Vikings Depth Dwindles a Bit More as a Pair of Players Head Elsewhere

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Minnesota Vikings
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The major news of the day involved the Vikings pulling off a stunning trade to snag Houston’s 1st-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Otherwise, there have been some subtractions of internal talent, resulting in the Vikings depth dwindling a bit.

Earlier, we learned that Khyiris Tonga would be taking his talents to Arizona. The NFL’s insiders haven’t slowed down, though. Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network revealed that Troy Dye would be joining the Los Angeles Chargers while Jeremy Fowler of ESPN explained that Austin Schlottmann would be joining the New York Giants.

Vikings Depth Dwindles a Bit by Losing Dye and Schlottmann

Begin with the linebacker.

Dye was a 4th-round selection by the Vikings in the 2020 NFL Draft. Since then, he has been a depth linebacker and a menace on special teams. He’s built like a modern linebacker at 6’3″, 225. Partnering his length with some good speed results in him being an excellent option in kick and punt coverage.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings
Jan 15, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Troy Dye (45) reacts after a touchdown against the New York Giants during the third quarter of a wild card game at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport explains that joining the Chargers is about getting a better shot at starting: “#Vikings LB and special teamer Troy Dye is signing with the #Chargers on a 1-year deal, source said. MIN wanted him back, but Dye will have a chance to play more of a role on defense in LA.”

Dye leaves Minnesota with sixty games played across his four seasons, making eight starts. Defensively, he received his most snaps as a rookie when he got in on 202 plays. Over the past three years, Dye has played a smaller role on defense, but he’s been anywhere from 296-330 snaps on special teams.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Buffalo Bills
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws the ball against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) and defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga (95) during second half at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

And then there’s Mr. Schlottmann, who has been a pretty good backup center. Fowler’s description of the events: “Source: Guard Austin Schlottman to the #Giants on a two-year deal.” Quite possibly, the second season was what sealed the deal; after all, the life of a backup NFL lineman can involve a lot of change, so the possibility of sticking around a single spot can often be appealing.

Garrett Bradbury has worked through some injuries in recent seasons, so having someone reliable for the C2 job is a necessity. Across two seasons, Schlottmann snagged seven starts for the Vikings. He was active for twenty-five games.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Minnesota Vikings
Dec 17, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and guard Austin Schlottmann (65) warm up before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

During this past week, the Vikings addressed their offensive line depth by retaining do-it-all lineman Blake Brandel and swing tackle David Quessenberry. Minnesota was smart to keep them, but the o-line needs more reinforcements.

Last offseason, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah didn’t draft a single offensive lineman, but that’s unlikely to be true of the upcoming draft. The Vikings have nine draft picks in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference 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.