rock Ya-Sin (LV)

2. OBJ — Yes or No?

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) makes a catch for a touchdown against Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) in the first quarter in Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

If Kevin O’Connell wasn’t the coach of the Vikings, envisioning Odell Beckham to the Vikings would be a nothingburger. But O’Connell is the Vikings skipper, and Beckham + O’Connell won a title together in Los Angeles.

Moreover, Minnesota needs a WR2. If they don’t find one in free agency or via trade, much like cornerback above, the club must draft a wide receiver in Round 1. It’s that simple.

This is the Vikings WR room at the moment:

  • WR1: Justin Jefferson
  • WR2: K.J. Osborn
  • WR3: Jalen Nailor
  • WR4: Jalen Reagor
  • WR5: Brandon Powell
  • WR6: Blake Proehl
  • WR7: Trishton Jackson

The group could work — especially with a productive T.J. Hockenson — but why not get richer with Beckham at WR2?

3. Za’Darius Smith Trade?

Smith Be Back
Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (55) looks on during training camp at US Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Seventeen days ago, Za’Darius Smith said buh-bye to the Vikings. He tweeted, “I just want to say ‘Thank you!’ to Skol Nation for an amazing season & experience! Thank you to all of my Teammates, Coaches & the entire Minnesota Vikings Organization! 💜.”

And then nothing happened. Nothing at all.

On March 17th, a portion of Smith’s contract guaranteed against the Vikings 2023 cap. So, he likely isn’t getting released. He’ll either orchestrate a kumbaya with the Vikings or be traded.

A trade would likely happen between now and the end of the 2023 NFL Draft. Smith is still very productive at age 30 and should fetch a respectable draft pick. So, if there is no come-to-Jesus chat with the Vikings, when will he be traded?

4. The Depth Guys

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah who was hired in January 2022 after the club parted ways with Rick Spielman. The Vikings finished 13-4 in Adofo-Mensah’s first season as general manager.

Last year during the third week of free agency, the Vikings added these men:

  • Jesse Davis (OT)
  • Nate Hairston (CB)
  • Patrick Peterson (CB)
  • Chris Reed (OG)
  • Tye Smith (CB)

Two men had an impact on the 2022 season — Peterson and Reed — and Davis was traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers for a draft pick. Outside of adding another CB or WR, free agency is indeed winding down, but just like last year, the franchise still made roster moves from March 27th to April 2nd.

Next week doesn’t have to be quiet, although the bonanza of “legal tampering” and such is over.

5. Dalvin Cook Trade?

The Vikings -- Recipients of Atonement?
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) looks on after the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. With the win, the Minnesota Vikings clinched the NFC North. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings were allegedly talking to the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons about a Dalvin Cook trade a couple of weeks ago, and then all went quiet.

Then, Adofo-Mensah re-signed Alexander Mattison for two more years, dampening the prospect of Cook returning in 2023 with his $14.4 million cap hit.

A Cook trade is probably coming to fruition between now and the end of the draft. He must pass a physical, and the Vikings should get a respectable mid or late-round draft pick for him.

So, for now, it’s a waiting game.

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.