8 Vikings that need to be gone before the 2023 season begins

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Adam Thielen
(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) Adam Thielen /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Adam Thielen /

Adam Thielen – WR

Adam Thielen‘s storybook career with the Vikings has reached its final chapter. The Minnesota native might not want to be done playing in the NFL, but his time in purple and gold should be over.

Thielen had solid numbers in 2022, with 70 catches for 716 yards and six touchdowns. But those numbers are not good enough for someone that is currently scheduled to have a cap hit of almost $20 million in 2023.

Thielen hasn’t finished with at least 1,000 receiving yards in a season since 2018, and at 32-years-old, he’s not about to have some sort of career resurgence. Maybe the Vikings can figure out a way to keep him around in 2023 at a lower cost, but in case they can’t, Minnesota fans should start preparing for a roster without the kid from Detroit Lakes.

Irv Smith Jr. – TE

Scheduled to become a free agent in 2023, some Vikings fans might want to see the team bring Irv Smith Jr. back for at least one more year.

But there’s no reason to do that, especially with the addition of T.J. Hockenson during the middle of the 2022 season. Hockenson quickly established himself as Minnesota’s No. 1 tight end and that’s a role he should keep in 2023.

Smith’s tenure with the Vikings has been filled with injuries and letdowns. He used to have a ton of promise, and he could still potentially have a solid career in the NFL, but Minnesota should let him go find out with another team.