Good morning Horners! The guys are back and ready to start the 2019 league year. After a couple months of stewing in the disappointment that was the 2018 season, Ted Glover, Drew Bunting, and Dave Stefano return to discuss the state of the Minnesota Vikings. They look at the timeline that ran up to selecting John DeFilippo and Kirk Cousins. The flaws in the decision making of selecting an offensive coordinator that was going to implement a style of offense not conducive to neither the quarterback not the group of offensive linemen that had to block for him, and ask why?
The Vikes have since hired the “Denver Mafia” lead by Gary Kubiak and including Rick Dennison. The whole group of new coaches will reportedly be focusing on implementing a more traditional West Coast Offense style of play that is said to be better suited to Kirk Cousins skills and a zone blocking scheme that should help in his protection and in the run game. Mike Zimmer in effect gets to get his guy who can mentor the Kevin Stefanski in the offensive coordinator role and ensure the offense is more productive while he can focus on the defense and the necessary future players needed to fill holes of departing free agents, cuts and trades.
The team will see quite a few new faces due to having to clear money to gain cap space. OTC reports the Vikings are sitting $5,340,897 available and that isn’t even enough to sign the rookie class. There is still need money for veteran free agents and eventually the practice squad to cover for the up and coming season. This means so veterans of the squad last year will have to be let go one way or another. With the Vikings not tagging Anthony Barr in any way, just gives you one example of needs that will have to be addressed in some fashion. On signing free agents, the Vikings have already started with in-house guys fullback CJ Ham and punter Matt Wile, signing them to veteran minimum deals.
With the offensive line being a factor of last season’s dismal results, the focus will be needed either through free agency, the draft, or both to shore it up. Last year’s rookie Brian O’Neill proved to be a bright spot, but he will have to be combined with 4 other guys in a more mobile system geared to take advantage of their skills. Mike Remmers looks to be a cap casualty, and a logical choice to free up some funds, but his right guard position will have to be filled. Pat Elflein should look forward to a full offseason of strengthening and his level of play improving to where fans thought it would be after his rookie season. The Riley Reiff will sit as the left tackle, for now, with the only questions being in the guard spots. That could change however depending on what is available to the Vikings in the draft and what shuffling of players coach Dennison decides to work best.
The NFL Combine is complete, free agency nears, and the draft will follow shortly after that. The guys at GMG hope you join in the laughs, the debate, and the hopes that come with being Minnesota Vikings fans. Tell us what you are hoping to see in the next month as the beloved Purple makes another run at getting better.
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