All Things 2021 Minnesota Vikings Off-Season Thread

forever a gopher

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Bolded: luck (injuries mainly, both for us as well as teams we play again) obviously plays a part in it, but there have been Wild Card teams that made the Super Bowl.

What do you mean by "take a step back in 21"? Why can't we be a borderline playoff team in 21, and then still be able to take the same steps going forward? Are you suggesting we need to lose more games in 21 to get better draft picks?
Yes, there have. 4 teams have done it since 2000:

2010 Packers (10-6)
2007 Giants (10-6)
2005 Steelers (11-5)
2000 Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

Of course, the thing that 3 of the 4 have in common is they have QB's that will be in the hall of fame. The outlier is obviously the Ravens, but they had an all-time great defense to compensate.
 

MplsGopher

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What I'm suggesting is moving assets for draft picks while they still have value. And looking at the future instead of trying to get enough pieces to "win now" (moves like the Ngakue trade). Do they like any of the top QB's to trade up, knowing they're sacrificing "now"? Or are any of the second tier guys good enough to get back into the second round for (Trask, for example)? It doesn't necessarily have to be QB this year, as Cousins will most certainly be here based on his contract through 2022. So they've made that bed, which means they're treading water until that contract is off the books.
The offense is just a couple decent OL away from being one of the best in the league, on paper, for a "Tennessee style" of offense, built around a power running back. As you've pointed out, those types of offenses can be more risky and maybe not the way to go, but that's what we are, unless we're willing to trade Cook. That would be shocking, to say the least.

The defense is where the problems are. We could try to trade Barr, Hunter, and Harrison, and let Harris and Wilson walk. Treat the safeties in 2021 like we treated the corners in 2020. LBs would have Dye, at least, plus whatever journeymen they can cobble together.

Try to draft another DE like Wonnum. Etc.
 

forever a gopher

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The offense is just a couple decent OL away from being one of the best in the league, on paper, for a "Tennessee style" of offense, built around a power running back. As you've pointed out, those types of offenses can be more risky and maybe not the way to go, but that's what we are, unless we're willing to trade Cook. That would be shocking, to say the least.

The defense is where the problems are. We could try to trade Barr, Hunter, and Harrison, and let Harris and Wilson walk. Treat the safeties in 2021 like we treated the corners in 2020. LBs would have Dye, at least, plus whatever journeymen they can cobble together.

Try to draft another DE like Wonnum. Etc.
I would say it's likely Tennessee comes back down to earth in 2021. Their defense ranked 29th (Vikes were 31). They allowed nearly 400 yards/game. However, they had a +11 turnover ratio. Turnovers can mask a lot of deficiencies, but cannot be counted on (see the Bears and their hot start this year). Things bounced the Titans way this year, but with that poor defense, they were unable to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.
 

LakevilleBro

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Do you have any confidence that Mannion could do what Heinicke did given the opportunity? I sure don't. There aren't 32 better 2nd stringers. Heck, I'm not sure there are 10.
I have no confidence in Mannion, but there is something about Heinicke that NFL teams did not like. But he did have a really nice game.
 

howeda7

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Disagree that it would be a throw away season. Assuming Hunter, Pierce, Barr and Kendricks back the defense should be much improved.

Gotta find ways to improve both lines. Wonder if Rudolph will get released, especially with Smith kinds breaking out a bit. Looks to be a big mistake to resign him.
There's almost zero chance Rudolph is a Viking next year.
 

Ope3

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And in all things “typical Minnesota sports”, Mike Priefer is interim coaching the Kevin Stefanski Browns to a 35-10 lead over the Mike Tomlin Steelers. If the Browns hang on (it is the Browns, after all...), Stefanski would have half as many playoff wins as Zim in his first year in the football wasteland that is Cleveland (if you credit the win to Stefanski, which I suppose technically isn’t credited to him).
I had the same thought while watching the game last night.

