The 4 Vikings Defensive Starters Facing Contract Year(s) 

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The Minnesota Vikings’ regular season kicks off in 62 days with a date in New Jersey against the New York Giants.

The 4 Vikings Defensive Starters Facing Contract Year(s) 

The 2023 Vikings ended up with a 7-10 record following a quarterback carousel that turned out to be Kirk Cousins’ last season in purple.

Meanwhile, several Vikings players — over 35 — will be free agents next March, and these are four defensive starters facing contract seasons. Players who just signed (Shaquill Griffin, for example) were excluded. The players are listed in alphabetical order.

1. Camryn Bynum (S)

Contract Extension
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Bynum’s presence on this list could be nonexistent by the end of the summer. Minnesota might extend his deal before Week 1, as his rookie deal expires after the 2024 campaign.

After one year of utilization in Brian Flores’ defense, Bynum ranked as one of the NFL’s best safeties per Pro Football Focus, checking it at No. 22 among counterparts at his position. He should command a decent contract extension before too long, but if not, 2024 is the last hurrah in Minnesota for Bynum.

2. Byron Murphy (CB)

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This one could be merely in spirit, as Murphy wants to return in 2025. He told KSTP’s Darren Wolfson four weeks ago, “I gotta say, since I’ve been here since day one, I fell in love, so I don’t want to go nowhere. I want to stay here for the rest of my career. So I’m gonna try to work my ass off to stay here for sure.”

Otherwise, Murphy signed a two-year deal in 2023, making 2024 the final season in Minnesota, at least on paper.

3. Harrison Phillips (DT)

Is London Calling
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Phillips came aboard at the dawn of the Kevin O’Connell era, and this season is the final of a three-year deal. A wonderful teammate, human being, and football player, Phillips has helped hold down the guts of Minnesota’s defensive line for two years running.

He turned 28 in January and will likely be re-upped this summer or next offseason. However, if none of that occurs, he’d hit open the open market next March.

4. Harrison Smith (S)

The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 14
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Smith is 35 years old, and based on his hard-hitting playing style, it’s a splendor that he’s still playing and at a relatively high level.

Any season, though, could be his last. His actions have proved he wishes to remain a Viking for life. So, unlike others on this list, Smith’s “final season” chatter isn’t about free agency; it’s about retirement. The end is near for Smith, even though he made it a no-brainer to return for 2024.

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 MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Basset Hounds, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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