Vikings One Signing away from Home Run Free Agency

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There’s no other way around it: the Minnesota Vikings’ offseason has involved tremendous change, especially during free agency.

Vikings One Signing away from Home Run Free Agency

Notably, quarterback Kirk Cousins and outside linebacker Danielle Hunter departed, clearing the way for Minnesota to sign 14 new players.

free agency
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These are the additions through 10 days of free agency:

  • Parker Romo (K)
  • Jerry Tillery (DT)
  • Dan Feeney (OG)
  • Aaron Jones (RB)
  • A.J. Green III (CB)
  • Jihad Ward (OLB)
  • Sam Darnold (QB)
  • Shaquill Griffin (CB)
  • Jonah Williams (DL)
  • Trent Sherfield (WR)
  • Blake Cashman (ILB)
  • Kamu Grugier-Hill (ILB)
  • Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB)
  • Jonathan Greenard (OLB)

Quite the list, at least per sheer volume. Well, now the Vikings need one more man: Calais Campbell, a defensive tackle.

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Campbell is 37 and doesn’t have too many seasons left — probably one more. But as Minnesota curiously didn’t make a splash at Campbell’s position during the first week and a half of free agency, he’s the last best hope for an impact DT.

Of course, the purple team would have to convince Campbell that it’s primed to compete for the postseason in 2024. That could be a rough sell with Sam Darnold listed as QB1 on March 20th. Yet, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is expected to trade up in April’s draft for a blue-chip quarterback prospect like Drake Maye or J.J. McCarthy. And the Houston Texans proved last season that a team led by a rookie quarterback can thrive if the youngster is any good. The Vikings’ offense is tailor-made for a passer maturing on the fly.

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Campbell, meanwhile, is a machine that never ages. He was drafted the year after Adrian Peterson — if that can be believed — and is still one of the NFL’s best defensive tackles. Without signing Christian Wilkins, Leonard Williams, or Arik Armstead — like Minnesota opted against — the clock is ticking on adding a keynote interior defensive lineman. It’s Campbell or a player down another tier like Teair Tart.

The probable future Hall of Famer produced an 80.0 Pro Football Focus grade last season — at age 37. He’s a beast. He played 712 defensive snaps for the 2023 Falcons, also known as 63% of the time. That amount would be perfect for Minnesota, a team that has signed Jerry Tillery and Jonah Williams at Campbell’s spot in the last week.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.

Generally speaking, Adofo-Mensah probably won’t sign Campbell because he has the incumbent Jonathan Bullard, plus Tillery and Williams for the spot next to Harrison Phillips. But Campbell would do the trick if Minnesota warmed up to the idea.

Eventually, the Vikings should stop signing players like Shamar Stephen and Jonathan Bullard and calling it a fix. It’s time to prioritize defensive tackle — this year or next.


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 OverTheCap.com.

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