3 free agents the Vikings (might) regret not signing in 2023

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) Jamaal Williams
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) Jamaal Williams /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) T.J. Edwards /

T.J. Edwards – LB

  • Team for 2023: Chicago Bears
  • New Contract: 3 years, $19 million

Before free agency even began, the Vikings made the difficult decision to release linebacker Eric Kendricks, someone who had been with the team since he was drafted in 2015.

After Kendricks was let go, many expected the same fate for Minnesota linebacker Jordan Hicks. But instead of moving on from Hicks, the Vikings decided to keep the veteran defender after he agreed to a slight pay cut (2023 cap hit went from $6.5 million to $5 million).

Apparently, the Vikings appear to currently be fine with trotting out Hicks and 2022 third-round pick Brian Asamoah as their two starting inside linebackers.

Transitioning Asamoah into a starter always seemed like the plan for 2023. But Minnesota keeping Hicks around after an underwhelming 2022 season is a bit perplexing.

Instead of sticking with the veteran linebacker for another year, the Vikings could have cut him and used the money they saved on signing someone like T.J. Edwards.

Edwards just signed a contract with the Chicago Bears that will pay him an average of $6.5 million over the next three years. That is a contract that Minnesota could have easily afforded, and Edwards would have been an excellent upgrade over Hicks.

With the Philadelphia Eagles in 2022, the 26-year-old Edwards accumulated 159 tackles (10 for a loss), seven pass breakups, two sacks, and one fumble recovery. Among qualifying linebackers, he received the sixth-best defensive grade from PFF after the 2022 season, just a year after finishing with the 10th-best defensive grade from PFF.

But instead of figuring out a way to sign Edwards, the Vikings are going to stick with Hicks for 2023 and just hope that his struggles last season were mainly due to the poor scheme that was used by former Minnesota defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.