4 Unsung Vikings Deserve Contract Extensions

Free Agent Reunites
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The focus of Minnesota’s offseason is clearly on Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter, two Pro Bowl-caliber players who are scheduled to exit the organization in a couple of weeks. Their futures will indicate how competitive Kevin O’Connell’s operation will be in the upcoming season, as it is nearly impossible to replace them. Rookies always need time to develop, and it is almost impossible to find comparable successors in free agency.

4 Unsung Vikings Deserve Contract Extensions

4 unsung vikings
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Besides those two stars, there are some solid contributors that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah should take care of.

4. Johnny Mundt

Tight end Johnny Mundt surely deserves the unsung label. His role diminished in 2023 compared to the previous season when he followed O’Connell from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As the Vikings traded for T.J. Hockenson and signed Josh Oliver, he was the odd man out.

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However, in the final two games of the season following Hockenson’s knee injury, Mundt was asked to take over as the team’s top receiving tight end, and he delivered. He produced nine catches for 97 receiving yards and a touchdown in those two contests, more than half of the production in 2023.

Mundt will not wow anyone with crazy speed or absurd power, though he is a reliable emergency target and can block. With Hockenson potentially missing some time early in the year, Mundt could continue to earn some work in the passing game. He will be cheap, so there’s nothing to lose by re-signing the veteran.

3. Austin Schlottmann

Austin Schlottmann was Garrett Bradbury’s backup center in the last two seasons, and he received a ton of playing time, with Bradbury missing a few weeks because of back issues.

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Schlottmann started three games in his place and appeared in a total of nine contests last season, tabulating 248 snaps on offense. He played the majority of the season opener and the entirety of the next three games.

During those games, rarely anyone noticed Bradbury actually missed time; he did that good of a job replacing him. Bradbury is a superior run blocker, but Schlottmann’s ability to block pass rushers is fantastic for a backup. While he is no real threat to supplant Bradbury for the starting gig, Schlottmann should return as a quality alternate.

2. Brandon Powell

Brandon Powell was a forgotten free agent signing last offseason. He was expected to compete with Jalen Regaor for the lone punt returner job, but nobody expected him to play a significant role on offense because he never had in his five-year NFL career.

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He came out victorious, earning the special teams role, and he surely upgraded the position. In addition to that, similar to Mundt, he became a prominent option in the passing game when the opportunity arrived, starring in the offense mainly led by Joshua Dobbs in Justin Jefferson’s absence.

Powell posted 29 receptions for 324 yards (both career highs) and scored the game-winning touchdown to kick off Dobbs mania. With K.J. Osborn also in the final days of his Vikings contract, the Vikings should re-sign Powell, who is, at the very least, a fantastic WR4.

1. D.J. Wonnum

The focus is on Hunter’s looming departure, and Marcus Davenport has also earned some headlines, but in addition to them, D.J. Wonnum is a pending free agent. He has been with the Vikings for four seasons and is just coming off a wonderful season opposite of Hunter.

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Wonnum was supposed to be a rotational piece, but Davenport’s injuries led him to be on the field on 828 snaps in Brian Flores’ defense. The increased role resulted in a career-best eight sacks and 62 tackles.

In his first four seasons, Wonnum struggled to handle blockers in the running game. It is still not perfect by any means, but he made a decent jump in that regard. The Vikings need to sign or draft two starting outside linebackers, and Wonnum could very well be one of them.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt