Vikings Fans Have a “Big 4” of Free Agent Targets

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The Minnesota Vikings’ regular season kicks off in 59 days with a date in New Jersey against the New York Giants. New York is favored to prevail by a point.

Vikings Fans Have a “Big 4” of Free Agent Targets

In the meantime, the purple team still has around $26 million in available cap space, and many wonder if the franchise will spend that cash before the start of the season.

Vikings fans are more than mindful of the cash satchel, urging the team to sign one or some of the following free agents. They’re listed in alphabetical order.

1. Stephon Gilmore (CB)

Free Agent
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A four-time Pro Bowler, Gilmore awaits his next steps. He played for the New England Patriots from 2017 to 2020, connected with Brian Flores in 2017 and 2018. Gilmore started all 17 games for last year’s Dallas Cowboys, banking a wonderful 74.4 Pro Football Focus grade. If he signed with the Vikings — or almost any other team — it would represent five teams in five seasons for the 33-year-old.

Gilmore was also responsible for an applaudable 82.7 passer-rating-against in 2023, which would’ve been wonderful by Vikings cornerbacks’ standards. For now, Minnesota has CBs Byron Murphy, Mekhi Blackmon, Akayleb Evans, Andrew Booth, and Shaquill Griffin on the roster. Adding Gilmore could enhance the group, especially from a leadership perspective.

2. Xavien Howard (CB)

Miami Dolphins cornerback X. Howard (25), runs a fumble recovery for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens during NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium Thursday in Miami Gardens. © BILL INGRAM /THE PALM BEACH POST / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Vikings could sign Howard as an insurance policy and hope the 30-year-old can rekindle some of his glory days. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler and worked alongside Brian Flores from 2019 to 2021 in Miami. Howard didn’t set the world on fire in 2023 — he posted a 55.1 Pro Football Focus grade — but Minnesota doesn’t really need a lockdown defensive back. It has a hodgepodge.

Why do the Vikings need someone like Howard? They ranked 32nd leaguewide in 2023 per completion percentage allowed.

VikingsTerritory’s Ali Siddiqui endorsed a Howard signing in March, “He should not cost too much, given he is 30, but he would still be a great addition to this defense and knows Brian Flores’ defense well from their time together in Miami.”

3. Hunter Renfrow (WR)

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Renfrow tallied 1,038 receiving yards in 2021 and then just under 600 combined from 2022 to 2023. His career has stalled, and at age 28, he needs a geographical cure for an attempt at reclamation.

Conveniently, Renfrow is a free agent, and many question why no team has taken the plunge for his services as a WR3 or WR4. Adofo-Mensah selected zero wide receivers during the draft, even though the event was filled with bright WR3 types.

Renfrow should have a few seasons left, so why not in purple as a WR3 on a one-year deal?

4. Michael Thomas (WR)

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Before an injury in 2023 — against the Vikings — Thomas tabulated about 44 receiving yards per game for the Saints. And that’s just about what Minnesota needs until T.J. Hockenson returns from a torn ACL later this season. Thomas has not lived up to this supernatural shine since signing a mammoth contract four years ago, but for cheap, he could play WR3 for Minnesota.

Plus, the Vikings don’t really throw slants — Thomas’ jam — so maybe Thomas could inspire the offense in that regard.


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 MIN obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, Basset Hounds, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.