7 Vikings on PFF’s Top 150 FA List

Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings’ offseason is well underway after a Week 18 defeat at the Detroit Lions — the same Lions that melted down in the NFC Championship on Sunday night.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah explained the importance of this offseason a few days after his team’s season concluded, claiming Minnesota is nearing the point of subtracting the “rebuild” noun from this competitive rebuild strategy.

7 Vikings on PFF’s Top 150 FA List

Meanwhile, Adofo-Mensah has plenty of decisions to make in six weeks when free agency kicks off, as the young executive has shed most players on the team when he took over in 2022. Eleven players are scheduled to be under contract compared to the roster he took over two years ago. Tremendous change, indeed.

Top 150 FA
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports.

For starters, these are the Vikings’ soon-to-be free agents if no extensions arise in February or early March:

  • OT Hakeem Adeniji
  • RB Cam Akers
  • LB Anthony Barr
  • IOL Blake Brandel
  • DL Jonathan Bullard
  • QB Kirk Cousins
  • OLB Marcus Davenport
  • QB Joshua Dobbs
  • LB Troy Dye
  • OLB Danielle Hunter
  • LB Jordan Hicks
  • TE Johnny Mundt
  • TE Nick Muse
  • S Theo Jackson
  • K Greg Joseph
  • DT James Lynch
  • OT Oli Udoh
  • G Chris Reed
  • WR K.J. Osborn
  • WR Brandon Powell
  • OT David Quessenberry
  • IOL Dalton Risner
  • IOL Austin Schlottmann
  • DL T.J. Smith
  • DT Khyiris Tonga
  • OLB D.J. Wonnum

The list is robust; there’s no other way around it. Moreover, according to Pro Football Focus, the Vikings currently employ seven Top 150 free agents scheduled to hit the open market. These are those men, detailed and ranked by PFF:

  • QB Kirk Cousins (No. 2)
  • OLB Danielle Hunter (No. 12)
  • LG Dalton Risner (No. 65)
  • LB Jordan Hicks (No. 96)
  • OLB Marcus Davenport (No. 127)
  • OLB D.J. Wonnum (No. 141)
  • WR K.J. Osborn (No. 142)
last sack
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

PFF’s Brad Spielberger wrote about Cousins at No. 2, “An ill-timed torn Achilles derailed another strong season from Cousins, and he looked set to have a host of suitors in free agency, as he did back in 2018. Cousins still has the requisite arm strength to throw to all levels of the field and has been as accurate as ever in recent seasons.”

Since last summer, all Vikings leaders have hinted they want Cousins back for a seventh season, but the kicker remains price. Minnesota likely doesn’t want to pay Cousins what he could fetch on the open market, close to $50 million per season. We shall see “what gives” in the way of a compromise.

Viking May Not Be Back
Former Denver Broncos offensive guard Dalton Risner on Monday Night Football during his first start with the Minnesota Vikings. U.S. Bank Stadium, October 23rd, 2023. Risner started for an injured Ezra Cleveland.

On Hunter, Spielberger opined, “Hunter was a revelation in new Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores’ blitz-heavy scheme, though he was just as productive in 2022. Teams that run a 3-4 or 4-3 could probably find a way to effectively deploy Hunter, and injury concerns of a few years ago seem like distant memories. He finished another season with 900-plus snaps, 70-plus quarterback pressures and double-digit sacks.”

Hunter should command between $20-$25 million annually via his next contract, and many Vikings fans expect a reunion. Otherwise, Minnesota could’ve traded him last October before the deadline and perhaps gained a 2nd-Round draft pick or so.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The others are, of course, important but not as influential as Cousins’ or Hunter’s decision. Risner has talked like a man who wants to stay a Viking. Hicks played wonderfully in 2023 but is getting older per football years. Davenport is a goner, in the opinion of most Vikings faithful. And Wonnum + Osborn are depth pieces.

The Vikings have about $25 million in available cap space as of January 29th, a fancier spot than offseason’s past. The franchise arguably needs help at outside linebacker, defensive tackle, cornerback, running back, and maybe even kicker.

Free agency begins on March 11th with the league’s “legal tampering” phase.

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.