Other random thoughts from the weekend:

- Is this the last we will see of Phillip Rivers?
- Is this the last we will see of Alex Smith? Admire the guts he had to play at all.
- Is this the last we will see of Ben Roethlisberger?
- How did CBS wind up televising an NFC game?
- Really would have been brutal to bet the Bears +11.5 (closing line) see them score on the last play of regulation to make the score 21-9 only by rule not attempt the PAT. Uff da.
- The Vikings sure played a lot of play-off teams (7) in 2020 and they lost to all of them. Packers, Colts, Titans, Seahawks, Bucs, Bears, & Bears. 2-7 overall.
- How did Pittsburgh make it to 11-0? Did the crazy CoVid schedule (playing on Wed) mess them up?
- The 2 teams that got into the tourney based on the new system both got bounced. Thanks for playing. The other 4 games were won by the lower seeded road teams.
 
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howeda7

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I have no confidence in Mannion, but there is something about Heinicke that NFL teams did not like. But he did have a really nice game.
The local knashing of teeth over Heinicke is over the top. He hasn't been on the team since the end of 2017 IIRC and was on the street two months ago. This is not "another Vikings miss." He played a good game. One. Good for him though.
 

MplsGopher

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Just throwing it against the wall:

would we have any interest (assuming he did) in hiring Doug Pederson to be OC?
 

Ope3

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Just throwing it against the wall:

would we have any interest (assuming he did) in hiring Doug Pederson to be OC?
Interest sure, but I will be surprised if he's not a Head Coach somewhere else by end of day tomorrow.
 

howeda7

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Interest sure, but I will be surprised if he's not a Head Coach somewhere else by end of day tomorrow.
Sounds like he might take a year off. The Eagles have to pay him regardless. Either way, I doubt he takes an OC job.
 

BleedGopher

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per Shama:

A former NFL executive told Sports Headliners the Vikings are certain to pay quarterback Kirk Cousins $35 million in guaranteed money for the 2022 season.

The organization and Cousins have until late March of this year to make that decision but the source is sure the veteran quarterback will be rewarded with a big pay day even though the club will have to make salary cap adjustments to accommodate the $35 million. “He will be here,” the source said about 2022. “He’s still a top 10 or 12 quarterback in the league.”

The NFL salary cap (nearly $200 million per team in 2020) will decline this year after league teams saw revenues take a hard hit because of the pandemic. That will only add to the Vikings’ need for belt tightening because of the $21 million due Cousins in 2021 and the $35 million next year.

The former front office executive, who asked to speak anonymously, predicted several Vikings are likely not to return for 2021 including 31-year-old tight end Kyle Rudolph. He said Rudolph will be gone for sure, with the Vikings dumping his estimated $7.6 million salary and replacing him with a younger and less expensive combo of talents in Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin.


Skol Vikes!!
 

short ornery norwegian

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Sounds like the Vikes' assistant GM is leaving to become the GM in Denver.

I've seen several of the media types claiming that Paton was very active behind the scenes as Spielman's #2 guy.
 

forever a gopher

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https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id...eshaun-watson-played-last-snap-houston-texans

QB swap with Houston? What would it take to get Watson? His cap number is eye watering in 22 and 23 however.

https://overthecap.com/player/deshaun-watson/5596/

Is it possible that is an unfriendly enough contract that they’d be willing to swap QBs for this years and next years Vikes no.1s? His number is low enough in 2021 that you would be saving money over Cousins and could potentially front load a reworked deal for Hunter?

If you were at all doubting what wins in the NFL, the remaining QBs are Rodgers, Brady, Allen, Mahomes. Rodgers will win the MVP, and Mahomes and Allen will be in the top 5.
 
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MplsGopher

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https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id...eshaun-watson-played-last-snap-houston-texans

QB swap with Houston? What would it take to get Watson? His cap number is eye watering in 22 and 23 however.

https://overthecap.com/player/deshaun-watson/5596/

Is it possible that is an unfriendly enough contract that they’d be willing to swap QBs for this years and next years Vikes no.1s? His number is low enough in 2021 that you would be saving money over Cousins and could potentially front load a reworked deal for Hunter?

If you were at all doubting what wins in the NFL, the remaining QBs are Rodgers, Brady, Allen, Mahomes. Rodgers will win the MVP, and Mahomes and Allen will be in the top 5.
What team would take on that much cap hit and give up first rounders, to get Watson?

I get that he's like drafting a first rounder QB, but way more polished and ready to be a high level QB in the league. And should still be around for a long time.
 

forever a gopher

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What team would take on that much cap hit and give up first rounders, to get Watson?

