The Vikings Offseason Has 3 Common Themes So Far
The NFL free agency frenzy has officially begun, and the Minnesota Vikings have made a couple splashes in the market to acquire new players. While the Vikings have been a busy team over the past week or so, the moves that they have made this offseason have had 3 common themes to this point. Before things ramp up on the second day, let’s go over these themes.
Purge Roster of Older Veterans
After Rick Spielman gave a number of veteran players lucrative contracts a few years ago, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has gone in the opposite direction so far in the 2023 offseason.
Some beloved players like Eric Kendricks and Adam Thielen have seen their time in Minnesota come to an end, and the Vikings have opted not to re-sign Patrick Peterson or Dalvin Tomlinson.
This certainly has not been an easy few days for Vikings fans that have spent multiple years growing to love these players, but at some point, it was time to move on.
Replace Vets with Young Talent
These older veterans that leave the team are now quickly being replaced by younger, potentially cheaper, talent. It seems safe to assume that Brian Asamoah will step in to replace Eric Kendricks at the linebacker spot, and to this point in free agency, Minnesota has agreed to contracts with a pair of players in their mid-20s in TE Josh Oliver and EDGE Marcus Davenport.
These players may not have been at the top of anyone’s free agency “big boards”, but they should step in and fill roles for the Vikings this season without breaking the bank. Oliver especially could be very important for Minnesota to become a more balanced offense, implementing a more effective running game.
Keep Cap Space Open for 2024
While making these moves so far in the offseason, the most notable theme to pay attention to is the fact that Minnesota is keeping their options wide open in 2024. Davenport’s contract is a one-year deal, and Oliver’s 2024 cap hit of $7.1 million has a number of ways to be lowered.
Meanwhile, by getting rid of Kendricks and Thielen, the Vikings cleared up space for next offseason, and now, they have around $93 million for 2024 (taking into account Justin Jefferson’s fifth-year option of $19.5 million).
The point is, we’ve seen what the Chicago Bears have done in the first 24 hours of free agency. The Vikings could be shaping up to take a similar route next offseason with some big names.
What Could Be Next?
Minnesota likely is far from done with moves too. Za’Darius Smith’s contract still has to be addressed after his recent request to be released. Additionally, more veterans like Dalvin Cook and Harrison Smith might be players with large cap hits that could be next on the chopping block.
Additionally, we should see Minnesota bring more players in through free agency, particularly in the secondary. It will be interesting to see if these current themes ring true in the future moves as well.
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Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.