8 Free Agents for Vikings to Avoid Next Week

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On Monday, the Minnesota Vikings and 31 NFL teams begin roster-building for 2024, with external faces joining new clubs.

Vikings Free Agency: 8 Players to Avoid on the Open Market

The league calls it “legal tampering” — a very weird name for a fun event. So, we asked VikingsTerritory writers one free agent apiece for the Vikings to avoid, and these were their responses.

1. Derrick Henry (RB)

Vikings Free Agency
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) heads to the locker room as the team gets ready to face the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, La., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023. © Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Advice Giver: Janik Eckardt

Henry turned 30 in January, and some team will overpay for his services. That’s how lifetime achievement contracts work in the NFL, particularly in free agency. Minnesota shouldn’t overspend on a running back at age 30.

2. Jameis Winston (QB)

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Advice Giver: Dustin Baker

The Vikings should avoid “bridge quarterbacks” altogether, instead either re-upping with Kirk Cousins or letting the rookie passer take his lumps in 2024. Meanwhile, if they absolutely must find a patchover quarterback, Jameis Winston should be avoided. Why? Well, we have Jameis Winston at home. His name is Nick Mullens. Just play him.

3. Tre’Davious White (CB)

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Advice Giver: Josh Frey

The former Bills cornerback has been an elite player during his career, including a first-team All-Pro selection in 2019, and the Vikings certainly could use some help at that position. However, injuries have derailed his production in recent years. He’s played just 10 games in the past two seasons combined, and as he inches closer to 30 years old, the Vikings should avoid White.

4. D.J. Reader (DT)

Cincinnati Bengals nose tackle D.J. Reader (98) celebrates a sack of Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) (not pictured) in the third quarter during Super Bowl 56, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. The Cincinnati Bengals lost, 23-20. © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Advice Giver: Kyle Joudry

Hate to be negative, but maybe defensive tackle D.J. Reader. He’s an excellent player, yet he’s a touch older and likely to cost quite a bit. The injury concerns don’t help, either. A DT who is a bit younger and who offers more as a pass rusher would be my preference.

5. Any Bridge QB (w/out High Draft Pick)

Zach Wilson Whispers
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver: Wes Johnson

Let’s face it: the Kirk Cousins + Vikings song and dance could be facing a crescendo. If Cousins leaves in free agency, it will leave a massive hole to fill. This cannot be answered with a bridge QB and a Day Two QB in the draft. The fans will revolt if this happens,

6. Baker Mayfield (QB)

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Advice Giver: Ted Schwerzler

The Vikings would need to pay him for the solid season he had with Tampa Bay, and if they’re going to allocate those types of funds, then aiming higher (either with Kirk or going all in on the draft pick) makes more sense.

7. Chase Young (EDGE)

Defensive FA Prediction
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver: Cody Spears

When he is not injured, Chase Young has not demonstrated much development as a prospect up to this point. His ceiling is no higher than his floor was when he came out of Ohio State — a power rusher with above-average athleticism and size. His name value will make him twice as expensive as someone of his caliber should be.

t8. Saquon Barkley (RB)

Splash at Running
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports.

Advice Giver: Cole Smith

It’s not so much about his skill set as it is about his potential salary. The Vikings can look elsewhere in free agency to find starting-caliber running backs for a cheaper deal.

t8. Saquon Barkley (RB)

Giants Show Vikings Recipe for Success against Bears on Offense 
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and quarterback Daniel Jones (8). © Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Advice Giver: Ali Siddiqui

His best days may be behind him, and the Vikings should not spend money on a running back. They have other needs. They should stay with Ty Chandler and draft a tailback.

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.