2020 Minnesota Vikings Off-Season Thread

BleedGopher

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Here we are, for the 4-5th straight year where we must dramatically improve our O-line.

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BleedGopher

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per Shooter:

Cousins, 31, has completed the second year of his guaranteed $84 million, three-year contract with the Vikings. Had he not played well in what would have been a season-ending loss to the Saints, his future in Minnesota beyond next season would seem precarious.

Now, despite Saturday’s 27-10 loss to the 49ers, it could take $100 million, not including the $29.5 million he’s to receive next season, over the ensuing three years to keep Cousins in Minnesota. A portion of the money probably would have to be deferred. A new deal is expected to happen by March 1, so the Vikings can plan salary cap and future personnel.


Even if Cousins ends up with a $100 million extension, it still won’t be as much as the offseason QB contracts that Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys are expected to receive.

Then there’s Dalvin Cook, 24, who can expect a new contract before training camp next summer. That deal would be expected to guarantee Cook, despite his ineffectiveness against the 49ers on Saturday, at least $20 million. Otherwise, he could hold out. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley’s contract is for $60 million over four years (through 2023), with $45 million guaranteed.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman, both signed through next season, also are expected to receive one-year extensions. Zimmer’s deal could approach $5 million.

It looks now that the Vikings’ first-round draft pick in April will be in the No. 26 range. Picking that late in the first round might mean moving up, or down, through a trade. For the Vikings, a cornerback still makes the most sense.

It’s still not unreasonable that the Vikings next spring would considering trading eccentric wideout Stefon Diggs for a high first-round draft pick.


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Ogee Oglethorpe

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Vikings might have to decide in the offseason if Cook is the dreaded "injury prone". An amazing talent when he's on the field, but Mattison was impressive in his time too. Between his injuries and the fact that nobody is paying RB's big long term money anymore, would it be preposterous to move on?

Pretty much a lot of decisions to make all over the roster.
 

BleedGopher

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per Sid:

JOTTINGS

• The Vikings’ 2020 schedule is tied for the 10th most difficult in the league. Next season’s opponents had a combined 131-123-2 record in 2019 (.516 winning percentage). The only team in the NFC North with a tougher schedule is the Lions at 134-121-1. The Vikings’ opponents this season finished with combined record of 121-133-2.

• Speaking of New England, the Las Vegas sportsbooks have the Vikings tied for the eighth-highest odds to have Tom Brady next season.


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LakevilleBro

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What bothers me about Cousins, is that when he is under pressure, he stops looking downfield and is not very elusive. With our skill players, then we add an $84 million dollar QB, we should be better than this. Why other NFL teams want our Offensive Coordinator is baffling to me, our offense is not very creative, and we had 8 totals yards, in 7 consecutive possessions, after the Diggs TD. Sorry I just had to vent!
 

howeda7

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Time to part ways with Rhodes, Waynes, Griffin and at least one of Joseph or Harrison Smith. We must get younger and cheaper on D. And use the $$ on the offensive line.
 

Stan

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Big offseason, I fear we could take a step back.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Rhodes, Reiff, Griffen, and Joseph are all cooked, and all need to go. There's 40 million.

They should not give Cook big money. If Spielman does, he should be fired on the spot.
 

MplsGopher

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RB is one of those positions where you should be able to put a decent guy in there and still get a fairly high percentage of the production that a super-star gets you. Right? Maybe I'm way off here.
 

GringaGopher

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I think the Vikings suffer from poor management and have for years. The U is a good example with the hiring of a more aggressive AD, a supportive President and of course a very talented coach. I feel like the Vikings need to clean house . I don’t think they will as the Wilfs are making money with this mediocre franchise.
 

howeda7

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Rhodes, Reiff, Griffen, and Joseph are all cooked, and all need to go. There's 40 million.

They should not give Cook big money. If Spielman does, he should be fired on the spot.
I like Cook, but he will never play 16 games. Use him as much as you can until his contract runs out and let someone else pay him.
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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Of the top 10 leading RB rushers this season (omitting Lamar Jackson who was 6th overall), only 3 made the playoffs. Derrick Henry, Chris Carson, and Dalvin Cook.
 

