The Vikings’ FA Board & Wish List: 15 Free Agents Who Look Like Strong Fits in Minnesota

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Las Vegas Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Searching online for free agency lists isn’t too challenging. The popular football spots around the internet — PFF, ESPN, CBS Sports, etc. — all offer their own hierarchy for the upcoming batch of NFL free agents.

A bit less common, perhaps, is a free agency board that’s being strictly devoted to the Minnesota Vikings. Accordingly, PurplePTSD is looking to bridge the gap with “The Vikings’ FA Board and Wish List.” A lot is going to change in the coming days and weeks — franchise tags, cuts, extensions, etc. — but there’s enough information out there to start assembling a list of players who look to be capable of helping the Vikings.

The Vikings’ FA Board & Wish List

The Dream Additions

NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens
Dec 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (92) enters the field before the game against the Los Angeles Rams during the at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

1) Justin Madubuike, Baltimore Ravens

Info & Intrigue: The defensive tackle is only 26 and is coming off of a season where he snagged 56 tackles, 13 sacks, and a stunning 33 QB hits (for reference, Danielle Hunter had 22 QB hits). He was a second-team All Pro and finished 9th in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Minnesota hasn’t had someone like him since Kevin Williams.

Read More: Powerful DT with Eye Popping Stats is Exactly Who Vikings are Looking to Add

2) L’Jarius Sneed, Kansas City Chiefs

Info & Intrigue: At 27, the KC corner is still capable of playing football at a high level for several more seasons. He has a pair of Super Bowls and seems to fit perfectly within a Brian Flores defense given his ability to line up along the outside and in the slot. The added bonus is that Sneed is a willing and effective blitzer.

Read More: Excellent Corner, 27, Hints at Needing to Sign Elsewhere, Leaving the Door Ajar for the Vikings

3) Jaylon Johnson, Chicago Bears

Info & Intrigue: He’s a 24-year-old corner with some pretty good size (6’0″, 196) and was a relatively high pick (50th in the 2020 NFL Draft). He was a second-team All Pro last season and was responsible for plucking 4 interceptions out of the sky. At no point in his rookie deal did he allow QBs to complete more than 60% of passes into his coverage. A franchise tag in Illinois seems likely.

Read More: Plundering the Bears for an Urgent Need in Brian Flores’ Defense

4) Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers

Info & Intrigue: The Vikings have swung the bat a pair of times in free agency — Za’Darius Smith + Marcus Davenport — and missed a pair of times. Minnesota needs to keep swinging since the edge rusher position is ultra important. Burns is 25 and was a 1st-round selection back in 2019. In his opening five seasons, Burns has piled up 46 sacks (9.2 sacks per season).

Read More: Boosting the Pass Rush with a 6’5″, 25-Year-Old Menace Along the Edge

5) Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Info & Intrigue: When healthy, Barkley is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL. He can churn out yards as both a ball carrier and receiver. He’s 27 and was the 2nd overall pick back in 2018. His 2022 season featured 1,312 rushing yards and 338 receiving yards. Buy low?

Read More: Free Agency is Teeming with Talent, Offering Stars Aplenty at Glaring Vikings Need

The Middle Class

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis (13) makes a catch against Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) during second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

1) Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Info & Intrigue: The linebacker ran a faster forty time than Justin Jefferson. He has a history of blitzing a ton and is still only 26. Putting him alongside Ivan Pace may lead to some dicey moments for the pass coverage but some wonderful moments for the pass rush.

Read More: A Trio of Buy-Low Defenders for the Vikings to Consider in Free Agency

2) Gabriel Davis, Buffalo Bills

Info & Intrigue: Just 24 and tipping the scales at 6’2″, 225, Gabriel Davis looks like he would be a nice complement to the Vikings’ receiver room. He can score with some decent proficiency (27 career TDs) and has a career yards-per-catch average sitting at 16.7 yards. For reference, Justin Jefferson’s career average sits at 15.0.

Read More: A Trio Cheaper Free Agents with the Potential to Do Damage for the Minnesota Vikings

3) Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Info & Intrigue: If the towering receiver wants a hefty payday, Minnesota probably looks elsewhere. If, however, there is a willingness to accept a more modest contract, then Evans makes sense as a veteran complement. Similar to Davis, Evans would bring some needed brawn to Minnesota’s receiver crew. The man has been in the NFL for a decade and has ten 1,000-yard seasons. Wildly impressive.

Read More: Reinforcing the Receiver Room by Adding a Humongous (Future) Hall of Famer

4) Josh Uche, New England Patriots

Info & Intrigue: A buy-low candidate. The simple fact that he’s coming from the Patriots means that there’s at least some intrigue. The likeliest outcome for Mr. Uche may be to snag a prove-it deal with the hope that a pile of 2024 sacks will lead to a pile of 2025 dollars. He had 3 sacks last year but was sitting at 11.5 in 2022.

Read More: A Trio of Buy-Low Defenders for the Vikings to Consider in Free Agency

5) Jon Runyan, Green Bay Packers

Info & Intrigue: The 26-year-old offensive lineman has picked up snaps at all five OL positions in his NFL career. Arguably his best work occurred while he was playing left guard, a spot that’s open within the Vikings’ front five. Time to plunder the Packers?

Read More: A Trio of Buy-Low Players to Help Kevin O’Connell’s Offense Take the Next Step

The Penny Pinchers

Syndication: The Tennessean
Tennessee Titans cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (0) tackles Miami Dolphins running back De’Von Achane (28) during the third quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla., Monday, Dec. 11, 2023.

1) Sean Murphy-Bunting, Tennessee Titans

Info & Intrigue: A versatile corner who is capable of lining up in the slot and along the outside. He has experience playing within a super aggressive defense given his experience working under Todd Bowles. Plus, he’s a Super Bowl champion. The defender is 26.

Read More: A Trio of Buy-Low Defenders for the Vikings to Consider in Free Agency

2) Shelby Harris, Cleveland Browns

Info & Intrigue: The man has been in the NFL for a long time, picking up work in Denver, Oakland, Seattle, and Cleveland across his nine NFL seasons. He can generate pressure from the interior of the defensive line, which is something Minnesota desperately needs. He’s getting close to the end of his career since he’s 32, but he’s not someone to outright dismiss. Minnesota tried something similar by adding Dean Lowry last offseason.

Read More: N/A

3) AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers

Info & Intrigue: A bruiser at running back, Dillon was chosen 62nd by the Packers in 2020. His yards-per-carry average has gone down in every season since being drafted: 5.3, then 4.3, then 4.1, and then (most recently) 3.4. He weighs 247 pounds, so he could be a complement to the smaller, shiftier Ty Chandler.

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4) Javon Kinlaw, San Francisco 49ers

Info & Intrigue: He’s 6’5″ and weighs 319 pounds. Back in 2020, Kinlaw got scooped up by the 49ers at 14th overall. And while he has been a disappointment, Kinlaw offers intriguing potential as a DT capable of creating pressure. The defender snagged 3.5 sacks last season. Kinlaw is 26.

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5) Nick Westbrook-Ekhine, Tennessee Titans

Info & Intrigue: Take a look at the word from PFF’s free agency piece: “Westbrook Ikhine is the vertical field stretcher with good run-blocking chops who can find a home in pretty much any offense as an auxiliary piece of a receiving corps.” He is 26 and has great size. In all likelihood, he’ll come (relatively) cheap.

Read More: N/A

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

K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.