Countdown Questions — #10: Does the Vikings Exodus Continue?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Chicago Bears
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

With the full Vikings roster soon to arrive at training camp, PurplePTSD is counting down the top 10 pressing, perplexing, and puzzling questions as the fateful day – July 25th – inches closer. Today’s focus rests on the 10th question:

Does the Vikings exodus continue?

Since taking over as the general manager, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah hasn’t been at all shy about moving on from players brought in by Rick Spielman. Recent draftees like Chazz Surratt, Kellen Mond, Wyatt Davis, and Jaylen Twyman (to name a few) are all with different teams. Longtime stalwarts like Eric Kendricks, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook are similarly subtracted.

Does the trend continue when the Vikings opt to shrink their roster down at the end of August?

The Vikings Exodus

D.J. Wonnum has certainly had some nice moments, with his 8 sacks in 2021 serving as the most reason for optimism. Long and strong, Wonnum possesses an ideal build for an NFL pass rusher. The issue is he lacks the same burst that someone like Danielle Hunter has, limiting his upside.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Dec 5, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end D.J. Wonnum (98) and defensive end Kenny Willekes (79) react after the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Moving on from him would clear up more than $2 million on the cap, money that could be rolled over into a 2024 season when Kwesi is really looking to put together a roster in his own image.

And what of Camryn Bynum, the defensive back who was relied on to play every single snap in 2022. Bynum offers the versatility that Brian Flores covets, and his durability is impressive. As a rookie, he showed ample promise before experiencing a sophomore slump.

One wonders if the team’s leadership will see his skills as being redundant to what Jay Ward offers, a DB who shined at LSU largely due to his capacity to line up all over the field. In a battle between Bynum and Ward, it’s the latter who is most likely to win simply due to being a selection from the current leadership group.

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Camryn Bynum (24) and safety Theo Jackson (25) and cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) in action during the game against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, cuts aren’t the only possibility. As we should all know by now, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah enjoys pulling off a trade.

Perhaps someone is interested in more help at wide receiver. Could K.J. Osborn be had for the right price? Previously, I petitioned for him being the WR2 in Minnesota, but the Vikings have sunk a 1st-round pick into Jordan Addison while continuing to build around Justin Jefferson. The plan certainly appears to be getting Addison involved very early. And, not insignificantly, the team is high on Jalen Nailor.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
Jan 1, 2023; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) rushes for a touchdown as Green Bay Packers cornerback Corey Ballentine (35) defends during the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Trading Osborn is by no means imminent and yet it can’t be totally discounted, either. Adofo-Mensah has shown little loyalty to players brought in by Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer (a few notable exceptions aside, like Jefferson, Christian Darrisaw, and a handful of others).

Much remains to be determined. Training camp practices and preseason games will obviously go a long way in determining who sticks around and who will need to look elsewhere for employment. That being said, Spielman’s guys – Wonnum, Bynum, Osborn, Troy Dye, James Lynch, Kene Nwangwu – will need to definitively show that they’re the clear-cut best option at their respective position.

Anything less than that could lead to a future without the Vikings.

Editor’s Note: The “Countdown Questions” series is a 10-day look at some of the most important questions facing the Minnesota Vikings as training camp nears. Be sure to keep swinging by to check out the latest instalment and to read what has already been covered.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.