It’s that time of year, from the highs and lows that we as Vikings fans seem to experience every year, it’s finally time to sit back and let the off season fun begin.
The Vikings are sitting at $57 million in cap space, which is 7th best in the league, and with a few veteran cuts (possibly Sharrif Floyd/Brian Robison/Latavius Murray) they could be sitting upward of $63 million. That’s plenty of space to pick a QB and build up the trenches. Here’s a few options at QB I see as feasible:
- Kirk Cousins
- Teddy Bridgewater
- Case Keenum
Those are the realistic 3 in my opinion, and there’s concerns with all of them — Kirk will take over half of this year’s cap space, assuming he demands close to or more than $30 million per year, but he has thrown over 4,000 yards the past 3 seasons and sometimes looked the part of a top 10 QB. Kirk also had the 4th lowest INT % from a clean pocket in 2017 and had the 3rd best deep pass rating in the league, you decide if that’s worth it in your eyes.
Teddy was looking primed to break out in year 3 after his final pre season game against the Chargers in 2016, and then obviously the injury happened, Teddy could be the “cheapest” option, but do you trust the knee? Do the coaches? We all know Zimmer loves Teddy, and with the offense finally being perfectly catered to his strengths with John DeFilippo running the show, Dalvin Cook, an improved O-line and Diggs/Thielen on the outsides, Teddy could have the highest ceiling of all available QB’s this off-season.
Then there’s Keenum. We know exactly what he can do and what he can’t do, he played better than anyone expected him to, but he also had wide receivers who were 1st and 7th in contested catch %. Which means while Keenum threw some nice passes, he also threw alot of inaccurate passes that forced Diggs/Thielen to make contested catches. He could be franchise tagged for an easier answer at QB, but with Zimmer being non committed to Keenum raises a red flag, if he was their guy they would’ve made it known, but after seeing what John DeFilippo did with Wentz and Foles, who knows what he could do to improve Keenum’s game.
Now let’s move on to the trenches, there’s some big names they could target on both sides of the ball in free agency, and who they pursue depends on how much they spend on a QB. Rick usually doesn’t make big money splashes so personally I see Josh Sitton and Zach Fulton being their targets at Guard, Sitton being the first choice and would be the day 1 starter assuming Berger retires.
On defense the name that makes the most sense is Sheldon Richardson. He could cost $8-9 million per year but he’s the missing piece on the Vikings D-line. A dominant 3 tech to free up Linval from double teams is a nightmare for any o-line.
Other free agent targets?
Here’s a few names to watch for:
- Trey Burton (TE) – would be a huge addition, will be somewhat expensive but can stretch the field and DeFilippo is a familiar face
- Taylor Gabriel (WR) – Diggs and Thielen are an amazing duo and catch everything, but the one dynamic the offense is missing is a true deep threat, Gabriel provides that and wont be an expensive addition
- Nickel Robey-Coleman (CB) – Outside of Rhodes/Waynes/Mac the CB position lacks depth, sure Newman wants to come back but at 40 years old you can’t count on him for depth
Mock drafts are pretty fluid this time of year until free agency gets going and until the combine is over, I couldn’t tell you with certainty who I think they’ll target, but if I had to guess who they’ll be targeting in the first 3 rounds, these are my guys:
1st round, pick 30: Isaiah Wynn G – Georgia
The film on Wynn is some of the best OL film in the draft outside of Quenton Nelson, he’s got a bully mentality and is always looking for work and finishes blocks. (#77)
2nd round, pick 62: Jessie Bates III S – Wake Forest
Sendejo will be 31 to start the 2018 season, Bates is the perfect ball hawking saftey to put next to Harrison Smith, his character, route recognition, athleticism and IQ make him the perfect Zimmer type player. He’s also a returner so he’s always dangerous with the ball in his hands.
Round 3, pick 92: Royce Freeman RB – Oregon
After McKinnon’s comments on wanting to be “the guy” so we might not see him back, and If Murray doesn’t want to re-negotiate his contract he could be cut thanks to the team option in his contract, Freeman’s build is similar to Murray but he’s a better athlete, can make lateral cuts that Murray doesn’t. Freeman also became the FBS’s all time leading rusher this season.
That’s where my mind is at currently on the Vikings before free agency starts, let me know what you think and if you agree/disagree with any of my opinions stated above, thank you for reading! Tweet at me –> my twitter
(Kirk Cousins Vikings edit courtesy of Vikings Graphics)