MplsGopher

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I like Cook, but he will never play 16 games. Use him as much as you can until his contract runs out and let someone else pay him.
Better yet trade him and get something, rather than letting him walk off

AP
 

JimmyJamesMD

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Rhodes, Reiff, Griffen, and Joseph are all cooked, and all need to go. There's 40 million.

They should not give Cook big money. If Spielman does, he should be fired on the spot.
I'm trading cook if i can get a first rounder or a second and third rd pick and rolling with mattison. Team has too many holes and needs the draft capital
 

TruthSeeker

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Time to part ways with Rhodes, Waynes, Griffin and at least one of Joseph or Harrison Smith. We must get younger and cheaper on D. And use the $$ on the offensive line.
Harrison Smith is a top 5 safety in the NFL. He needs to stay put.
 

BleedGopher

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STrib: As season ends, changes loom for Vikings

Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen was only a couple questions into his postgame media session in the visiting locker room at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday when he was asked about his emotions after the team’s 27-10 playoff loss to the 49ers.

“It’s tough. We never want it to end this way, and we’ve just gotta — I don’t know. I’m done, man,” the 10-year veteran said before ending the interview.

For the 10 teams that make the playoffs and fail to reach the Super Bowl, the ends of seasons always have a sharp abruptness to them. One day, they’re preparing for a playoff game that could bring them a step closer to their ultimate goal; the next, players are cleaning out their lockers and making travel arrangement they hoped not to need yet. But even by those standards, the Vikings’ loss on Saturday felt like it could represent a page being turned.

A defense that has prided itself on continuity could be headed for significant changes, with Griffen, defensive tackle Linval Joseph and cornerback Xavier Rhodes all set to be at least 30 by the start of next season and playing on contracts that carry cap numbers of at least $12.9 million next season. A team that’s tight on cap space also has to make decisions on 31-year-old left tackle Riley Reiff and 30-year-old tight end Kyle Rudolph, while determining the efficacy of contract extensions for quarterback Kirk Cousins, running back Dalvin Cook and safety Anthony Harris (who will be an unrestricted free agent after finishing tied for the league lead with six interceptions).

Changes to their coaching staff had already begun by 9 a.m. on Sunday, less than eight hours after the Vikings touched down at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport: the Browns hired offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski as their next head coach, a year after making him a finalist for the job they gave to Freddie Kitchens.

The Vikings will be looking for their fifth offensive coordinator in as many years; they could give play-calling duties to assistant head coach Gary Kubiak or quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, though Stefanski’s relationship with both men could force the Vikings to block one or both if they get offers to join him in Cleveland. One NFL source named assistants who have worked with Stefanski for six years, like defensive coordinator George Edwards, wide receivers coach Drew Petzing or defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, as possible options to follow him.


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BleedGopher

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Souhan: Vikings defensive overhaul appears imminent this offseason

Zimmer should examine whether he works his defenders too hard in practice late in seasons. Too often in their past three season-ending losses, his defense — even his most exceptional players — looked a step slow or simply tired.

The 49ers are a quality team, but they shouldn’t have outclassed the Vikings the way they did, often simply driving Vikings defenders backward so their backs could gain 6 to 8 yards merely by running hard and falling forward.

What is certain is that the defense that peaked in 2017 will be overhauled, in some cases by choice and in some by necessity. For all of Zimmer’s regular-season accomplishments, he will enter 2020 needing to prove that he can win with a new defense. It’s not a given.


Zimmer’s defensive problems are highlighted by the position in which he has invested the most — cornerback. Xavier Rhodes is in steep decline and has a $12.9 million cap hit for the 2020 season. There is no way he’s back at full price, and the way he played this year, he probably shouldn’t be back at any price.

But if the Vikings move on from Rhodes, that would make Trae Waynes their top corner. He performed poorly this season and is an unrestricted free agent. Do you pay big money to someone who you know isn’t worth that money?

Logic dictates bringing either Rhodes or Waynes back, but either move would likely result in regret. The rest of the cornerbacks are a source of angst.

Mackensie Alexander is an unrestricted free agent and expected to leave. Former first-round draft pick Mike Hughes appears to have a serious neck injury. Who knows if he can even be counted on for 2020? Holton Hill is talented but went undrafted because of character concerns and served an eight-game suspension this year for use of performance-enhancing drugs.

