Three Ways the Vikings Can Attack the Offseason

I break my silence, as the Vikings failed to make the playoffs in a disappointing 2018-19 season. Instead of looking back, which I will do eventually, we are going to look forward. Between the draft and free agency, a lot will change for the Vikings heading into next season. With plenty of options at his disposal, some risky and some conservative, GM Rick Spielman has decisions to make. Will he push in all his chips to salvage himself in a lame duck year? Or will he stick to his guns and stay the course, trusting the roster he has built-up since 2012. There are multiple ways Spielman can attack the roster, and this an exercise to play GM and figure out how the Vikings can re-make their roster for the 2019 season.

In 2018, the Vikings spent 87% of the cap on their top-30 players. For this exercise, I will do the same, cutting players and re-signing others so that the Vikings top-30 players match ~87% of their cap spend, allowing them to round out the bottom half of the roster the same way they did this year.

Option A- Stay the Course

In this scenario, Rick Spielman does the two moves that make the most sense, cutting both Andrew Sendejo and Mike Remmers to save $10 million. This puts the Vikings at 86% of their cap, leaving no room to sign high-priced free agents. The draft stays true to the Vikings blueprint, as Spielman keeps rounding out the roster rather than splurging his remaining resources on the offensive side of the ball.

Roster Moves (creating $10 million):

  • Cut Sendejo, save $5.5 million
  • Cut Remmers, save $4.5 million

Free Agents:

  • None

Top-30 spend:

  • $163 / $189.5 Million (86% of the cap)

First 3 Picks:

I used fanspeak.com to mock who would be available in the first three rounds for the Vikings. I see their needs as OL, DT, LB, WR, DE and potentially TE. Here were the top players at each position and who I selected for the exercise

  • Round 1- (OL Jonah Williams, LB Devin Bush, WR N’Keal Harry, EDGE Jachai Polite, DL Christian Wilkins)
    • Selection: OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
    • Why: Williams might be the best O-Lineman in the draft and has the capability to play both guard and tackle. This is an easy pick to help the offensive line.
  • Round 2- (OL Dalton Risner, LB Mack Wilson, WR DK Metcalf, EDGE Joe Jackson, DL Zach Allen, WR DK Metcalfe)
    • Selection: DL Zach Allen, Boston College
    • Why: Sheldon Richardson isn’t returning in this scenario, so enter Zach Allen, the versatile DL out of Boston College. Allen projects as a DE, but has the size to play inside. Either way, his versatility will be welcomed by Zimmer.
  • Round 3- (OL Michael Jordan, LB Mack Wilson, WR Riley Ridley, EDGE DeAndre Walker, DL Edwin Alexander, TE Kaden Smith)
    • LB Mack Wilson, Alabama
    • Why: Anthony Barr isn’t returning, so Spielman takes his second Alabama player with Mack Wilson, a solid linebacker to pair immediately with Eric Kendricks.

Option A Depth Chart:

Option B- More Aggressive, Build the Offense

This is the same as above, but frees up more space by re-structuring potential candidates to make room for one free-agent. For the sake of consistency, we will save $3 million in each re-structure. Additionally, Adam Thielen is going to raise his cap number from $8.3 million to $10.3 million because he deserves it. After creating some space, Spielman decides to take the money and all of his draft picks to help Kirk and the offense. Zimmer receives no additional help on the defensive side of the ball and does what he’s paid to do: coach defense.

Roster Moves (creating $17 million):

  • Cut Sendejo – save $5.5 million
  • Cut Remmers – save $4.5 million
  • Re-structure Griffen – save $ 3 million
  • Re-structure Rudy – save $3 million
  • Re-structure Linval – save $ 3 million
  • Re-structure Thielen – give $ 2 million
  • Cut Treadwell – nothing, just for fun

Free Agents:

  • Sign Larry Fitzgerald – $7 million – This is a pipe dream of mine and the dots are easy to connect, as Larry Fitzgerald was born and raised in Minnesota and was a Vikings ball boy when he was a kid. If Fitzgerald leaves Arizona AND doesn’t retire, he can give the Vikings a sure-handed third option, while giving himself the chance to play for a contender.

Top-30 Spend:

  • $164.8 Million / $189.5 Million (87% of the cap)

First 3 Picks:

  • Round 1- OL Jonah Williams, Alabama
    • Why: Same as above
  • Round 2- OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
    • Why: Another addition to the offensive line to ensure Kirk is protected
  • Round 3 – TE Kaden Smith, Stanford
    • Why: Another pass catcher, giving an athletic tight-end. Also gives Vikings cap flexibility down the line with Kyle Rudolph

Option B Depth Chart:

Option C- Free Up All the Cap Space Possible

Spielman blows it up and pushes all of his chips in. He gets rid of two captains, as he decides that Griffen can be replaced by Weatherly, and also that Kyle Rudolph isn’t worth re-structuring. He also sees Mike Hughes return and Holton Hill’s impact as a reason to Tra(d)e Waynes. Someone decides to deal a 7th rounder for Treadwell, because everything’s coming up Spielman.

Roster Moves (creating $44 million):

  • Cut Sendejo – save $5.5 million
  • Cut Remmers – save $4.5 million
  • Cut Griffen – save $10.5 million
  • Cut Rudy – save $7.5 million
  • Re-structure Linval – save $3 million
  • Re-structure Smith – save $3 million
  • Re-structure Thielen – give $ 2 million
  • Trade Waynes – save $9 million
  • Trade Treadwell – save $3 million

Free Agents:

  • Re-Sign Sheldon Richardson- $10 million – The money works out to keep Barr here (my preference), but the Vikings elect to keep Richardson, instead, essentially choosing Richardson over Griffen.
  • Sign C Matt Paradis- $9 million – Gary Kubiak’s connection allows the Vikings to sign the top center in Free Agency, as they kick Pat Elflein out to guard
  • Sign WR DeSean Jackson – $9 million – Instead of Larry Fitz, Spielman signs a familiar face for Cousins
  • Re-Sign Anthony Harris – $3.5 million – he’s probably back in all scenarios, but in this case, we have the money so let’s pay up.

Top 30 spend:

  • $160.2 Million / $189.5 Million (85% of the cap)

First 3 Picks:

  • Round 1- OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
    • Why: Same as above, just Vikings grab Risner in the first as Williams was taken just beforehand
  • Round 2- DE Zach Allen
    • Why: Same as above. Griffen replacement.
  • Round 3 – LB Mack Wilson
    • Why: Same as above. Barr replacement.

Option C Depth Chart:

 

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