The Minnesota Vikings’ free agent moves in the 2022 free agency period have been strategical. The Vikings have valued past player-coach relationships — five of their seven signings have been coached by their current staff.
In the first year so far, G.M Kwesi Adofo-Mensah inherited a roster with many holes. He had cap space of negative 15 million in late January when he got the job. Since then, the Vikings have extended Kirk Cousins and restructured Harrison Smith and Adam Thielen. They also cut Michael Pierce and picked up Danielle Hunter’s roster bonus which created space and limited flexibility.
Vikings Free Agent Additions
With the cap room they created, they splurged once in free agency and that was when they signed outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith. The common theme in most of these singings is familiarity between players and coaches. The Vikings are valuing past relationships more than anything so far. The moves directly connected to the coaching staff are Harrison Philips from Buffalo and Jordan Hicks from Arizona. Philips went to Stanford as Kwesi and Hicks played in the NFC West where Head coach Kevin O’Connell and Offensive coordinator Wes Philips came from.
How Are The Coaches And Vikings Players Connected?
The pair of Greenbay Packers we signed are outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith and cornerback Chandon Sullivan. Both are previous players for outside linebacker coach Mike Smith and assistant head coach Mike Pettine. Smith signed a three-year deal and Chandon Sullivan signed a one-year deal.
Nate Hairston, a five-year veteran cornerback worked with defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.
Austin Schlottmann, guard from Denver, played under assistant offensive line coach Justin Rascati and run game coordinator Curtis Mudkins.
Finally, Johnny Mundt, blocking tight end, played for Wes Philips and Kevin O’Connell in Los Angeles.
While none of these moves are believed to affect the team on the field, their full depth, and scheme fit. We won’t be trying to fit squares into circles and can help with the installation of new schemes for past players as they can lead by example. Taking this approach might also take out other free agents and not garner them a look at all.
According to overthecap.com, the Vikings have about 10.5 million left in cap space to sign players and rookies. With no new reports of any, restructures or extensions to current players that might be all the spending Vikings might have to work with. The names the Vikings have signed are not household names (minus Philips, Hicks, and Smith ). If you are trying to guess who the next Viking will be you’ll probably have to go deep into the weeds. You’ll be checking the player’s background and what system and who they played for. Their past might be the answer to their futures in the NFL.