5 Players Perhaps Playing Final Game with Vikings on Sunday

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The Minnesota Vikings travel to Detroit for a date with the Detroit Lions on Sunday and, barring a mini-miracle, it will be the team’s final game of the year.

5 Players Perhaps Playing Final Game with Vikings on Sunday

If the Vikings knock off the Detroit Lions in Week 18 alongside a loss by the Green Bay Packers to the Chicago Bears, an Arizona Cardinals win over the Seattle Seahawks, and either a Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans Saints loss, Minnesota would go to the postseason. But that’s an obvious longshot.

And if it’s the season’s final game, these five Vikings players could be playing their last game in purple. They’re listed alphabetically.

1. Anthony Barr (LB)

5 Players Perhaps
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Vikings fans thought they had seen Barr’s final game in 2021, but the veteran linebacker re-upped with Minnesota in November — back when the franchise owned a fancy 6-4 record.

But since Barr’s arrival, and of no fault of his own, the Vikings fired off a 1-5 record and now sit at 7-9 on the cusp of the offseason. Barr’s reunion story was fun, but he’s unlikely to return in 2024 and, in fact, could retire.

2. Greg Joseph (K)

We Left At Halftime
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Greg Joseph has delivered in big moments for the Vikings during the last three seasons — but that’s about it.

Outside of the clutch, he’s a bottom-five NFL kicker, struggling with converting “regular” field goals and, often, extra points. The goal would be for the Vikings to find a man who can do both: Drill game-winners and the other kicks.

There’s no guarantee that the Vikings part ways with Joseph, but they flirted with a rookie kicker last summer (Jack Podlesny) and could do so again in 2024.

3. Kene Nwangwu (RB)

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The Vikings never really use Nwangwu on offense, and kickoff returns are gradually becoming obsolete. Meanwhile, Minnesota will likely pursue a productive RB1 in 2024 to pair with Ty Chandler. Alexander Mattison is also under contract in 2024, so Nwangwu could be the odd man out.

The team probably won’t need four running backs in 2024, and a kick returner to signal touchbacks five times per game should be a simple offseason discovery.

Nwangwu is fast as hell, and it will always be a bit sad that the Vikings couldn’t incorporate his speed into the offense.

4. K.J. Osborn (WR)

Viking Has Basically
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Osborn has banked 531 receiving yards through 17 weeks, low-end WR3 numbers. And those are for a man who owned the WR2 title back in early September.

The long-time Viking is scheduled for free agency in March, and unless he’s willing to return on a steal of a deal, Minnesota will probably move on.

Osborn provided some wonderful big-time moments during his Vikings tenure, and they should always be remembered in a positive light.

5. Harrison Smith (S)

Another Stunning
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Get your tissues.

Smith could retire this offseason, take another paycut, or set sail to another NFL city. Like last offseason, he’s on tap for a cap hit of approximately $19 million, too rich for a soon-to-be 35-year-old safety. However, Smith has played quite well in 2023, the ultimate versatile weapon inside Brian Flores’ defense.

The Vikings have employed Smith for 12 tremendous seasons, and if this is the end of the road, Minnesota’s ownership should start planning his Ring of Honor induction as early as now.

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.