I get that he's like drafting a first rounder QB, but way more polished and ready to be a high level QB in the league. And should still be around for a long time.
That’s the question. I honestly have no idea what the market would be. Basically, Watsons deal is cheap in 21, then somewhat outrageous in 22, 23, then more reasonable the following 2 years. Cousins cap number is $45MM in 22, which is guaranteed soon. So, it’s not much worse than what we’ve already committed to Cousins (basically one more year than Cousins at the crazy cap number). Then you’re rewarded with 3 years of more reasonable cap numbers and a “franchise” quarterback. As the saying goes, “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. Drafting a QB is a crapshoot, so to get a known quantity that is good AND young is worth 2 first rounders to me. If they have any interest in Cousins, I think the deal is a no brainer.
 

howeda7

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https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id...eshaun-watson-played-last-snap-houston-texans

QB swap with Houston? What would it take to get Watson? His cap number is eye watering in 22 and 23 however.

https://overthecap.com/player/deshaun-watson/5596/

Is it possible that is an unfriendly enough contract that they’d be willing to swap QBs for this years and next years Vikes no.1s? His number is low enough in 2021 that you would be saving money over Cousins and could potentially front load a reworked deal for Hunter?

If you were at all doubting what wins in the NFL, the remaining QBs are Rodgers, Brady, Allen, Mahomes. Rodgers will win the MVP, and Mahomes and Allen will be in the top 5.
I would do that trade if I'm the Vikings. The cap # in 22 and 23 is staggering, but so is Cousins. In both cases, the deal is likely to be extended and re-done.
 

MplsGopher

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That’s the question. I honestly have no idea what the market would be. Basically, Watsons deal is cheap in 21, then somewhat outrageous in 22, 23, then more reasonable the following 2 years. Cousins cap number is $45MM in 22, which is guaranteed soon. So, it’s not much worse than what we’ve already committed to Cousins (basically one more year than Cousins at the crazy cap number). Then you’re rewarded with 3 years of more reasonable cap numbers and a “franchise” quarterback. As the saying goes, “a bird in hand is worth two in the bush”. Drafting a QB is a crapshoot, so to get a known quantity that is good AND young is worth 2 first rounders to me. If they have any interest in Cousins, I think the deal is a no brainer.
Good points. Wonder if/when we'll find out who the suitors are.

I know one of the last straws for Watson was the Texans not seriously considering Eric Bieniemy. So wonder what he would think about playing for Zimmer and possible Kubiak's son? Also way up in the frozen white north. Nice to have Jefferson to throw to for probably the rest of your career, though.
 

Ogee Oglethorpe

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I would do that trade if I'm the Vikings. The cap # in 22 and 23 is staggering, but so is Cousins. In both cases, the deal is likely to be extended and re-done.
I would really struggle with that kind of a trade. 2 first rounders? That's mortgaging your future for a modest upgrade. Is Watson better than Cousins? I think the answer is yes. Is he THAT much better that you throw away two first rounders? You maybe consider that deal if you have a roster that is very well positioned from both a talent and cap standpoint and that is most certainly NOT the Vikings right now. They have holes everywhere and to ignore multiple holes on the roster for a modest upgrade at QB, no way I can consider that.

It doesn't help that Watson is coming off one of his best statistical years ever, one of the best in the NFL actually, so it's not like he's going to be willing to re-work any kind of a deal that offers much of a bargain to the team. I know I sure as hell wouldn't.
 

short ornery norwegian

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No chance Spielman makes that kind of deal. He LOVES his draft picks.

I'm afraid that the Vikes have decided to stand or fall with Cousins for the immediate future. The question is - at what point do they try and draft a young QB they can develop?

This year looks like a good QB draft - but the Vikes still have big OL needs, and you know Zimmer will want them to draft defense, so I don't see a QB at least early in the draft.

They'll pick up a practice squad candidate in the 6th or 7th round.
 

MplsGopher

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Is Watson better than Cousins? I think the answer is yes. Is he THAT much better that you throw away two first rounders?
How much better are the best NFL QBs than Cousins?

