3 Prominent Former Vikings Need New Teams

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

A week and a half of free agency is in the books, and the Minnesota Vikings’ roster has continued to experience significant overhaul.

3 Prominent Former Vikings Need New Teams

The club has emphasized defense in free agency — as expected — while letting Kirk Cousins walk to the Atlanta Falcons and Danielle Hunter to the Houston Texans. On offense, Minnesota added Sam Darnold as a patchover quarterback to an eventual rookie passer and former Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones.

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Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Outside of the Vikings’ orbit, though, a few prominent former Vikings are still looking for employment. These are those men listed alphabetically.

1. Dalvin Cook

Dalvin Cook Is on the Move
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The New York Jets and Cook agreed to part ways near the end of the 2023 regular season, about five months after inking a summer deal — back when the Jets were true-blue Super Bowl contenders. But soon after the regular season kicked off, Cook wasn’t quite the same playmaker from 2020 or 2021, and New York quickly granted a large carry load to Breece Hall, not Cook.

He joined the Baltimore Ravens for a miniature playoff push and actually looked decent for an offensive drive or two.

Cook’s stock now, though, is incredibly low, and when he eventually signs somewhere this offseason, he’ll likely latch on as some team’s RB3. Life comes and goes pretty quickly for an NFL running back, even those as mighty as Cook as recently as three years ago.

2. Cameron Dantzler

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Dantzler has encountered a wild NFL ride in four years:

  • Minnesota Vikings (2020–2022)
  • Washington Commanders (2023)
  • Buffalo Bills (2023)
  • Houston Texans (2023)
  • New Orleans Saints (2023)

He showed various flashes of productivity since entering the NFL as a 3rd-Round draft pick in 2020 but finished three straight seasons with a whimper due to injury or otherwise. Dantzler fired up a praiseworthy 70.9 Pro Football Focus grade as a rookie, followed by an even better 73.8 score in 2021. Yet, after getting injured midseason in 2022, Dantzler never seemed to recover and lost his starting job.

Then, he began bouncing around the league and never latched on a full-timer contributor or even a semi-regular defensive option. He played nine snaps in 2023 for the Saints — all special teams.

His career could be on life support.

3. Patrick Peterson

Former Vikings CB
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

The likeliest of three to sign with a new team, Peterson was cut loose by the Pittsburgh Steelers about two weeks ago. The veteran corner produced a 61.5 Pro Football Focus score in 2023 with Pittsburgh, a mark neither very good nor outwardly terrible. He played 97% of all Steelers defensive snaps — a whopping number for anybody, especially a 33-year-old cornerback — while tallying a decent 91.7 passer-rating-against. The man basically played all the time in his 13th NFL season and never got too high or low per production.

Three years ago, no one in the Vikings community believed Peterson was on then-GM Rick Spielman’s radar, but the eight-time Pro Bowler reportedly wanted to play for Mike Zimmer. And the experiment worked. Peterson produced a remarkable 2022 regular season, ranking as the league’s 12th-best cornerback, according to PFF. He turned back the clock to 2018 or so, grading an outstanding 77.8. He was phenomenal, impacting a defense that needed all the silver linings it could find.

He’ll find employment before too long, probably with a Super Bowl-contending team.


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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