4 former Vikings players who have thrived elsewhere in 2022

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) Jerick McKinnon
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) Jerick McKinnon /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) Xavier Woods /

Xavier Woods – S

One couldn’t blame Xavier Woods for looking elsewhere in pursuit of a bigger payday in 2022 free agency. The safety bounced back in the best possible way working alongside Harrison Smith, but a one-year deal meant the Vikings had to part ways, given the limited resources at their disposal.

Woods ended up signing a multi-year deal with the Carolina Panthers. After missing most of OTAs dealing with a family issue, the former sixth-round selection immediately made his presence felt, improving communication on the backend and providing Jeremy Chinn with a stable partner he didn’t have the benefit of in 2021.

This brought a series of outstanding performances right out of the gate. Things tailed off slightly for Woods over the second half of 2022, but the Panthers must be happy with the return on their investment overall.

With the prospect of a new head coach coming into the fold, Carolina could be set for a huge shake-up across the board. However, the form demonstrated by Woods throughout his first campaign with the franchise indicates his future will be the last thing on the team’s mind.

Considering how bleak things looked for Woods after a torrid season with the Dallas Cowboys in 2020, he deserves endless credit for galvanizing his career ever since.