“There’s no long-term vision right now at all:” OTC Has Harsh Assessment of Vikings Offseason

Dec 20, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) and Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports.

I’m a fan of Over the Cap. To my mind, the fine folks at OTC do a wonderful job of breaking down all things NFL salary cap. Jason Fitzgerald is the man in charge over there, and he recently sat down with Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic. Their conversation featured the OTC leader voicing a strong opinion on the Vikings offseason.

According to Fitzgerald, the Vikings lack a clear direction and vision:

There’s no long-term vision right now at all. I don’t get it. I thought that they would look at this and be like, ‘We’ve got some older assets on this team that we can trade away and use to get better. At the very least, try to stabilize our salary cap so that we have opportunities to get better players in free agency (down the road).’ They just went out and did what they did.

He goes on:

They’ve perpetually committed to being a team that wins anywhere from seven to nine games a season.

Elsewhere, the OTC owner insists that the Vikings are a team “that’s just going in circles” and that they perhaps should have kept Spielman: “I don’t know why they fired Spielman because they just did the same stuff.”

So here’s the thing. Jason Fitzgerald knows far more about the NFL than your humble author, especially when it comes to roster construction and salaries. Nevertheless, he’s misguided on a point or two.

Minnesota’s leadership does have a vision. They have implemented a two-year plan, one that involves allowing the new coaching staff to have a shot with the (mostly) old roster. For the most part, that has meant retaining talent and then supplementing the current core with a handful of additions. That’s an approach that may be misguided, and yet there is a discernible plan in place.

If things go south – a very plausible outcome – then this team could begin rebuilding as early as 2023. Jordan Hicks and Za’Darius Smith can be cut with relatively little financial consequence. Dalvin Cook could be moved, and the team could let Irv Smith Jr. walk. Danielle Hunter has a very tradeable number in 2023, and the Kirk Cousins extension does allow for a trade even though it would need to be cleared with him beforehand.

Now, Fitzgerald may be correct in his overall assessment that this is a mediocre football team. It’d be shocking if they were as bad as, say, the Lions. It would also be very surprising to see them solidify themselves as one of the conference’s best teams.

The long-term health of the organization may have been somewhat undermined by some of the decisions made this offseason, but it’s clear that Kwesi Adofo-Mensah isn’t one for rash decisions. Rather, his approach is to be patient and methodical. For this reason, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the main core of players weren’t adjusted in a robust manner.

The plan is to give this team a two-year chance. Depending on how things go, the Vikings may look to do the rebuild that OTC seems to be advocating for.