The 32-year-old Adams started last season with the Carolina Hurricanes before being dealt to the Coyotes. He had nine points (1-8) in 66 games last season.
Adams won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006. He has 134 points (59-75) in 513 career games.
"We're getting a veteran player who is extremely versatile, is a good skater and is a very good face-off man," said Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon. "Kevyn has won a Stanley Cup and is a proven leader."
Adams will earn US$650,000 next season while Vrbata will collect $1.225 million.
Vrbata appeared in 77 games for the Blackhawks last season and racked up 41 points (14-27). He has 170 points (75-95) in 346 career games.