The Vikings’ free-agent splash might be limited to Wednesday’s agreement with ex-Ravens nose tackle Michael Pierce, who will replace Linval Joseph on a deal charging $9 million annually.
But there are still plenty of holes left on the roster, so let’s take a look at remaining free agents who make sense as fits in Minnesota.
The Vikings’ cap space is among the least in the NFL, while the team could still re-sign some of its own players like kicker Dan Bailey and safety Andrew Sendejo. Many of these free agents listed below are expected to be had at a relative bargain. The Vikings had an estimated $13 million in cap space before Wednesday’s agreements with Pierce and backup quarterback Sean Mannion.
CB Johnathan Joseph (Texans) — Joseph, who turns 36 next month, is a free agent ahead of his 15th NFL season. He started for both Mike Zimmer’s Bengals (’08-’10) and Gary Kubiak’s Texans (’11-’13), giving the Vikings plenty of insight about a veteran addition to their vacated cornerback room. Joseph is coming off 11 starts with 13 pass deflections and one interception.
CB Nickell Robey-Coleman (Rams) — Robey-Coleman, a stout 28-year-old slot defender, had his 2020 option declined by Los Angeles. This means a potential signing would not count against the Vikings’ compensatory pick formula, as the new CBA recently changed. The Vikings previously inquired about signing Robey-Coleman during the 2017 offseason. They have another chance this month.
S Darian Stewart (Buccaneers) — Stewart, 31, may be an affordable veteran addition as a reclamation project. He followed Kubiak from the Ravens to the Broncos in 2014-2015 and started during Denver’s Super Bowl run. But he started just one game for the disappointing Bucs last season.
S Walt Aikens (Dolphins) — Aikens, 28, led the Dolphins in special teams snaps for five of his six NFL seasons. Four of those years came under Vikings special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf, who was a Dolphins assistant from 2013-2018. Familiarity could lead to a reunion in the secondary, where the Vikings lost a special teams leader in Jayron Kearse to the Lions in free agency.
G Ronald Leary (Broncos) — Leary, who turns 31 next month, had his 2020 option declined by the Broncos. So he, too, would not count against the Vikings’ comp pick formula. The Cowboys’ former left guard was a three-year starter in Denver, but each Broncos season ended in injury limiting him to 29 of 48 starts. Solid pass protector when healthy.
OT/G Joe Haeg (Colts) — Haeg, 26, is a Brainerd native who attended North Dakota State before becoming a 2016 fifth-round pick in Indianapolis. Started two seasons at right guard and right tackle. Relegated to a backup role after an ankle injury in 2018. Versatile, hometown product who could intrigue the Vikings.
Update: Joe Haeg reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3.3 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Friday morning.
G Max Garcia (Cardinals) — Garcia, 28, was a fourth-round pick by Gary Kubiak’s Broncos in 2015 out of Florida. Now that Kubiak stepped in as Vikings OC, would he stump for a reunion with his former left guard? Garcia didn’t play much last season while recovering from an ACL tear suffered November 2018.
WR Demaryius Thomas (Jets) — Another former Broncos draft pick, Thomas could do worse than the Vikings in seeking a team to revitalize the second half of his NFL career. Thomas, 32, caught 36 passes for 433 yards and a touchdown in 11 games for the Jets last season. He hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since 2016 and tore his Achilles in 2018.
WR Taylor Gabriel (Bears) — Gabriel, 29, was released by the Bears this offseason. So he, too, would not count against the Vikings’ comp pick formula if signed. The former Browns and Falcons burner missed seven games last year due to concussions. If healthy, he may be able to replace some of the speed left in the Stefon Diggs trade.
WR Jarius Wright (Panthers) — The former Vikings receiver is available again after the Panthers declined his 2020 option. Statistically, Wright’s most productive days are still in Minnesota, where the Vikings need reliable depth and a third-down catch once in a while.