One Popular Vikings Offseason Idea Dies

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The Minnesota Vikings offseason has about eight weeks in the books, with free agency arriving in six days and the 2024 NFL Draft on April 25th.

One Popular Vikings Offseason Idea Dies

Theories about the purple team’s plans are plentiful, from quarterback to EDGE rusher to running back and even kicker.

Vikings Offseason
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And in February, Vikings fans, nearly in unison, collectively agreed that Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. would look good in purple, and at the time, the former Minnesota Golden Gopher was scheduled to hit the open market.

Now, that won’t happen.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted Tuesday, six days before the start of free agency, “Buccaneers officially are placing their franchise tag on S Antoine Winfield Jr., but really as a placeholder until the two sides can hammer out a long-term deal that they continue to work on and want to get done, per sources.”

Target in Free
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That basically means Winfield Jr. is close to a lock concerning his Buccaneers future; Tampa Bay doesn’t want him to leave, and both parties will pursue a long-term contract.

Outwardly, the Vikings don’t need another safety — Harrison Smith, Josh Metellus, Camryn Bynum, Jay Ward, Theo Jackson, and Lewis Cine are under contract in 2024. However, Smith, a Vikings legend, could retire or be released this offseason, so the working theory from Vikings faithful was that Winfield should swoop in for the Smith afterlife.

Winfield Jr. was considered the NFL’s second-best safety in 2023, according to Pro Football Focus, trailing Jesse Bates by 0.1 per PFF’s grading system. When he didn’t receive Pro Bowl attention earlier this month, his father, Antoine Winfield Sr, a former Viking, actually protested quite loudly.

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He posted to social media after voting was announced, “WE DEMAND A RECOUNT. NFL — somebody has some explaining to do!!! Ain’t NO WAY in HELL Buddha Baker goes to the Pro Bowl ahead of My lil man with NO STATS. I know how important Pro Bowls are on the Resume; it just so happens to be his Contract year. We ain’t going for the Bullshit. Somebody Need to Holla at me.”

Winfield Jr. was later named a First-Team All-Pro.

Criticism Most Often
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The Buccaneer tabulated 122 total tackles in 2023 with 8 QB hits, a league-leading 6 forced fumbles, 6 sacks, and 6 tackles for loss. He also snatched 3 interceptions from the heavens.

Unless something changes drastically, in addition to Smith’s possible departure, Minnesota should be set at safety with Metellus, Bynum, Cine, and Ward. The club also re-signed safety Theo Jackson in February.

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