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Free Agency Focus, 2018


Quarterback

Jeff

I think the Vikings are sitting in a good position. That seems weird to say knowing that the only quarterback signed on their roster is Kyle Sloter. I think that though because the Vikings have the 7th most cap space in the NFL. Having that much unspent money after going to the NFC Championship game is a wonderful spot to be. Not to mention the Vikings have less than $700,000 in dead money weighing them down. In my opinion, Kirk Cousins is better than Case Keenum but would I rather have Cousins with his price tag? Probably not. If we can give Cousins the incentive of a smaller amount of guaranteed money with the possibility of going to the Super Bowl, he would entice me.

I think the Vikings will do a Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag on Keenum. That would save the Vikings some money on the front end and give them the possibility of trading him later. If Keenum and the Vikings decide to part ways, Minnesota would get two first round picks. Franchising Keenum would allow the Vikings to see if the undrafted wonder man can replicate his success from 2017.

Matt

I've been in Kirk's camp for a while now. With the rumors of the Jets throwing NBA level money at him, I've become conflicted about it though. 25 - 30 million for the best quarterback on the market, who is arguably also a top 10 player at the position, is something I could live with. 50+ million in any given year is way too much for anybody...and I mean ANYBODY!

Beyond backing the truck up to Cousins' parents house I don't know what the best solution may be. Maybe Teddy can really play but I'd only want him back in a true competition. Think Russell Wilson winning the job in Seattle right away. Matt Flynn wasn't good yet he was brought in there to start but was beat out by the diminutive one. After looking at the list there isn't a guy out there that fits the bill. I mean, come on, if they're going to pay 20 or so million to a guy just to compete with Ted then why not go a little further and get a guy who shouldn't have to compete for the job. I vented it out yesterday and am much more clear minded about the whole issue...still just want it to be over though!

Runningback

Jeff

I love Jerick McKinnon, but he deserves a bigger role in the NFL. I think the Vikings will offer him a contract but that another team will give him bigger money. I see the Vikings going into the free agency pile and picking up another great pass catcher. Charles Sims from Tampa Bay would be a good fit. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry last season and had 35 catches for 249 yards. He’s only 27 years old and with Murray and Cook already signed he seems to be a good fit and a great 3rd string running back. I would also like to see the Vikings draft another rookie running back. Murray is a free agent come 2020 and I would like to see a younger running back core looking into the future.

Matt

I'll keep this one shorter: derail the Train, let the Jet fly away, invest into the position with rookies. If they opted to sign a veteran I wouldn't be upset about it but nothing more than 3 million and I would prefer less than 2 for a veteran backup. It's the most replaceable position in the game and should be treated that way, especially with a possibly special back already on the roster.

Wide Reciever

Jeff

The only free agent receiver the Vikings have in 2018 is Michael Floyd. I am a little weary of addressing this position in the draft knowing Spielman's history of drafting wide outs. In addition to that, I’ve always liked signing free agents from teams in our division. If we can take away talent from their team and add it to ours, I’m all for that. The guy I would like to see the Vikings sign (If we sign Kirk Cousins) is Jordy Nelson. I’ve heard he's a great guy on and off the field. He would fit as a leader and as a great deep threat. Plus he would allow Thielen and Diggs to thrive in the slot. He might be a contract nightmare but if the Packers cut him, I say he’s worth the risk.

Matt

I want no part of Jordy Nelson, let me just get that out of the way right now. I agree that M. Floyd will no longer have to deal with the obnoxious tax rate in MN. There are no FA receivers that I would pound on a table for the Vikings to sign but if they think there's one that could be a second outside receiver I wouldn't object. Maybe a Torrey Smith kind of receiver could compliment who we already have but I think receiver is the most deep and talented position group on the roster right now. The fact that I can say that with a straight face is amazing considering how bad the receivers have been for the Vikings going back almost two decades.

Tight End

Jeff


Matt

Do I think that they could upgrade from Rudolph? Yes. Do I think they will manage to do that with any of the free agents or with a rookie? No. Not there isn't a guy or two that may hit the market that wouldn't be better than Rudy but I don't want to spend the kind of money that they may command for a skills upgrade that wouldn't be requisite.

Offensive Line

Jeff

I think the Vikings already have it good with Remmers and Reiff. If we don't draft another tackle, the Vikings could sign Justin Pugh and move Remmers to guard to get rid of Jeremiah Sirles. Speaking of the guards, we need some more. DJ Fluker is a big dude that's under performed and getting him on a bargain deal would be nice. Another option at the G is Senio Kelemete from New Orleans. He's been a solid starter with great mobility. Whoever it ends up being, I think the Vikings let Joe Berger move on (retire) and keep getting younger at those positions.

