Purple Headlines of the Week: Oodles of Free Agency News, a Massive Trade, Harrison Smith Does It Again

Dec 24, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end Jonathan Greenard (52) walks off the field before the game against the Cleveland Browns at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This past week, all the chaos of NFL free agency officially got underway.

One of the more active teams throughout this week, both in signing players and swinging trades, was the Minnesota Vikings. With the first week of free agency officially in the books, here is a look at all the purple headlines of the week.

A Vikings Free Agency Recap

Purple Headlines
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

The Vikings have spent the week bringing in a few exciting new names in free agency. They snatched a couple defenders from the Houston Texans right off the bat, signing both LB Blake Cashman and OLB Jonathan Greenard to shore up their defense. On the offensive side of the ball, acquisitions of QB Sam Darnold and RB Aaron Jones could give Minnesota’s backfield an entirely new look in 2024. Then, there were also depth signings like DT Jerry Tillery and IOL Dan Feeney.

Of course, there were also a few familiar faces brought back by the team over the course of the week. WR Brandon Powell re-signed to add depth to the WR room and retain his punt returning duties, and both Blake Brandel and David Quessenberry will continue to provide versatility on the offensive line.

However, free agency also means saying goodbye to plenty of faces from last year’s team. The Vikings saw multiple notable pieces leave this offseason. Kirk Cousins signed a massive four-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons. Danielle Hunter is now a Houston Texan. Jordan Hicks is a Cleveland Brown.

Vikings Snatch Another First-Round Pick

Every Draft Pick Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Has Played a Role in Making
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks on before the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sport.

Many have pegged the Vikings as a potential candidate to trade up for a quarterback in this year’s NFL Draft. After this past week, it seems more likely than ever before. Not only is Cousins gone, but the Vikings also swung a trade on Friday to acquire the 23rd overall pick from the Houston Texans.

In exchange for that 23rd overall pick and No. 232, the Vikings sent Houston No. 42, No. 188, and their 2025 second-round pick. As a result, the Vikings now hold a pair of first-round picks this spring, joining the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears as the only teams who can say that as of now about six weeks before the draft.

Harrison Smith Restructures Contract

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Aug 5, 2023; Eagan, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during training camp at Twin Cities Orthopedic Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Just like he did last spring, Vikings safety Harrison Smith has restructured his contract ahead of the 2024 season to free up additional cap space for the Vikings and remain with the team for his age-35 season.

Prior to this restructure, Smith was set to carry a $19.2 million cap hit in 2024, which was the third-highest among players on the team behind RT Brian O’Neill’s $23 million and WR Justin Jefferson’s $19.7 million. It appears that the Vikings are actually set to save right around $10 million in cap space with this move. Tom Pelissero tweeted, “Harrison Smith’s new deal is for $9 million, per his agency @AthletesFirst. Some cap relief for the #Vikings, and a little more Hitman for Minnesota.”

Solidified as one of the greatest Vikings defenders of all-time, it would have been very easy to justify leaving the team and trying to find the best situation to win a ring before hanging up the cleats. Over the past few offseasons, Smith has watched many staples of the franchise leave such as Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, and others. Instead, he is back in purple for at least one more go.

In Case You Missed It…

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions
Jan 7, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) talks with teammates prior to their game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

As usual, we have an additional list of reading material for the especially studious Vikings fans. Happy reading!

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.