7 Items You Need to Know about Day 1 of Vikings Free Agency

New Orleans Saints NFL defensive end Marcus Davenport

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The Minnesota Vikings started the 2023 free agency period with noteworthy movement as the team hopes to hold serve in 2023 on a 13-4 record from head coach Kevin O’Connell’s first season.

Minnesota is a trendy “regression” candidate, with most NFL pundits believing the team’s 2022 success is not repeatable. In fact, the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears have better Vegas odds to win the division than the Vikings as of March 13th.

7 Items You Need to Know about Day 1 of Vikings Free Agency

About seven significant Vikings-related items transpired Monday, and these are those ranked in ascending order of importance.

7. Cameron Dantzler to WAS

7 Items You
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cameron Dantzler Sr. (3) reacts late during the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The up-and-down former Vikings cornerback was chosen by the Washington Commanders off the waiver wire. The Commanders pick up Dantzler’s remaining contractual tab, and that’s that for the Dantzler era in Minnesota.

The Vikings now have four CBs on the roster — Kalon Barnes, Andrew Booth, Akayleb Evans, and Tay Gowan. They need more. And Dantzler isn’t coming back anytime soon.

6. Jordan Hicks Restructured

Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) gestures after recovering a fumble by Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (not shown) during their game at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Wm. Glasheen-USA TODAY Sports

Theorized by many as a possible cap casualty, Hicks will actually return in 2023 unless he suffers a summer roster cut.

The Vikings can still pursue alternative off-ball linebackers in free agency and the NFL draft, but for now, it’s Hicks and second-year defender Brian Asamoah penciled in for 2023 duty.

The formal details of Hicks’ restructure have yet to be announced.

5. Patrick Peterson to PIT

Should the Vikings Bring Back Patrick Peterson in 2023?
Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) celebrates his interception during the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports

Peterson hosts a popular podcast with his cousin and former NFLer Bryant McFadden. Wouldn’t you know it — the Steelers are one of McFadden’s former teams.

The future Hall of Famer said about seven times this offseason that he wanted to return with the Vikings. No cigar. Mike Tomlin welcomes Peterson, and that’s a wrap on the Patrick Peterson era in the Twin Cities.

4. Eric Kendricks to LAC

4 Replacement Options for LB Eric Kendricks
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) during the NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

This one was obvious in hindsight. Kendricks played college ball at UCLA, and former Vikings defensive coach Josh Howard is the Chargers ILB coach. He crossed paths with Kendricks in Minnesota, and now the two reunite.

Kendricks fetched a two-year, $13.25 million deal out in Los Angeles.

3. Dalvin Tomlinson to CLE

Oct 3, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dalvin Tomlinson. Mandatory Credit: Matt Blewett-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps the most damning news from Monday, Tomlinson heads to StefanskiLand for his career’s third chapter.

All told, Tomlinson was a Viking for two seasons and about as consistent as football players come. The Browns run defense was terrible in 2022, so they signed Tomlinson for four years and $57 million.

That was too rich for the Vikings, who will eat Tomlinson’s $7.5 million dead cap penalty.

2. Vikings Sign TE Josh Oliver from BAL

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars
Nov 27, 2022; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Baltimore Ravens tight end Josh Oliver (84) spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the fourth quarter at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Oliver signed with the Vikings early Monday afternoon, and most of Minnesota screamed with vigor, “Why are we signing a tight end?”

Well, real football isn’t designed like fantasy football or Madden, and Oliver is a blocking tight end that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell deem vital in 2023. Oliver landed a three-year, $21 million contract in Minnesota, but the deal is incredibly team-friendly when one pulls back the curtain.

1. Vikings Sign EDGE Marcus Davenport from NO

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Nov 17, 2019; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) works out prior to the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Za’Darius Smith said goodbye to Minnesota last week, the Vikings did absolutely nothing to effectuate Smith’s exit, and Marcus Davenport signed a few days later.

The freakishly-athletic pass rusher is only 26 years old and pairs with Danielle Hunter to formulate the new “EDGE department” in Minnesota. Saints fans often criticized Davenport for durability and consistency, and we shall see if he takes off for the Vikings.

His Pro Football Focus resume is scintillating:

2018 = 71.8
2019 = 84.1
2020 = 73.3
2021 = 88.8

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.