So a team featuring three cornerbacks drafted in the first round will probably have to spend another first-round pick on a cornerback despite obvious needs on the offensive line.


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march madness

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I couldn't disagree more. You pay Zimmer he has 3 first round picks at corner and a 2nd round pick. you want to waste another! He needs to figure it out. The offensive line should be priority number one! We have the worst starting guard in the league in Elflein. I would move O'neil, who is a good pass blocker, to the left side and draft a right tackle. I would pay for a free agent guard.

Defense needs a DT who can pass rush. Stephens is a backup.

per Shooter:

It looks now that the Vikings’ first-round draft pick in April will be in the No. 26 range. Picking that late in the first round might mean moving up, or down, through a trade. For the Vikings, a cornerback still makes the most sense.
 

march madness

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It starts and ends on both lines, look at the 49ers. 3 headed monster at rb, none who makes money, cheap wr's, and awesome TE.
 

Bad Gopher

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As I was driving back from lunch, Common and Tenna were doing a good job getting their arms around the overall situation including the crumbling coaching staff.

Definitely going to be a challenge for the organization, but there's always a good deal of opportunities in challenges like this. They can improve their overall salary value and put the foundation down for some long term success IF they play this right. But it's not going to happen overnight. This classifies as a rebuild. It might be best if their win total dips a lot next year and they get a top draft pick.
 

BleedGopher

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Chip: Vikings need to fix offensive line before they do anything else

Fix the offensive line. Because Kirk Cousins can’t make broccoli funny.

This is not another rebuke of Cousins’ aptitude. It’s become abundantly clear by now that he has undeniable strengths and undeniable weaknesses, and making something out of nothing will never be his calling card.

Give him adequate protection and Cousins can torch defenses. Put him under duress and what happened Saturday in the Bay Area often is the result. Houdini, he’s not.

A 27-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the division round underscored the stark reality of how the Vikings are constructed, Mike Zimmer’s nonnegotiable style of play, shortcomings in personnel and a looming decision on Dalvin Cook’s future. All of it tied to the O-line.

The 49ers overpowered the Vikings in the trenches with such force that they nullified their running and passing game. Literally nothing worked because they slammed into an immovable wall. This wasn’t an outlier performance either. It’s happened before, including a pivotal Monday night loss to Green Bay in Week 16.

A top-dollar contract extension for Cook could happen as soon as this offseason. Cook is entering the final season of his rookie contract. He is a special talent and likely will want a big payday because of the physical nature and injury risk associated with his position.


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BleedGopher

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Mike Zimmer faces tough decisions with Vikings' veteran defensive players

Mike Zimmer’s season-ending news conference played out just after sunrise Monday morning, two days after the Vikings’ 27-10 loss at San Francisco in the NFC divisional playoffs. The coach picked the early hour to close the book on the 2019 season before taking some time to get away; Zimmer had decided to give his coaching staff a chance to rest after the season, rather than starting into postseason player evaluations right away.

“Part of the reason why I didn’t want to do player evaluations today or this week was because I want to get away from everything for a little bit of time,” Zimmer said. “You know, if you win, everything is great, if you lose, everything is the worst in the world, so I think it’s important that we take our time, get away from it for a few days, then we evaluate and we’ll go from there.”

Perhaps Zimmer chose the break for his coaching staff, for the first time in his six seasons, because the decisions facing coaches when they return could be some of the most difficult they have had to make together.

As the Vikings consider reshaping an aging core, Zimmer said the decisions ahead of them could be difficult because of what certain players have meant to him personally.


“These players — the ones that have been with me for six years now — they’ve busted their rear ends, and they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. And that’s always going to come into play; how you feel about them as a person,” he said. “But I think you have to really look at: ‘He’s a great kid. He’s worked his rear end off. We love him here. Can he still play? Or, if he can still play, at what level is it?’ And then you’ve got to match that with the salary and every other thing, and match it with the salary cap. So there’s so many different variables.

“But I’ve been extremely fortunate here that, the players that have been here, 99 percent of them are outstanding people. They work really, really hard, and if you guys saw the way that this team approaches each day, each week, going into meetings, going into practice and saw all those things, you’d be very impressed with the way they handle themselves.”


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