If you think this is going to be an article where I talk about the Vikings signing a big name player, then this is not the article for you. In the past few days, the Vikings have cut players such as Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph, and David Morgan. By cutting these players the team freed up over $28 million. The Vikings now have $20 million to work within free agency and the draft. Now let’s begin with the Minnesota Vikings’ Offensive Free Agency preview.
The 2020 Quarterback free agency class is deep compared to years past. Players like Tom Brady, Dak Prescott, and Jameis Winston headline the class. However, we have our guy in Kirk Cousins and we will not be going after any of these guys. Sean Mannion, who was our backup in 2019, is a free agent though. The worst outcome for the Vikings, in this case, is looking for other options to be Kirk’s backup in 2020. We know Kirk is our guy, and so does the world. I wouldn’t be opposed to the Vikings drafting a backup QB, but I think they go the veteran route. Rick Spielman has a history of signing veteran backup quarterbacks, and I think he goes this route again. Whether or not it is Sean Mannion is to be determined, but I think we go with a veteran to be Kirk’s backup.
There isn’t a lot to talk about here as we all know who our top two running backs will be this year. Both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison will be back for 2020. The duo combined for 1,597 yards in 2019 and look to be a great duo for years to come. However what is not certain in 2020 is the man who blocked in front of them, which of course is fullback C.J. Ham. Ham made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and earned a new contract. Whether or not the Vikings choose to pay him is to be determined, but Ham will get paid by a team. Ham has worked from an undrafted free agent to a Pro Bowler, and he showed how valuable he can be to an NFL team in 2019. I really want the Vikings to pay him, but it may not be a reality.
Everyone that knows even a hint of football knows who our top two receivers are. Stefon Diggs will be a Viking in 2020 and so will Adam Thielen. Former seventh-round pick Olabisi Johnson will be in purple as well. The only questions surrounding this position is who will be the Vikings fourth receiver and on. The wide receiver position is very deep in the upcoming draft, and I’m all for taking a chance late on a guy on day three. Players like Laquon Treadwell and Michael Floyd have been WR4’s in the past, and they get 15 catches per year if they’re lucky. If 14 or 19 go down for the season, we’re screwed and that’s all there is to it.
Kyle Rudolph has been our starting Tight End since I was in the eighth grade. Irv Smith Jr.is Kyle’s backup and is the Vikings’ future starting tight end. With the release of David Morgan, there isn’t a lot to talk about. Tyler Conklin will be in his third season this year, and there isn’t much the Vikings will do. They may sign a 4th tight end, but it won’t be anything of note. I really hope they bring back David Morgan as he is a very good blocking tight end.
Left Side Of The Line
Let’s start off by going from left to right on the offensive line. Riley Reiff will be 31 years old in 2020 and in his fourth season with the team. He has a dead cap hit of $4.4 million and could be cut. If a player falls to the Vikings in the draft, then Reiff’s days in Minnesota may be over. However for the sake of this article, don’t expect the Vikings to do much in free agency for the Left Tackle position. Pat Elflein will be entering his fourth season and he had a rough 2019. He looked great in 2017, but he fractured his ankle in the NFC Championship game. He had a rough 2018 (as did most of the offensive line), and will be entering a contract year. Due to the fact he is still on his rookie contract, he will not be cut and will be a Viking in 2020.
Garrett Bradbury had an up and down rookie year in 2019, to say the least. However he was our first-round pick just one year ago, and he will be the starter in 2020. The only thing the Vikings may do this offseason is sign a veteran backup. Signing a veteran backup to help Garrett’s progression would be key, and a great move if Rick can get it done. Truthfully I don’t think we sign any Center’s as we are too much against the cap. I think both Spielman and Zimmer would love to get this done, but we have more pressing needs than a backup center.
Right Side Of The Line
Josh Kline had a solid 2019 and so did Brian O’Neill. Both of these players will start on the right side of the line in 2020. The Vikings drafted Dru Samia in the fourth-round of the 2019 draft, and he will backup Kline in 2020. However, Brian O’Neill’s backup Rashod Hill is an unrestricted free agent and will test the waters of free agency. Rashod will not be a priority to re-sign, and I think the Vikings go elsewhere. Finding a backup tackle isn’t that hard, and they may want to pick one up in the draft. Hill is 28 years old and isn’t getting any younger. Whether or not the Vikings sign a tackle or draft one is to be determined, but O’Neill will have a new backup in 2020.
Don’t expect the Vikings to be too active during free agency. They have several players on defense that need new contracts such as Anthony Harris, and Trae Waynes. The Vikings may sign a backup quarterback or a backup lineman, but they won’t be signing any big-name players during this period. I think this will be the least active free agency for the Vikings in quite some time.
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