5 free agents that could start for the Vikings in 2023

Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins
Former Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
3 of 6

Free Agent No. 2

John Johnson - S

2022 Team: Cleveland Browns

John Johnson, in no way, would be considered a "big" signing for the Vikings. However, Johnson fits the bill for what Kwesi Adofo-Mensah looks for in a player, as he's under 30 years of age and he's a former Day 2 draft pick that hasn't exactly reached his potential.

Johnson was drafted in the third round by the Rams in 2017, and he played a total of 54 games for Sean McVay in Los Angeles before he signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2021.

Minnesota currently has Lewis Cine and Cam Bynum battling for the starting free-safety position in Brian Flores' defense. Last season, Bynum struggled, and he finished as one of the lowest-graded free safeties in all of football by PFF. Cine saw his rookie year cut short after he suffered a significant leg injury in Week 4 that caused him to miss the final 13 games of the 2022 season.

Early indications out of this year's Vikings mini-camp were that Cine spent the majority of his time with the second-team defense and special teams while Bynum split reps on the first-team defense with Josh Metellus, who seems to be Flores' "swiss army knife".

Johnson would have a real chance to come in and take over the starting free-safety position opposite of Smith if Minnesota decided to bring him in.

The Vikings signing Johnson would indicate the front office and coaching staff have likely lost all hope with Cine though, which would be less than ideal. But once again, if Minnesota plans on competing in 2023, they need to bring in experienced players on both sides of the ball to fill their holes.