What are the odds of landing a Mahomes or Rodgers in the first round of the draft, this year (or next year ... surely they're evaluating the likely 2022 draft picks as well)?
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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I would really struggle with that kind of a trade. 2 first rounders? That's mortgaging your future for a modest upgrade. Is Watson better than Cousins? I think the answer is yes. Is he THAT much better that you throw away two first rounders? You maybe consider that deal if you have a roster that is very well positioned from both a talent and cap standpoint and that is most certainly NOT the Vikings right now. They have holes everywhere and to ignore multiple holes on the roster for a modest upgrade at QB, no way I can consider that.

It doesn't help that Watson is coming off one of his best statistical years ever, one of the best in the NFL actually, so it's not like he's going to be willing to re-work any kind of a deal that offers much of a bargain to the team. I know I sure as hell wouldn't.
I would do it in a second. Watson is only 25 and a top 5 QB in the league. He has his best statistical season after losing his #1 WR, a pedestrian RB, and an OL that is as bad as the Vikings. His mobility helps out the OL, has more weapons in MN, and solidifies our QB position for the next 10+ years. He's a significant upgrade over Cousins.
 

forever a gopher

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I would do it in a second. Watson is only 25 and a top 5 QB in the league. He has his best statistical season after losing his #1 WR, a pedestrian RB, and an OL that is as bad as the Vikings. His mobility helps out the OL, has more weapons in MN, and solidifies our QB position for the next 10+ years. He's a significant upgrade over Cousins.
This. He can be your QB for the next 10-12 years. He can provide stability and be an elite talent at a position where the Vikes haven’t had since...Tarkenton? Cousins stats have put him around the 10-12 best QB since being a Vike. However, stats are not everything. The games in which he excels are not the big games. He is what he is- an above average QB that feasts on teams worse than the Vikes. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Again, see who’s playing this weekend and keep telling yourself you don’t need an elite QB to be consistently good in this league.
 

forever a gopher

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How much better are the best NFL QBs than Cousins?

What are the odds of landing a Mahomes or Rodgers in the first round of the draft, this year (or next year ... surely they're evaluating the likely 2022 draft picks as well)?
The rating of QBs is not linear. Thus, if Cousins is the 10th best QB, he is closer to the 20th best QB than he is to the best QB. The curve takes a steep incline at the top. I’m not sure Watson is at that level, but at least he’s closer, and still has time to improve even further.

I have to imagine the idea of playing with Jefferson, Thielen, and Cook would be inticing to a QB. I have to imagine the old school approach of Zim is a bit of a detractor, but if there are weapons, I would think that trumps most things.
 

howeda7

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Good points. Wonder if/when we'll find out who the suitors are.

I know one of the last straws for Watson was the Texans not seriously considering Eric Bieniemy. So wonder what he would think about playing for Zimmer and possible Kubiak's son? Also way up in the frozen white north. Nice to have Jefferson to throw to for probably the rest of your career, though.
We play in a dome. No issue there.
 

howeda7

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No chance Spielman makes that kind of deal. He LOVES his draft picks.

I'm afraid that the Vikes have decided to stand or fall with Cousins for the immediate future. The question is - at what point do they try and draft a young QB they can develop?

This year looks like a good QB draft - but the Vikes still have big OL needs, and you know Zimmer will want them to draft defense, so I don't see a QB at least early in the draft.

They'll pick up a practice squad candidate in the 6th or 7th round.
Maybe The Texans throw in their 6th and 7th rounders the next two years. Rick loves those....
 

howeda7

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This. He can be your QB for the next 10-12 years. He can provide stability and be an elite talent at a position where the Vikes haven’t had since...Tarkenton? Cousins stats have put him around the 10-12 best QB since being a Vike. However, stats are not everything. The games in which he excels are not the big games. He is what he is- an above average QB that feasts on teams worse than the Vikes. The more I think about it, the more sense it makes. Again, see who’s playing this weekend and keep telling yourself you don’t need an elite QB to be consistently good in this league.
Culpepper might have been, but his knee blew up. Teddy, same.
 

Ogee Oglethorpe

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I would do it in a second. Watson is only 25 and a top 5 QB in the league. He has his best statistical season after losing his #1 WR, a pedestrian RB, and an OL that is as bad as the Vikings. His mobility helps out the OL, has more weapons in MN, and solidifies our QB position for the next 10+ years. He's a significant upgrade over Cousins.
You're not wrong, but I'm looking at this from 30,000 feet. With the team as currently constructed, with major issues on defense and one that already had somewhere around a top-10 offense, you think Watson gives you enough more wins to be a contender in the postseason? The defense was a dumpster fire this year. Watson led the league in passing and it got Houston 4 wins. That's what the Vikings should aspire to?

In general, in a vacuum, sure, I'd make that trade for Watson; but that doesn't take into consideration any of the other massive issues looming for this roster. Pondering a move like this is like thinking about buying shit with Monopoly money; fun to think about but reality doesn't exactly allow it.

Kind of moot anyway. There isn't a snowball's chance that Watson is going anywhere. Zero. Someone is posturing here behind the scenes and until it's actually Watson that comes out and publicly makes a demand to be traded, it's meaningless. Nothing is happening
 

GopherWeatherGuy

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You're not wrong, but I'm looking at this from 30,000 feet. With the team as currently constructed, with major issues on defense and one that already had somewhere around a top-10 offense, you think Watson gives you enough more wins to be a contender in the postseason? The defense was a dumpster fire this year. Watson led the league in passing and it got Houston 4 wins. That's what the Vikings should aspire to?

In general, in a vacuum, sure, I'd make that trade for Watson; but that doesn't take into consideration any of the other massive issues looming for this roster. Pondering a move like this is like thinking about buying shit with Monopoly money; fun to think about but reality doesn't exactly allow it.

Kind of moot anyway. There isn't a snowball's chance that Watson is going anywhere. Zero. Someone is posturing here behind the scenes and until it's actually Watson that comes out and publicly makes a demand to be traded, it's meaningless. Nothing is happening
The Vikings defense will get significantly better next season just with the return of Hunter, Pierce, Barr, and Kendricks who missed the last 5 games on the season. I thought the rookie CBs looked good at times, and they'll get better in their second season. They still have plenty of draft picks and free agency to shore up the OL and defense.

Watson has the 'it' factor that Cousins doesn't. Watson had 9 fourth quarter comebacks and 11 game winning drives just between 2018 and 2019. Cousins has had 3 fourth quarter comebacks and 5 game winning drives in three seasons as a Viking.

I think Watson is an elite QB, along the same lines that we see currently in the playoffs. He can cover up a lot of holes on a roster, but Houston's roster this season was terrible outside of him.

Cousins is an average to slightly above average QB who needs a nearly perfect roster assembled around him to have a shot at winning a Super Bowl.
 

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I don't want to get my hopes up on Watson, but man, if they could pull this trade off. . .barring injury, there's your guy for the next 10 years, as GWG has stated. I paid particular attention to Houston this season because I had Watson as my fantasy football QB :), and damn was he working with nothing-not only did the trade of Deandre Hopkins hurt, but then Will Fuller was suspended at the back end of the season and yet he continued to produce. That Texans team was a mess this season, both on the field and in management. Whoever obtains Watson will have won a lottery of sorts.

And Ogee, he's not a slight upgrade over Cousins :).
 

Ogee Oglethorpe

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I don't want to get my hopes up on Watson, but man, if they could pull this trade off. . .barring injury, there's your guy for the next 10 years, as GWG has stated. I paid particular attention to Houston this season because I had Watson as my fantasy football QB :), and damn was he working with nothing-not only did the trade of Deandre Hopkins hurt, but then Will Fuller was suspended at the back end of the season and yet he continued to produce. That Texans team was a mess this season, both on the field and in management. Whoever obtains Watson will have won a lottery of sorts.

And Ogee, he's not a slight upgrade over Cousins :).
Of course he's an upgrade, I said that. All I'm saying is, there's a difference between the argument, just in general, of whether or not a team should trade for someone like Watson and whether or not the Vikings should. Sure, I would make that trade, in and of itself. If I'm the Vikings, the way the roster stands today and their current salary cap situation, I don't think I would do it and I sure as hell don't think Spielman and Zimmer do it.

Anyone that thinks dumping Cousins and two 1st round draft picks for Watson suddenly makes this roster a contender in the NFC in the next year or two is delusional.

And I'll reiterate, Watson's not going anywhere. There is no way that Nick Cesario is walking into Houston in his first couple weeks on the job and trading away a franchise QB. It's not happening. He got to see first hand in New England just how important it is to have a franchise QB. All of this noise will be ancient history in a month or two
 
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