Three Remaining Free Agents Who Could Help the Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings have done much work to reshape the roster ahead of the 2024 season. There will be a new quarterback under center, a new running back, and some new edge rushers for the defense.

Adding JJ McCarthy in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft gives the Vikings a QB to build around for the future. The team also brought in Sam Darnold this offseason to compete for the job in case McCarthy is not ready. The defense also got a jolt from the draft with the addition of star edge rusher Dallas Turner.

While the free agent and draft additions should excite Vikings’ fans, some holes still need to be filled before the season begins. Reinforcements could certainly be added along the offensive and defensive lines. Perhaps another veteran corner could benefit a young secondary as well. Finally, the wide receiver room could use some added depth.

Here are three remaining free agents who could help the Vikings improve in 2024.

Dalton Risner, OL

Nov 5, 2023; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Brandon Powell (4) celebrates after a touchdown with guard Dalton Risner (66) against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

This one seems obvious. Dalton Risner joined the Vikings prior to Week 3 of the 2023 season and ended up playing 745 snaps for the team. The Kansas State product filled in admirably at left guard and earned a 57.1 PFF grade. The guard did not allow a sack in 2023 and was one of the most reliable pass-blocking guards in the league.

Risner was not re-signed after the 2023 season and remains on the market. The Vikings currently have Blake Brandel penciled in as the starter at LG, but Brandel has never played more than 274 snaps in a season and has never played at the left guard position. On the other side of the line, Ed Ingram has been an up-and-down player for the team since being drafted. Risner is a perfect fallback option that ensures the Vikings have a competent starter in place.

Risner is familiar with the team and would slot in seamlessly at either guard position. Even if the team is confident in the Brandel-Ingram combination, depth is needed, and Risner wouldn’t break the bank at this point.

Calais Campbell, DE

NFL: Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
Dec 4, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell (93) enters the field prior to the game against the Denver Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings could use some reinforcements on the defensive line. Other than Harrison Phillips, the entire line is composed of either journeymen or unproven players. Jerry Tillery, Jonathan Bullard, Jonah Williams, and Jaquelin Roy make up an uninspiring group up front.

Calais Campbell is the best option remaining on the DL. Campbell is a massive human, standing at 6-foot-8 and weighing 282 pounds. The veteran has been selected to six Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2017. Campbell could slide in next to Phillips and immediately transform the unit.

Imagine a defensive line that features Bullard, Campbell, Phillips, with Jonathan Greenard, Dallas Turner, and Andrew Van Ginkel rotating in on the edge. Campbell will turn 38 when this season kicks off, but the veteran is coming off of a 6.5-sack season in 2023.

Michael Thomas, WR

Free Agents
Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) runs after a pass reception against Minnesota Vikings strong safety Andrew Sendejo (34) during the first quarter of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver may not seem like a huge need for the Vikings, however, the depth here is not great. Brandon Powell is slotted in as the WR3 for the team, with Jalen Nailor and Trent Sherfield being additional options.

Powell, Nailor, and Sherfield combined for 43 receptions in 2023, so the team could prefer to add a more experienced option. Michael Thomas is by far the most experienced receiver still on the market. The former New Orleans Saint has been a First-team All-Pro selection twice and has made three Pro Bowls. Thomas has failed to produce much recently due to injury and unhappiness with the situation in New Orleans. However, this is the same receiver who caught a whopping 149 passes in 2019.

Thomas is not the most reliable WR at this point, but he would be WR3 in Minnesota. Whoever is playing QB will need as many weapons as possible, and adding a former All-Pro would certainly help.

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