The 4 Most Realistic Free Agents for Vikings to Sign

Vikings
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The Minnesota Vikings offseason will reach a foundational hinge next week, with the NFL’s “legal tampering” period getting underway. The franchise has major dominoes to fall, like Kirk Cousins’ fate, Danielle Hunter’s free agency, and Harrison Smith’s retirement, paycut, or exit.

Vikings Free Agency: The 4 Most Realistic Signees

The Vikings have roughly $37 million in cap dollars — a vast improvement of around $60 million from last year entering free agency when Minnesota battled $24 million in the red.

Minnesota will add a handful of newcomers with the $37 million, so consider these the most likely candidates. They’re listed in alphabetical order.

1. Xavien Howard (CB)

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Howard didn’t set the world on fire in 2023 — he posted a 55.1 Pro Football Focus grade — but the Vikings don’t necessarily need a lockdown defensive back. They need a veteran defender to help patrol the secondary while corners like Andrew Booth, Mekhi Blackmon, and Akayleb Evans continue to develop. Minnesota also has Byron Murphy Jr. on the depth chart.

The Vikings may 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.

2. Bryce Huff (OLB)

Vikings Free Agency
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This 25-year-old posted 10 sacks in 17 games as a reservist player last year for the New York Jets. Examining his free agency, he’s similar to Harrison Phillips in 2022 — a high-end backup from the AFC East waiting for his opportunity to start.

That could be the Vikings, a team only showcasing Patrick Jones II and Andre Carter II as EDGE rushers under contract in 2024. Huff posted a 75.9 Pro Football Focus grade this season, seeing action on 480 defensive snaps.

He and Danielle Hunter — hopefully the Vikings re-sign him; we shall see — could formulate a frightening pass-rushing duo in 2024.

3. Maurice Hurst (DT)

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Foremost, Hurst will be affordable. He played 39% of all Cleveland Browns defensive snaps in 2023 and fired up an 81.0 PFF grade. The man deserves to start somewhere.

Hurst also has ties to the San Francisco 49ers, making that two former organizations of which general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah was once employed. The veteran defensive tackle will turn 29 in May.

Of course, Minnesota could shoot for the stars and pursue a DT solution like Christian Wilkins from the Miami Dolphins, but that will utterly break the bank.

4. Andrew Van Ginkel (OLB)

Miami Dolphins linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (43) and linebacker David Long Jr., rear, celebrate a sack against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half of an NFL game at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Dec. 24, 2023. © Jim Rassol / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Van Ginkel experienced ample playing time in 2023 when nearly every EDGE rusher for the Dolphins was lost to injury. He had 6 sacks and 20 pressures, according to Stathead, along with a blistering 91.1 PFF grade.

Van Ginkel won’t be too expensive, likely $5-7 million per season. Too, he was a part of Brian Flores’ defenses in Miami, so that player-coach connection is there.

Van Ginkel was a Flores draft pick for the Dolphins in 2019. Those ties between players and coaches always seem to reemerge.


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.

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