10 bold predictions for the Minnesota Vikings 2023 offseason

(Photo by Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Danielle Hunter
(Photo by Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Danielle Hunter /
6 of 11
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports) Dalvin Cook /

Several other fan favorites will be released

Thielen might not be the only popular player to have played his final game for the Vikings. If Minnesota wants to add impact talent in free agency, they’ll need to create more cap space, which could mean the release of several fan favorites.

Despite posting his fourth straight, 1,000-yard season, Dalvin Cook is a candidate for the chopping block after becoming one of the league’s worst running backs per Football Outsiders’ success rate. Entering his age-28 season, the Vikings might also want to get younger and cheaper at the position, handing the reigns to either pending free agent Alexander Mattison or rookie Ty Chandler.

Eric Kendricks could also be a cap casualty as he nears the end of his career. Kendricks had plenty of trouble keeping up with Saquon Barkley in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Giants but also carries a cap hit of $11.4 million next season.

If the Vikings release or trade Cook and Kendricks, it would clear up $17.4 million in cap space but would still leave them $7 million over the salary cap. Releasing other veterans such as Harrison Smith ($19.1 million cap number) or Za’Darius Smith ($16.9 million) could be on the table, but the Vikings will have to figure something out to have an effective offseason.