Matt

They took some grown people type steps toward having an offensive line that actually deserves to be called professional. But they can't rest on the laurels of that heading into the 2018 season. Nate Solder and Pugh are the highest profile of the Tackles while Andrew Norwell is identified as the only difference making guard in this years FA pool. Building it up needs to continue but I wouldn't go with any of those guys - unless they're willing to take mutually beneficial deals (ones that don't hamper other moves). My Tackle target would be Cameron Fleming (Patriots) and for another option at guard I would try to sign Zach Fulton (Chiefs).

Defensive Line

Jeff

I would like the Vikings to re-sign Shamar Stephen but I think he signs elsewhere. Has there been a bigger defensive disappointment in Minnesota than Shariff Floyd? Where’s the Shariff when you need him? All kidding aside, it seems to me that teams that are in the Superbowl (and win it for that matter) have great defensive lines. We need to keep drafting defensive lineman and save some money to re-sign Danielle Hunter.

Matt

Next to quarterback, I think that finding a pass rushing defensive tackle is the highest need of all. Swinging for Star Lotulelei would be A-ok by me but nearly every team will be trying to reinforce their defensive front so his price tag could be very high. Beyond him, none of the players interest me. So with the exception of a pass rusher to pair with Linval inside and another rotational guy or two, the defensive line is plenty good!

Linebacker

Jeff

I like our draft pick last year of Ben Gedeon. He’s a great asset to our already great linebacking core. If we were to sign a linebacker in free agency I would target Detroit’s Tahir Whitehead. At age 27, the 5th round draft pick out of Temple has become a stud. He's had over 110 tackles the past two seasons & would add depth to our core of LB’s behind Barr and Kendricks. We need to save some cap space to resign those two since they are the base of our defense.

Matt

The top three are set for 2018 but depth could always be improved. Will Compton is the guy that I would target in free agency to raise the floor of the linebacking corps talent. Getting a guy like Whitehead would be great but with his production and since he is at his prime physically, I don't see him signing for less then starter money or for a reserve's amount of PT.

Cornerback

Jeff

Terence Newman, Marcus Sherels, Tramaine Brock and Anthony Harris are all up for free agency. I'll get to Harris in a minute but the first three first.

I have always liked Marcus Sherels. He plays well wherever we put him. He's a coachable guy who does anything the team asks of him to do. I also like that he played at the University of Minnesota. At age 30, I can see us getting younger in this position in the draft. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we brought him back on a 1 or 2 year deal.

In my opinion, the only corner that is worth going for in free agency is Kyle Fuller out of Chicago. The Bears declined his 5th year option to save the team around $9 million. Fuller played 96% of the teams defensive snaps last season and is a solid tackler. Coach Zimmer loves corners who can tackle and be aggressive in the passing game. I say we upgrade from Trae Waynes and add a solid veteran to our defensive back field.

Matt

You might be able to find me singing Bye, Bye, Bye when guys like Brock and M. Floyd are no longer in any way attached the Vikings. So unlike my buddy, no I want nothing to do with that waste of a roster spot. As for Sherels, he's had a long and effective time in Minnesota but his punt returning ability may have started to fall off. If the coaches don't see it that way, keep him around!

Similar to the linebacking group, the top guys are set but insurance could come in handy. Not sure which of the diva's would be fine with running in a supporting role but signing one would be prudent!

Safety

Jeff

I actually thought Harris played well last season when he had to sub in for Sendejo. Harris is a restricted free agent and was only paid $525,000 last season. He could be an ok deal at the right price.

The only free safety that is worth mentioning that is a free agent is LaMarcus Joyner from LAR. But I believe the Rams will tag Joyner. I would like to see an upgrade from Sendejo but at this point the only place I see the Vikings doing this is in the draft.

Matt

If the Vikings want to get splashy to upgrade from Sendejo or deem it wise to sign guys to push Anthony Harris and Jayron Kearse, there wouldn't be any complaints here. With the best safety in the NFL already under contract I don't see them committing the kind of money that it would take to lure Eric Reid or LaMarcus Joyner to Minnesota but how much fun would a pair like that be?! A much more likely addition would be someone like Bradley McDougald. He would fit as a challenger amongst the reserves but beyond that, things are pretty set on the back end, IMO.

So that's the first ever collaboration in the short history of the Purple Bizon. It's a bunch of conjecture...shots in the dark to be even more accurate. Plenty of names to think about and talk about while we wait for resolution to some of the issues that we've all come to know about. As far as I'm concerned, the spending spree can't start soon enough!!

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