This year was quite the roller coaster ride for a Vikings fan. It ended sour, but I will never forget the moment of the Minneapolis Miracle where the entire bar I was in turned into a deafening roar of joy. This is my prediction/suggestion of what might happen during the 2018 offseason for the MN Vikings.
Free Agents: Everyone knows where to begin, the quarterback conundrum. With Bradford, Bridgewater, and Keenum all potentially heading for free agency there are two scenarios I see best fit. In both timelines I hope Bridgewater will stay on a team friendly deal unless his contract tolls. He is loved by the state and organization, yet I believe his injury was so severe that he might still not be ready to play full time. He will likely function as a backup.
Option 1: Franchise Case Keenum
Who can disagree that Keenum shocked the world this year with stellar play. A journeyman in his 30’s might not inspire most folk, but he proved he can make big-time throws while in the spotlight. A franchise (although seemingly insane 12 months ago) will give the Vikings another year to assess what he can do in a starting role. Committing further seems like a large step with the departure of Shurmer and what he was able to accomplish with this offense in 2017.
Option 2: Sign Kirk
I’ve seen rumors about Kirk flirting with a contending Vikings team even though he clearly loves Julie. With a scheme run by DeFilippo, our recievers, a fresh Dalvin Cook, and an improved o-line (see below) this offense could blow up. It would take a pretty penny, but a new scheme could call for a new QB considering the position this organization finds itself in with three intriguing free-agents and the Vikings have the cap room to make it work.
Joe Berger: Like Newman he has aged like fine wine, if he continues to play he should be kept.
Marcus Sherels: Key special teams guy, also, GOPHER.
Terence Newman: Shouldn’t pay too much for a 40 year old corner, but I believe he could excel as a backup safety.
Team friendly deal or let them walk club: Jerick McKinnon, Michael Floyd, Tramaine Brock
McKinnon looked great in his rookie year while spelling AD on 3rd downs, but hasn’t flashed since. He did do well running physically for his size and catching the ball this year. Floyd is a luxury depth player who is valuable, yet I don’t know if he has earned big money since his devastating DUI. Brock has potential that I hope Zimmer can unlock.
Let em’ walk:
Kai Forbath: This is tough, he made the clutch kicks this year (BIG turn-on for Vikes fans) but also has put us in tight situations with missed extra points.
Bradford: Mr. Glass earned his title this year when getting injured by seemingly nothing. Looked too shaky when he played the one series mid-season to inspire any sort of confidence.
Tom Johnson: Played well in 2017, but he is hitting his mid-30’s and might attract a sizable contract elsewhere. I also would like to see what 2017 4th rounder Jaleel Johnson can do after essentially redshirting this past year.
Emmanuel Lamur: Who?! Had a large salary and no apparent impact other than being a backup.
Jarius Wright: Quality slot player who was overshadowed by a deep receiver core, has had a considerable contract with little production. Even though my newfound buddy at a Vikings game was parading around hilariously after he got a hold of Jarius’ glove and was “smokin a dart” out of it, yelling at all the crowd, this is a necessary move. Savings – 3.7 Million.
Sharrif Floyd: I was pumped when he fell to us, but it sadly seems like he might not be able to play ever again. Savings – 6.8 Million.
Latavius Murray: He played very well in Cook's absence, but has a back-loaded contract with an opt-out option and will save us a good chunk of cash. Hopefully we can keep Mckinnon for a bit less. Savings - 5.75 Million
With the two cuts and the players re-signed, I believe they shou(~16 million), the Vikings are looking at about 50 million in cap space. This team currently has few holes in the roster and a handful of players to give contracts to, so I will be brief in my free agent signings as should the Vikes.
Defensive Tackle: Dontari Poe/Star Lotulelei
Putting one of these two monsters next to Linval Joseph, I like Poe personally, would make our defensive line feared throughout the league. Taking the attention off Griffin and Hunter on the outside would be huge for the defense. ~ 14-15 Mil per year
Guard: (If Kirk is not signed for a large sum) Andrew Norwell/Josh Sitton
Changing Remmers to guard will be a must, for he did much better on the inside. Finding a stud opposite of Remmers will be very beneficial to bringing the O-line together. I also plan for the Vikings to draft an offensive tackle early to accompany this. ~ 9 Mil per year
Kicker: Sign SEABASS. (Sebastian Janikowski)
Experience and a big leg, why not? ~Hopefully not a ridiculous kicker contract
Round 1 Pick 30: Offensive Tackle, best pick available – Orlando Brown/Connor Williams/ Mike McGlinchey
Hopefully a great OT prospect will fall to the 30th pick (ideally because of a run on QB or RB), which allows Remmers to move inside where he appears more comfortable. Ideally it will be a LT prospect, since Rieff fits best as a RT and can shift to the right side with Remmers. A solid OL would help propel this offense with whoever is QB along with a hungry Dalvin Cook.
Round 2 Pick 30: Outside Linebacker/Tight End – OLB Darius Leonard/Dorance Armstrong Jr. or TE Dallas Goedert/Mark Andrews
The 2nd round is one I hope the Vikings will find a plug and play player. Either an early down 3rd 4-3 linebacker or a tight end to pair with Rudolph seems fit. Gedeon is a decent run-stopping linebacker but we can afford to find a sideline to sideline tackler with this pick. John Defilippo had success with Ertz and Burton to become victorious in the Superbowl, so I can imagine his influence pushing to bring in another TE.
Round 3 Pick 30: Tight End (if OLB happens round 2)/ Defensive End – DE Breeland Speaks/Chad Thomas
If a good OLB talent is available they should jump on it in the 2nd round, due to both Barr and Kendricks needing contracts soon. Therefore, if a talented tight end should drop in the draft that should be the choice here. If not, then Zimmer can grab another athletic project player in the 3rd round (a lot like Danielle Hunnter) that he can coach up and hopefully turn into a star.
Late Rounds: There is no 4th round pick because of the Bradford trade, but at least we have a 1st rounder this year. Later picks should be reserved for depth players as well as at the tune of best player available which works for the teams scheme. Positions needed are: RB, QB (if Teddy goes elsewhere), CB, DT, or any OL.
This is how I see the Vikings finding Superbowl success for next season, not a lot needs to be done thankfully for them to make history.