Vikings Lose Another Key Defender

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings defense has undergone significant change this week during the first wave of free agency.

Vikings Lose Another Key Defender

Danielle Hunter, Jordan Hicks, Dean Lowry, D.J. Wonnum, and William Kwenkeu have already left, and on Friday, linebacker Troy Dye joined the list of outgoing defenders.

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport tweeted, “Vikings LB and special teamer Troy Dye is signing with the Chargers on a 1-year deal, source said. MIN wanted him back, but Dye will have a chance to play more of a role on defense in LA.”

Eric Kendricks became a Charger for one season last year, and Dye has followed his lead. On Kendricks, after Los Angeles cut him last week, he joined Mike Zimmer and the Dallas Cowboys a couple of days ago.

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Star Tribune‘s Andrew Krammer added about Dye’s departure on the X app: “The Vikings offered more to keep linebacker Troy Dye, a core special teamer, but he’s headed back home to California where he’s ‘got a chance to start’ with the Chargers on a 1-year deal.”

Dye completed his entire rookie contract in Minnesota, drafted in the 4th Round in 2020. He wound up seeing action 60 games for the Vikings, starting eight, and basically served as a depth defender on different defenses led by the aforementioned Zimmer, Ed Donatell, and Brian Flores. He now has a puncher’s chance at starting in Los Angeles.

This is the Chargers’ current linebacking corps:

  • Nick Niemann
  • Daiyan Henley
  • Troy Dye

Los Angeles will need more help at the spot, either from the second wave of free agency or the 2024 NFL Draft. But for now, Dye can reasonably vie to start on Sundays next fall, especially with Kendricks out of the way. The Chargers’ defense ranked 26th last season per DVOA, and with Jim Harbaugh in charge, most expect the group to improve before too long.

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Without Dye, this is the Vikings’ current linebacking room:

  • Ivan Pace II
  • Blake Cashman
  • Brian Asamoah
  • Abraham Beauplan

Minnesota found Cashman from the Houston Texans on Monday, a free agent signed by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah for starting duties. That ruled out any chance of Dye returning as a starter in purple. Cashman, an Eden Prairie native, attended Eden Prairie High School and the University of Minnesota before NFL stints with the Jets and Texans.

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Dye, the new Charger, has banked 80 tackles in his career and has seen action on 408 defensive plays since the start of 2020. He’ll turn 28 in September.

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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