Free Agent No. 4
Antoine Winfield, Jr. - S (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
It's likely that Sunday marked the end of Harrison Smith's tenure with the Vikings. Heading into 2024, he is due $14.5 million in base salary and is scheduled to hold a cap hit of over $19 million.
Unless Smith agrees to a significant restructuring, it's in the best interest of both parties to part ways. What better way to move on from a Vikings legend than to replace him with another Vikings legend's son and hometown hero, Antoine Winfield, Jr.?
Winfield should have been a Viking before, but former general manager Rick Spielman chose to pay Anthony Harris instead. The current Minnesota staff now has the opportunity to correct Spielman's error and add one of the most versatile safeties in football to their defense.
Winfield has the ability to play both safety positions as well as nickel, making him an extremely valuable asset if the Vikings sign him. Money-wise, he's expected to command a salary between $14 to $17 million per season, depending on how the safety market shapes up this offseason.
If the Vikings plan on rebuilding their defensive line through the draft, then it makes sense to focus on rebuilding the secondary through free agency, with Winfield being a home run signing for Kevin O'Connell and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Winfield was snubbed for the Pro Bowl in 2023, but he should have been a shoo-in.
He may even receive All-Pro consideration this season, and if he hits the open market, the Vikings should be aggressive and try to bring him back home.