The 3 Longest-Tenured Players on Vikings Roster before Free Agency

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The Minnesota Vikings undertake free agency in three weeks and even less if one considers “legal tampering” the unofficial beginning. Players can begin agreeing to deals with teams in 19 days.

The 3 Longest-Tenured Players on Vikings Roster before Free Agency

The purple team has over 25 players scheduled to hit the open market, an offseason on tap for tremendous change. Of course, many of the 25+ will return, but on the surface, these next few months of Vikings football will involve the roster undergoing a facelift.

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Not everyone will depart, though. A few stalwarts will remain, and as of February 20th, these are the three longest-tenured Vikings players under contract for 2024, ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = longest-tenured).

Note: Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter were excluded because they are not under contract for 2024.

3. Brian O’Neill

Tenured Players
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In some ways, it feels like yesterday when Brian O’Neill was thrust into action as an allegedly raw rookie. But that was six years ago, believe it or not.

Former general manager Rick Spielman scooped O’Neill out of the draft’s 2nd Round in 2018, and before long, O’Neill became a Vikings mainstay on the offensive line and, in fact, one of the few saviors who kept Vikings fans from utter madness regarding the trenches.

Now with a Pro Bowl (2021) to his name and status as one of the league’s most handsomely paid right tackles, O’Neill is forever ingrained in the fabric of the Mike Zimmer and Kevin O’Connell eras of Vikings football. And he’s scheduled to be a Viking for at least three more seasons.

2. C.J. Ham

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One of the heart-and-soul players in Minnesota’s locker room, Ham is the team’s fullback, although the Vikings’ offense rarely features him. Ham saw action on 19% of offensive plays and 56% of special teams snaps. He’s part of the glue that keeps the culture together.

Ham joined the Vikings in 2017 as an undrafted free agent, filling the fullback duty since. His contract was extended — somewhat unexpectedly — last summer, and he’ll be affixed to the roster until the end of 2025.

We shall see if Minnesota ever uses him on offense more frequently.

1. Harrison Smith (S)

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Probably the most likely on the list to depart the Vikings this offseason, Smith has been doing the purple thing for 12 years. The aforementioned Spielman plucked him out of the 1st Round of the 2012 NFL Draft, and he morphed into a Vikings legend pretty quickly. Longevity, of course, helps.

But Smith could retire this offseason; he turned 35 earlier this month. Safeties don’t usually make it that long, but unsurprisingly, Hitman is an exception.

In theory, he could also refuse to take a paycut with the Vikings in 2024 and join a contending team like the Dallas Cowboys, a franchise that just hired Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator. Hopefully, though, Minnesota appears to be a contender when the dust settles on the offseason, and Smith returns for one final ride.

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