Vikings Rumors: More 12 Personnel, FA Strikeout, & The Corner Crisis

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We’ve officially transitioned into the portion of the year when Vikings rumors are going to be coming fast and furious.

As a result, I’m returning to the “Vikings Rumor Wrangle,” a series I’ve leaned on previously to keep readers informed on what’s being whispered about in Vikings Land. In this iteration, we discuss the impending arrival of more 12 personnel, striking out in free agency, and the corner crisis on Minnesota’s roster.

The Vikings Rumors – 03.15.2023

Rumor #1 – Vikings FA Signing Means the Offense is Leaning Toward More 12 Personnel

It would appear so.

Even the most dialed-in Vikings writers and podcasters didn’t foresee this signing. Josh Oliver will be partnering with T.J. Hockenson to give the Vikings a strong tandem at tight end. The former will be the blocking specialist whereas the latter will be the catching specialist. That being said, Kevin O’Connell will be leaning on each to do some blocking and catching.

Given the nature of the deal and the quality of the two players, the Vikings offense is going to make an effort to get both onto the field. That means we’re likely to see more 12 and 22 personnel. For the most part, we need to assume that means mostly a single-back formation (12 personnel) but keeping C.J. Ham – as the rumors suggest – means that the FB will also get onto the field plenty (or, at the very least, that’s the plan; the veteran FB was only out there for 15% of the offensive snaps in 2022).

Look for the Vikings to adjust the offensive strategy a touch, putting multiple tight ends onto the field with greater consistency.

Rumor #2 – Minnesota has Struck Out on the Big-Time Free Agents

They’ve definitely missed on some major players, CB Jamel Dean, CB Cameron Sutton, LB David Long, and LB Tremaine Edmunds foremost among them.

Nevertheless, it’d be misguided to suggest Minnesota has completely whiffed.

Sep 25, 2022; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) rush off the field against the Carolina Panthers during the second half at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Bringing in Oliver wasn’t the move anyone could foresee, but it’s significant nonetheless. Marcus Davenport has elite talent but has battled injury. He was, however, someone to monitor coming into free agency. Before the tampering period began, I wrote this about the former Saints pass rusher: “he piled up 9 sacks in 2021 while finishing 8th overall in the PFF edge rusher rankings. A prove-it deal in Minnesota could be a nice arrangement for both sides.”

It’s a 1-year deal for $13 million.

Moreover, there are still plenty of notable names available. As of right now, a lot of the PurplePTSD Top 32 Free Agents are still out there

Stay tuned, folks. The GM isn’t done yet.

Rumor #3 – The Vikings Have a Corner Crisis

Crisis may be a touch strong, but things haven’t been looking great. Thankfully, the offseason hasn’t even officially started yet. The new league year only arrives at 3 p.m. CST, so let’s just see how things play out.

The concern, of course, rested in the reality of seeing Cameron Dantzler and Patrick Peterson head elsewhere. As a result, the Vikings were left with just Andrew Booth Jr., Akayleb Evans, Tay Gowan, and Kalon Barnes on the roster. Combined, those 4 players have 3 NFL starts in their careers.

Aug 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Patrick Jones II (91) and cornerback Akayleb Evans (21) tackle San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings (15) during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Mind you, we’ve since seen the Vikings bring in Byron Murphy, who was 13th on the PurplePTSD list. He was someone I mentioned yesterday as a name to monitor. The 2-year deal makes a ton of sense for both sides.

Even still, plenty of work remains.

The team is very likely to once again lean on the draft to get a talent infusion at corner. There could also be a trade in the works. I’ve had my eye on Desmond King for a little while; might Houston be willing to move on from their talented slot corner?

Otherwise, we can expect another free agent addition or two as the offseason continues to unravel. Don’t forget that free agency comes in waves. To be sure, the initial moments are exciting and it can be great to see one’s team pick up great players, but there is still a ton of time left. None of the reported deals have even been signed yet, folks. Not a single deal has been consummated by putting pen to paper.

In other words, let’s not take leave of our senses. The corner situation is going to improve.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.