Vikings Free Agency Down to 9 Men

Playmaker Thinks
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

Nine days into NFL free agency, the Minnesota Vikings shaved a list of 28 players (at one time) to nine.

Vikings Free Agency Down to 9 Men

That’s the number of in-house free agents unsigned as of March 19th, and verdicts on some or all should be rendered in the coming weeks.

Vikings Free Agency
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.

At the moment, these men from the 2023 roster need new contracts, probably from other NFL teams:

  • RB Cam Akers
  • LB Anthony Barr
  • DT Sheldon Day
  • K Greg Joseph
  • DT James Lynch
  • G Chris Reed
  • IOL Dalton Risner
  • DL T.J. Smith
  • LB Nick Vigil

The Vikings could, of course, still re-sign any of these players, but reunions may no longer be a priority with free agency entering the middle of Week No. 2. The list of nine could be perceived as one big tongue-in-cheek request for Dalton Risner, an offensive guard who fans absolutely love. Risner joined the Vikings last summer, quickly earning a starter’s job — so much so that general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded his teammate Ezra Cleveland to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Vikings faithful fell in love with Risner, but a second act in Minnesota feels unlikely as of mid-March. KFAN’s Paul Allen asked Adofo-Mensah about the chances 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.”

Ordinarily, if the Vikings wanted a player back for the following season, the front office says something to the effect of: We’d love to have _______ _________ back, but negotiations are ongoing.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

So, it’s to be determined on Risner — and probably no luck for Vikings loyalists on their reunion request.

After Risner on the list, most players, if re-signed, would become depth pieces for the 2024 roster. Akers, in theory, could return, but Minnesota signed Aaron Jones from the Green Bay Packers one week ago. Barr felt like a last hurrah in 2023. Day might have the best chance of all from the list to return because Minnesota needs DT depth. XFL kicker Parker Romo signed with the purple team last week, seemingly ending Joseph’s career with the Vikings.

Lynch could return before too long after recovering from injury. Minnesota signed Dan Feeney last week, indicating he’d take Chris Reed’s job. And Smith + Vigil are practice squad types.

Viking Took
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Therefore, it’s Risner or bust for most attention regarding internal free agents from here forward.

For context, these are the Vikings’ newcomers:

  • A.J. Green, CB —1 Year, $1.05m (CLE)
  • Jonathan Greenard, EDGE — 4 Years, $76m (HOU)
  • Andrew Van Ginkel, EDGE — 2 Years, $20m (MIA)
  • Blake Cashman, ILB — 3 Years, $25.5m (HOU)
  • Sam Darnold, QB — 1 Year, $10m (SF)
  • Parker Romo, K — XFL
  • Aaron Jones, RB — 1 Year, $7m (GB)
  • Jerry Tillery, DT — 1 Year, $3.75m (LAR)
  • Trent Sherfield, WR — 1 Year $1.79m (BUF)
  • Dan Feeney, OL — 1 Year (CHI)
  • Jonah Williams, DT — 1 Year (LAR)
  • Shaquill Griffin, CB — 1 Year (CAR)

And the outgoing personnel:

  • Alexander Mattison, RB — Signed with 3/18
  • Kirk Cousins, QB — Signed with Falcons 3/11
  • Marcus Davenport, EDGE — Signed with Lions 3/11
  • Jordan Hicks, LB — Signed with Browns 3/11
  • Dean Lowry, DT — Released 3/12
  • William Kwenkeu, ILB — Released 3/12
  • Hakeem Adeniji, OT — Signed with Browns 3/12
  • Danielle Hunter, EDGE — Signed with Texans 3/12
  • D.J. Wonnum, EDGE — Signed with Panthers 3/14
  • Khyiris Tonga, DT — Signed with Cardinals 3/15
  • Troy Dye, LB — Signed with Chargers 3/15
  • Austin Schlottmann, C — Signed with Giants 3/15
  • K.J. Osborn, WR — Signed with Patriots 3/17
  • Oli Udoh, OT — Signed with Saints 3/18
  • Joshua Dobbs, QB — Signed with 49ers 3/18

Plus the extensions:

  • Theo Jackson, S — Extended 2/21.
  • Nick Muse, TE — Extended 3/5
  • Johnny Mundt, TE — Extended 3/8
  • David Quessenberry, OT — Extended 3/11
  • Blake Brandel, OL — Extended 3/11
  • Brandon Powell, WR — Extended 3/12
  • Jonathan Bullard, DT — Extended 3/13

Next up for Minnesota is the NFL draft — in about five weeks.

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).

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