Former Vikings GM Has 2 Free Agents in Mind for Minnesota
The largest waves of NFL free agency are well behind us, but every year, there are acquisitions made during the summer months that end up impacting teams trying to compete for a Super Bowl. In all likelihood, it will be the same story in 2023. Someone that will play a significant role for a playoff team is yet to be signed onto that roster.
For the Vikings, they are certainly one of the teams hoping to make a deep playoff run in 2023 before potentially moving on from QB Kirk Cousins. Because of that, and the cap space recently freed up from the Za’Darius Smith trade, Minnesota could be players in the summertime free agency period.
With that in mind, a former Vikings GM has a pair of free agents in mind for Minnesota. That former Vikings general manager is Jeff Diamond, a contributor for our flag-ship site, VikingsTerritory.com, who is best known for being the man to bring Randy Moss to the Vikings.
So, who are the two players that former Vikings GM has in mind for Minnesota? Two 2022 Baltimore Raven defenders, EDGE Justin Houston and CB Marcus Peters. On Houston, here is what Diamond had to say about what he could bring to the Vikings:
There should be cap room to sign Houston now, considering he made $3.5 million last season (plus an additional $1 million in sack incentives) when he played 44% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps in his role as a rotational player and designated pass rusher. Houston contributed 9.5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 7 tackles for loss, and 21 tackles in his 12th NFL season. He’s 34 years old but obviously stays in excellent shape as a player who never seems to age.
If we exclude Smith from the Vikings production and add Marcus Davenport, Houston’s sack total would rank second on the team from 2022, the QB hits would come in second, and the tackles for loss would be third. Despite his age, he can be a very productive player still at this point in his career, knowing when to pick his spots. As Diamond suggests, there is very little reason to believe he’d command a very lucrative contract, either.
As for Peters, there’s a decent chance the 30-year-old CB will cost a bit more than Houston. He made $10 million in 2022, and at cornerback, there may be a bit more demand for a guy who has been a ‘lockdown’ player for much of his career. Here are some of Diamond’s thoughts on why Minnesota should consider adding the veteran CB:
The Vikings surely could use Peters in the corner group as it’s hard to count on Andrew Booth Jr. staying healthy and starting all season after he battled injuries in college and a knee injury ended his rookie year after six games. Akayleb Evans’ promising first season ended after 10 games due to multiple concussions, and free agent signee Byron Murphy Jr. missed eight games last season in Arizona with a back injury. The injury history of these three current Vikings would have me trying to add a quality vet to join the cornerback group that includes third-round pick Mekhi Blackmon and fourth-rounder Jay Ward, plus vet Joejuan Williams.
As Diamond suggests, it really is difficult to say exactly what the Vikings have in their secondary right now. They got a decent stretch of games from Akayleb Evans last year, but concussions derailed his season before he could truly establish himself as a starter. Meanwhile, Andrew Booth and Lewis Cine, Minnesota’s first two draft selections in 2022, saw very little playing time last year as well.
That being said, the Vikings won’t find out what they have in these young guys without putting them to the test. Perhaps that is part of Minnesota’s plan for 2024. It would be a risky one, but with no major additions outside of Byron Murphy to the group, that feels like the direction they may be headed in right now.
In all, there certainly are some intriguing options remaining on the free agency market if the Vikings are interested. Perhaps the two that Diamond suggests are the ones that Minnesota will target with their remaining cap space.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. 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.