5 free agents the Vikings should circle back to after the 2024 NFL Draft

Free-agent DL Calais Campbell
Free-agent DL Calais Campbell / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

With the 2024 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, it's time for the Minnesota Vikings to focus on the free-agent market, once again, to round out the rest of their roster for the 2024 season.

Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has already addressed multiple needs this year. However, there still seem to be some question marks surrounding a few position groups on Minnesota's roster.

With that being said, let's look at a few of the remaining free agents that could fit in well with this current group of Vikings.

Free agents the Minnesota Vikings should circle back to after the 2024 NFL Draft

Halapoulivaati Vaitai - OG

2023 Team: Detroit Lions

The Vikings still have a huge question mark about who will play left guard in 2024. Dalton Risner remains unsigned, but we will get to him later.

Blake Brandel received a nice payday earlier this year, but we aren't certain he is who the coaching staff has pinpointed to man the left side of the interior. Free-agent guard and Super Bowl champion Halapoulivaati Vaitai is someone who would be an upgrade over Brandel.

However, Vaitai’s injury history is very concerning for an offensive lineman about to turn 31 this summer. The former member of the Philadelphia Eagles and Detroit Lions should be relatively cheap considering how late into the offseason we are, and his injury concerns are most likely the sole reason he's still on the market.

With that being said, when Vaitai is on the field, he has shown flashes of dominance that could significantly help this Vikings' offense next season. At worst, he would provide great depth to a depleted unit for 2024.

Dalton Risner - OG

2023 Team: Minnesota Vikings

The mystery surrounding Risner remaining a free agent post-NFL Draft for the second straight year remains to be solved. He is an above-average guard who one could argue is a starter on at least two-thirds of the teams in the NFL.

So, why has nobody shown a willingness to add Risner to their team? Is it Money? Is it that Risner is just being extremely picky? It's probably the former. It makes too much sense. A guard as good as Risner should not be on the market still, but he's also someone that a team shouldn't break the bank with either.

There's no doubt Minnesota's offensive line took a huge leap forward this past season when Risner was in the starting lineup. More so, the Vikings felt they needed to trade away Ezra Cleveland, the team's starting right guard for the last three seasons, after seeing Risner out on the field.

Minnesota is a better team with Risner as their left guard, and Adofo-Mensah should be trying to hash out any differences the two parties may have to bring him back.

Hassan Ridgeway - DL

2023 Team: Houston Texans

At this point in the offseason, the interior defensive line group of free agents consists of aging veterans and roster-bubble guys. The Vikings still have a huge need on the interior of the defensive line and within this group, there are two guys that stood out among the rest, with one being former Eagles and Houston Texans defender Hassan Ridgeway.

Ridgeways’s career started as a fourth-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 2016 before being traded to Philadelphia and a short stay with the San Francisco 49ers before spending the 2023 season with DeMeco Ryans in Houston.

Ridgeway would be nothing more than a depth guy, but with the lack of talent on Minnesota's interior of the defensive line, one could make a case that Ridgeway would be a Day 1 starter over the likes of Jerry Tillery and possibly Jonathan Bullard.

Ridgeway has been plagued by injuries for the last four seasons, which is likely the main reason he still remains unsigned. If the Vikings are looking to add a player on a very cheap deal that could have a big impact on their defense, it could be him.

Don’t expect Ridgeway to put up big sack numbers, as he's only had 10.5 sacks in his entire career since entering the NFL in 2016. Ridgeway is a better run defender than he is a pass rusher, but for a Minnesota unit that struggled to defend both the run and pass in 2023, Ridgeway would be a welcome edition.

Calais Campbell - DL

2023 Team: Atlanta Falcons

The best remaining player on this list is defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Campbell spent last season with the Atlanta Falcons while trying to keep his illustrious career alive.

The savvy veteran, at this point in his career, is looking to cap off his playing days with a world championship. At 37-years-old, Campbell will turn 38 before the end of next season, and as he approaches 40, there are questions surrounding how much more he has left in the tank.

If the Vikings front office is serious about contending during the 2024 season and beyond, adding a player like Calais Campbell would be a smart idea. He would be an immediate upgrade to what Minnesota currently has on the interior of their defensive line. Campbell has played the majority of his career as a 3-4 defensive lineman and would fit nicely in Brian Flores’ defense.

The former Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner proved a lot of people wrong this past season who had said he had nothing left to give an NFL franchise, ending the 2023 season with 6.5 sacks and just under 50 tackles. If Campbell could replicate his season last year with Atlanta in 2024 with Minnesota there’s no doubt this Vikings defense could finish the season as a top-10 unit.

On top of his play on the field, Campbell would be a huge mentor for the young guys on the interior of that defensive line in terms of their development. Very similar to a veteran quarterback mentoring a rookie quarterback, Campbell could come in and help some of Minnesota's young guys try to reach their potential.

If Campbell is serious about continuing his career, he shouldn’t command more than $5 million dollars for the entire 2024 season.

Dalvin Cook - RB

2023 Teams: New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens

Hello there, old friend. The Minnesota Vikings reuniting with running back Dalvin Cook would be an interesting proposition for 2024. Aaron Jones and Ty Chandler are the clear leaders of that unit, but beyond that, there’s not much depth in the Vikings running back room.

The Vikings moved on from Cook last offseason after failing to come to a negotiation on a new contract structure. Cook and his agent felt he was still an elite top-tier running back and deserved top-tier running back money, while the Vikings believed the opposite, and they were right.

Not many teams seem to be interested in the former Pro Bowl running back at the moment, but with the new kickoff rules, Cook could be a valuable asset in the return game for the Vikings as well as a solid No. 2 or No. 3 option for Kevin O’Connell and his offense. Now if you told a Vikings fan in 2021 that Aaron Jones and Delvin Cook would be on the same team at some point. You’d probably think that person crazy.

The issue with the Vikings' current running back room is that no one knows if Jones is going to stay healthy and whether or not Chandler‘s pass blocking will improve. If Minnesota can insert Cook into an offense that he’s already familiar with and one where he is a much better pass blocker than Chandler, then Adofo-Mensah should seriously consider signing him to a deal.

Cook is still loved by Vikings fans, and we should all welcome him back with open arms in 2024. 

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