The 4 Vikings Players Who Have Left in Free Agency So Far

Sep 10, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) leaves the field after the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

NFL free agency has officially gotten underway this week, and as expected, it has been an absolute frenzy.

The Minnesota Vikings have been heavily in the mix throughout the events of free agency as well, signing a grand total of eight new players to their roster so far. However, they’ve also seen a few contributors from last year’s team head elsewhere. Here is a look at the four Vikings players who have left for greener pastures this offseason.

QB Kirk Cousins

Vikings Players
Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes against the San Francisco 49ers in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, Kirk Cousins entered the offseason as one of the top free agents on the market, and he was certainly paid as such. The veteran quarterback was handed a four-year contract worth $180 million (including $100 million in guarantees) by the Atlanta Falcons.

Cousins now heads to Atlanta with intriguing offensive weapons around him such as WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts, and RB Bijan Robinson, who finished fifth in Offensive Rookie of the Year voting this past season.

Throughout his career in Minnesota, Cousins started 88 regular season games, throwing for 23,265 yards, 171 TDs, and 55 interceptions. His passing yardage total ranks third all-time in Vikings history while his passing TDs total sits in second behind only Fran Tarkenton. The Vikings officially have a starting quarterback question to answer for the first time since Cousins signed with the team in 2018.

OLB Danielle Hunter

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Nov 27, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) warms up before the game against the Chicago Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

After putting together a career season with the Vikings and entering free agency right as the salary cap took a historic leap, Danielle Hunter was in a perfect situation to land a large contract.

The defender probably didn’t get as much as he had hoped for heading into the spring, but the Houston Texans are going to pay him $49 million over the next two years with $48 million of that money being guaranteed.

Hunter has been a major part of the Vikings’ success in the past decade, being a part of four separate playoff runs, including the 2017 run to the NFC Championship Game. Hunter posted double-digit sacks during five of his nine years in Minnesota, and at 87.5 sacks over his career, he ranks sixth all-time in Vikings franchise history. He surpassed Jared Allen during the 2023 season in which he put up a career-high 16.5 sacks.

The Vikings will miss him in their defense but are hoping to replace his production with a high upside pass rusher (who happened to play for the Texans this past season), Jonathan Greenard.

OLB D.J. Wonnum

Nov 12, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker D.J. Wonnum (98) celebrates his sack against the New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr (4) in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Wonnum was selected by the Vikings in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and throughout the first four years of his NFL career, he was a strong rotational pass rusher in Minnesota. He recorded eight sacks in 2023 before entering free agency, which was the second time he had done so in the past three seasons.

Now, Wonnum is set to take on a larger role with the Carolina Panthers after signing a two-year contract worth $14.5 million. Carolina recently traded Brian Burns, opening up a starting spot at the position. In total, Wonnum has put together 171 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 23 sacks, and a pair of forced fumbles throughout his four-year career.

LB Jordan Hicks

NFL: New York Jets at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) reacts after making a stop against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Browns stole yet another Vikings defender when they signed LB Jordan Hicks this week, allowing the linebacker to reunite with former teammates Za’Darius Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson. Hicks’ deal with the Browns is for two years and worth $8 million.

The veteran’s departure was not much of a surprise after the Vikings signed Blake Cashman, but still, Hicks will be missed at the linebacker position in Minnesota.

After a difficult first season with the Vikings in 2022, he put together a fantastic campaign for new defensive coordinator Brian Flores in 2023, recording 107 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, five passes defended, an interception, and a forced fumble. He was also PFF’s 22nd-highest graded linebacker (min. 500 snaps) with a score of 74.6.

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

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of 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.