Vikings Say Goodbye to a Veteran Defensive Lineman and a Young Linebacker

The Minnesota Vikings spent much of Monday bringing in new defensive faces to the team.

On Tuesday morning, though, the Vikings parted ways with one of their veteran defensive linemen and a young linebacker in order to free up cap space and a starting spot on the roster. Those players are DL Dean Lowry and LB William Kwenkeu.

Vikings Release Veteran Defensive Lineman

Defensive Lineman
Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Dean Lowry (94) and defensive tackle Harrison Phillips (97) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The news was reported by Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, who tweeted, “The #Vikings are releasing veteran DL Dean Lowry, per source.”

Lowry, 29, spent the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Green Bay Packers after being selected in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Northwestern. The defensive end quickly emerged as a pass rushing threat in Green Bay’s defense, recording multiple sacks in five of his seven seasons with the Packers.

This included a 2021 season in which he recorded five sacks along with a total of 42 QB pressures, which ranked 20th in the entire NFL among defensive linemen, per PFF. However, Lowry went through a bit of a down season in 2022, recording just half a sack over the course of 15 games, thus prompting Green Bay to part ways with him.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings
Sep 11, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a touchdown pass while being rushed by Green Bay Packers defensive end Dean Lowry (94) as guard Ed Ingram (67) blocks during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings signed Lowry to a two-year contract worth a total of $8.5 million last offseason. Unfortunately, Lowry would not find a way to rejuvenate his career with the Vikings, in part because of a torn pec which ended his season. He appeared in just nine games over the course of the year (making four starts), and he recorded 14 total tackles without a single tackle for loss or sack. The Vikings will save just over $2 million in cap space by cutting him, according to Over the Cap.

Vikings Waive LB William Kwenkeu

As for Kwenkeu, he has spent the past two years with the Vikings. He was signed by the team as an undrafted free agent in 2022 after spending six collegiate seasons at Temple, recording a total of 21 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

The linebacker appeared in six games during the 2022 season in Minnesota, playing 13 defensive snaps and 94 snaps with the special teams unit. However, he was unable to play during 2023 because of an injury suffered during training camp, and he was waived prior to the season and placed on injured reserve.

Vikings LB Room
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell and linebacker William Kwenkeu (47) react after the game against the New York Jets at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

By parting ways with Kwenkeu, the Vikings save $915,000 in cap space. A modest amount, but it could go towards making another move this offseason or in order to help sign draft picks later this spring.

In total, the Vikings save right around $3 million by making these two moves.


Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, and Over the Cap.

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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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