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 Eric Espada/Getty Images) Za’Darius Smith /

Lack of trades

During the first week of free agency, a lot of trade rumors were swirling around the Vikings. Dalvin Cook being moved was one that had been rumored, and there were plenty of rumblings that a pretty hot market was developing for him.

Za’Darius Smith getting moved was also rumored, as he said goodbye to the fans on social media prior to free agency starting, and put his house on the market. He also was due a large roster bonus, so the thought was he would be traded before that hit, as it would free up cap space.

It’s been almost a week since those trade rumors were flying rampant on the internet, but nothing has happened. This is surprising because, number one, the team could use more draft picks.

The Vikings only have five choices after getting a compensatory sixth-rounder a few weeks ago, and adding a few more would give them a chance to find a potential starter and add quality depth to thin positions on the roster.

There was speculation that Cook could garnish maybe a fourth this year and a late-round pick in 2024. Smith was thought to be worth as high as a third-round choice in 2023.

The other reason it was surprising to not trade either player is the fact it would have freed up money to spend on some other free agents.  Instead of making room, the Vikings ended up giving more money to a player who wants to be gone, and another who may not be here more than one more season.

These deals could still be forthcoming, but the fact they didn’t take place during the first wave of free agency when the top talent was still out there to be had was a bit head-scratching.