Vikings Lineman Exits Franchise After 2 Seasons

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Minnesota’s offseason frenzy has started as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is aggressively pursuing the future of the organization. Jonathan Greenard, Blake Cashman, Jerry Tillery, and Andrew Van Ginkel were the four defensive additions, while the offense primarily signed Aaron Jones, a former Packers running back and huge upgrade in the rushing attack.

Vikings Lineman Exits Franchise After 2 Seasons

Vikings Lineman Exits Franchise After 2 Seasons
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While new players arrive, former contributors depart. That’s the usual NFL circle. Kirk Cousins will throw passes for the Atlanta Falcons in 2024 and pass-rusher Danielle Hunter is hunting QBs in his hometown Houston. Watching a Vikings game without those two star players will be strange but Adofo-Mensah is making sure to find successors, his latest trade puts the Vikings in a position to make a move for a QB prospect.

Also exiting the defense are D.J. Wonnum who will wear a Carolina Panthers jersey, Jordan Hicks joined the Cleveland Browns, and Marcus Davenport signed with the Detroit Lions.

Vikings Keep Free Agent Defender in the Building
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The fifth Vikings defender who found a new home is defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga. He has signed a deal with the Arizona Cardinals, the team announced.

Defensive tackle Khyiris Tonga didn’t make the Bears’ 53-man roster in 2022 and had to accept a spot on the Falcons’ practice squad. Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed the large human being to the active roster in October 2022.

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Tonga was inactive in the first two games, in matchups against the Bears and the Dolphins, and made his Vikings debut in Week 8 against the Cardinals, where he pressured quarterback Kyler Murray to force an interception. He ended up playing in 12 games in his first Vikings season and started a couple of contests.

He returned for a second campaign as a restricted free agent and many expected him to be the team’s breakout star after playing wonderful football in a limited role. His role declined in Brian Flores’ defense from 276 to only 188 snaps. Tonga collected 15 tackles in 14 games but couldn’t turn into a difference-maker on the defensive front

The Vikings had the first right to keep him on the team as he was once again a restricted free agent but the 2021 7th-rounder out of BYU wasn’t retained and now moves to Arizona.

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Minnesota’s defensive line is still a problem. Harrison Phillips is a good run defender but lacks the pass-rush skills to make an impact in the passing game. Dean Lowry, a 2023 signing, was cut and will no longer play next to him. On Thursday, the Vikings added Tillery to the team, a solid pass-rusher which gives Flores at least one player with that profile.

Last year’s fifth-rounder Jaquelin Roy returns for his sophomore season and veteran Jonathan Bullard for his third season in purple.

The Vikings will host Tonga’s Cardinals in the 2024 regular season.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt