5 biggest surprises of Minnesota Vikings free agency in 2023

(Photo by Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Oliver
(Photo by Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports) Josh Oliver /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Alexander Mattison /

A high number of returning players

Prior to the start of free agency, it was expected there would be a mass exodus of longtime Vikings as Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell truly begin making this roster theirs. In a shocking turn of events, a large portion of Vikings are actually returning to the team, even if their play wasn’t that great in 2022.

The first one that was a surprise was the team restructuring Jordan Hicks. He was very poor in coverage a season ago, but decent against the run. The team apparently prefers Hicks over a bargain veteran. Maybe Flores has plans for him that don’t exploit his weakness in pass coverage.

Other players who were expected to be gone but were re-signed were; kicker Greg Joseph, center Garrett Bradbury, offensive tackle Oli Udoh, tight end Ben Ellefson, running back Alexander Mattison, and center Austin Schlottmann. Joseph was shocking because he wasn’t very good last year, and there were plenty of viable options on the free-agent market.

Alexander Mattison staying around was also a surprise as the team just didn’t use him much, and it was assumed he’d look to be a starter somewhere else. Perhaps that’ll be in Minnesota if the team ends up dealing Dalvin Cook.

The Vikings will have some new faces in 2023, but there will also be many more familiar faces on the roster than initially assumed when free agency began.