Eight teams remain in the NFL’s postseason tournament, and the eliminated franchises are conducting roster housekeeping to prepare for 2023 and beyond.
The Minnesota Vikings lost to the New York Giants last weekend at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Wildcard Round, ending Kevin O’Connell’s first season with the club and kickstarting his second offseason.
Vikings Lose Offensive Lineman to Falcons
The Vikings signed various players to ‘futures’ contracts, and one of their own was plucked by the Atlanta Falcons on Wednesday — offensive guard Kyle Hinton.
Hinton, 24, was drafted by the Vikings in the 7th Round of the 2020 NFL Draft and played two games for the franchise. Mostly a practice squad personality for three seasons, Hinton saw special teams action in a Week 17 loss at the Green Bay Packers and was showcased for 34 offensive snaps in Week 18 at the Chicago Bears. And that limited sample size was evidently enough for Atlanta to sign on the dotted line.
Hinton was a four-time All-MIAA selection at Washburn, a Divison II school, and a 2019 2nd-team All-America in track and field honoree. He went to high school in Arizona.
The Falcons underwent a transitional year in 2022, finishing with a 7-10 record behind a quarterback combination of veteran Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder. In fact, the 7-10 record was actually quite impressive, as many pundits predicted the Falcons would finish around four or five wins. Equipped with the eighth overall pick in April’s draft, it is unclear if Atlanta will splash with a rookie quarterback in addition to Ridder, roll with what they have, or explore free agency for a QB1.
For the offensive line, Atlanta’s group was surprising in 2022, ranking as fifth-best in the NFL per Pro Football Focus‘ year-end OL grades. The Vikings ranked 13th. These are the offensive guards currently associated with the Falcons roster:
- Chris Lindstrom
- Matt Hennessy
- Kyle Hinton
- Colby Gossett
- Jalen Mayfield
- Justin Schaffer
- Elijah Wilkinson
And after the Hinton loss, this is the Vikings standing with offensive guards:
- Ezra Cleveland
- Ed Ingram
- Chris Reed
So, the Vikings OG cupboard is skimpy and will be enhanced via free agency and the NFL Draft.
The Falcons have five former Vikings associated with the roster as of January 18th, Jaleel Johnson (DL), Dylan Mabin (CB), Cordarrelle Patterson (RB), MyCole Pruitt (TE) — and, of course, Hinton.
The Vikings signed these players to futures contracts this week as the Falcons did with Hinton:
- Trishton Jackson (WR)
- Blake Proehl (WR)
- Nick Muse (TE)
- Josh Sokol (C)
- Benton Whitley (OLB)
- Tay Gowan (CB)
Atlanta enters the offseason in fabulous shape for cap space, with the league’s third most available dollars to spend on free agents.
The Vikings and Falcons play each other in 2023 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).