The Vikings put on one hell of a show last year, as they lived up to our expectations and won the NFC North. Behind a bully defense, an elite running back, and a promising young quarterback, the Vikings are continuing to inch closer to becoming a contender. However, with AP getting older, they have to start build fast. Here’s what they can do to become a contender.
Main Players to Cut
WR Mike Wallace (**Already Announced He Will Be Cut – $11.5 Million)
LT Matt Kalil ($11.096 Million)
C John Sullivan ($5.166 Million) – With Joe Berger performing so well last season, it’s hard to retain Sullivan, who is coming off of back surgery.
QB Shaun Hill ($3.25 Million)
Total Cap Space Saved – $31.012 Million – That’s a lot to work with
Players To Re-Sign
Nobody, none of the main building blocks of the Vikings are Free Agents.
OG Mike Harris – He isn’t elite by any means, but this line was a mess last year. He was at least consistent, and he’s only 27. Should be cheap, he’s a good option.
For the Right Price
CB Terence Newman – If he doesn’t retire, hopefully he’d sign back for a team friendly deal. He’s still effective, but he’s 37 years old, and the Vikings are deep in the secondary. No reason to shell out for him.
RB Matt Asiata – A nice, tough minded backup running back. Still, with AP and McKinnon, he isn’t necessary to bring back.
Like every team, the Vikings should look for cheap depth pieces. This will focus on the main pieces they should look for. A few of the right big named signings could work wonders.
Find a Safety to Pair with Harrison Smith
Whether it’s Eric Weddle, Eric Berry, Rodney McLeod, Reggie Nelson or any of the other talented safeties available, the Vikings should look to add a smart, seasoned player who will be the final piece of the Secondary.
Fortify the Offensive Line (Preferably a Franchise LT)
They have their quarterback of the future. They have arguably the best running back of the late 2000s. There are no real game-breaking wide receivers available on the market aside from Alshon, who will likely be re-signed. So where should the money go? The offensive line. Build it. Here are some of the top-notch guys who could help, whether it’s experienced vets who would stay short-term or potential franchise players: OG Richie Incognito, OG Evan Mathis, OG Jeff Allen, OG Ramon Foster, OT Cordy Glenn, OT Mitchell Schwartz, OT Ryan Schraeder, OT Donald Penn. These are the cream of the crop.
Draft Needs (WR, O-Line, CB)
The Vikings sit tight at #23. Not a terrible situation, I like a lot of the late first round prospects. The Vikings could desperately use another playmaking wide receiver, as well as some more young cornerback prospects. If they don’t find a safety in free agency, they could reach on a few here as well. Here’s my big board for the Vikings.
- OT/OG Taylor Decker (Ohio State)
- WR Josh Doctson (TCU)
- WR Corey Coleman (Baylor)
- WR Mike Thomas (Ohio State)
- WR Will Fuller (Notre Dame)
- OG/OT Cody Whithair
- OG/OT Vadal Alexander
- SS Vonn Bell (Ohio State)
- FS Darian Thompson (Boise State)
- DT Kenny Clark (UCLA)
Keep in mind, this isn’t how I rank these players. It’s based on a) likelihood they’ll be available and b) need. I added Clark because he’s a projected late first rounder AND the Vikings seem to like UCLA players. It’d be cool to see him, Kendricks, and Barr all playing together.
Is all of this possible? Yes. Is it likely? Probably not. But if the Vikings can add 2-3 impact offensive lineman and a playmaking wide receiver, and Bridgewater can elevate his game, we could be looking at a dark horse Super Bowl contender.
Image Credit – http://www.rantsports.com/nfl/2013/09/07/predicting-minnesota-vikings-week-1-breakout-performer/