8 Vikings from Last Year’s Team Remain Jobless

Dalton Risner
Minnesota Vikings guard Dalton Risner addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. Dalton Risner: "We All Know We Have A Great Culture But We Came Up Short This Season."

Free agency kicked off in March and fizzled to a halt in April, and the Minnesota Vikings were more active in 2024 than most years in recent memory.

8 Vikings from Last Year’s Team Remain Jobless

Notably, the franchise watched as quarterback Kirk Cousins and outside linebacker Danielle Hunter ventured to new clubs — Cousins to Atlanta and Hunter to Houston — while Minnesota spotlighted defense with the signings of Jonathan Greenard (OLB), Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB), Blake Cashman (ILB), and Shaquill Griffin (CB).

Now, with the NFL draft less than two weeks away, eight Vikings players from the 2024 roster remain in limbo, unsigned by the Vikings and living on the free-agent market. They’re listed alphabetically.

1. Cam Akers (RB)

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Akers implied on Instagram earlier in the offseason that he’d either be back with the Vikings or wanted to return. But then Minnesota signed Aaron Jones, dampening that theory.

The veteran tailback is recovering from his second torn Achilles and will probably sign somewhere before too long. The Dallas Cowboys would make sense.

2. Anthony Barr (LB)

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Barr returned for a purple sequel in November last year, and the timing was awful. Minnesota started losing the moment he signed, though it had nothing to do with him.

Barr’s end is near after a decade of NFL service. He may or may not sign elsewhere.

3. Sheldon Day (NT)

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Brian Flores’ defense needs nose tackle depth, so of all the men on the list, Day might be the most probable to return.

Day saw action in six games in 2023, a decent amount.

4. James Lynch (DT)

James Lynch Solidifying Backup NT Role 
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A career ravaged by injury, Lynch might be one of those guys who dwindles out of the league after some fans once had lofty hopes.

He quietly played his entire four-year rookie contract for the Vikings.

5. Chris Reed (OG)

The Vikings Contingency Plan at Center
Indianapolis Colts guard Chris Reed (62) practices Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, before a game against the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. © Christine Tannous/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK.

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah might sign Reed back if the next guy on the list doesn’t return because he’s a respected and familiar depth piece.

Reed, though, only appeared in two Vikings games last season. He joined the franchise in 2022.

6. Dalton Risner (LG)

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Risner recently hired powerhouse agent Drew Rosenhaus, so his free agency might soon cook with gas.

KFAN’s Paul Allen asked Adofo-Mensah in March about the odds of Risner returning in purple, and the young executive replied, “Where we’ve wanted to be is best available. That’s where we’ve tried to set ourselves up both in a draft and acquisition standpoint. So every option is on the table. That’s all I can say about that.”

That sounds like Risner is as good as gone.

7. T.J. Smith (DT)

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Like Sheldon Day, Smith could eventually be back in Minnesota because it needs DT depth. But it’s a coinflip. Smith has appeared in just four contests since 2021.

8. Nick Vigil (LB)

Viking Auditioning
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.

Similar to Anthony Barr, Vigil re-signed in Minnesota as a depth piece last year. It was his second stint in the Twin Cities. Once a decent starter for the Bengals about five years ago, Vigil’s career is winding down, and he’ll turn 31 in a few months.

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.