One Defensive FA Prediction for Vikings Would Excite Fans

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings’ defense markedly improved from 2022 to 2023, courtesy of defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ leadership. It finished 11th per defensive DVOA in 2023, a 13-spot improvement from a 24th ranking in 2022.

One Defensive FA Prediction for Vikings Would Excite Fans

Now, the franchise will spend the next 2+ months improving personnel via free agency and the draft, hoping to get deeper on the depth chart, a subject referenced by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Tuesday at the NFL Combine.

Defensive FA Prediction
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

And according to Pro Football Network, free-agent-to-be Chase Young is just the guy for the assignment. PFN’s Dallas Robinson rattled off free-agency predictions last week, and for Young’s new NFL home, the Vikings got the nod.

“Chase Young was dominant during the first half of the 2023 season, showing why the Washington Commanders made him the second overall pick of the 2020 draft. But he slowed down after being traded to the San Francisco 49ers, and his market value remains unclear,” Robinson wrote about Young to Minnesota.

Chase Young
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Young has accrued a Pro Football Focus grade north of 74.0 in each of the last three seasons and was highly coveted entering the NFL from the 2020 draft. He damn near won a Super Bowl 2.5 weeks ago after a midseason addition to the San Francisco 49ers’ roster.

Robinson added about the Young-Vikings theory, “In the spirit of their ‘competitive rebuild,’ the Vikings have been willing to take chances on younger players, doing so with pass rusher Marcus Davenport and cornerback Byron Murphy Jr. last season. Minnesota may not want to sign Young to a long-term deal. But a one-year pact for a defensive end who’s not yet 25 years old might make sense.”

the Vikings Putting
Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Image Courtesy of @MattAnderson_8 on Twitter.

Young’s early-career malfunction is injury, missing 35% of all career games so far. Accordingly, he won’t be terribly expensive per EDGE-speak on the market, probably expecting a deal between $12-15 million in free agency.

The one reason he may not become a Viking is Adofo-Mensah’s possible skittishness about signing injury-prone pass rushers in back-to-back offseasons. See: Marcus Davenport, mentioned by Robinson.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports.

In January, VikingsTerritory’s Wesley Johnson named Young his splashy free-agent prediction for the Vikings and explained, “Tell me if you’ve heard this story before: Vikings sign DE after an inconsistent, injury-altered season. A year after swinging and missing with then-free agent Marcus Davenport, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah returns to the drawing board with a similar ‘prove it’ deal. Young, who spent most of the season recovering from offseason knee surgery, takes a bag full of cash and looks to reset his market heading into 2025.”

Young will turn 25 in April. The Vikings have roughly $36 million to spend on free agents next month.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by