For all intents and purposes, the table was already set for the Minnesota Vikings as they prepared to head into the 2017 free agency period this week. After a promising season was washed down the drain due primarily to the team’s struggles on the offensive line, it’s time to fix what’s broken.
Due to spectacular defensive play and non-tradition scores from your defense and special teams, the Vikings opened the season 5-0 last year. Then their flaws were exploited, mainly on the offensive line. Those issues hampered the run game, which hampered the passing game, which hampered the longevity of offensive drives which in turn hampers a worn out defense that doesn’t get enough time to rest. Nobody in their right mind will put all the fault on the offensive line but when you’re breaking down percentages, the large majority is certainly pointing at the offensive front.
Then things got a little worse Thursday morning as reports started to leak out that former fourth overall pick Matt Kalil is planning to reunite with his brother Ryan in Carolina with the Panthers when the bell officially rings today at 3pm. If their hands weren’t tied before this news, now they are. As it stands right now, the Vikings offensive line is Alex Boone…that’s it.
Traditionally, the Vikings have leaned on the NFL Draft to build for the future but even that isn’t foolproof. With no first round pick and a offensive line draft class that is considered to be shallow, it’s time to get outside of the box.
And this ladies and gentlemen, is why today’s free agency kickoff could be an exciting one for the Minnesota Vikings and their fan base. It’s starting to look like we can expect the Vikings to come out of the gate swinging with an aggressive approach to free agency.
Entering the season a year ago, everything was coming up roses for the Vikings and their offensive line. They chose to get mildly aggressive in free agency bringing in Alex Boone and Andre Smith and they were looking to enter into training camp with 16 offensive linemen set to battle across the line. Everybody felt good about their efforts to improve the situation on the line.
What a difference a year makes!
Decimated by injuries, retirements, cuts, failed expectations and now losing one of their own via free agency, it’s essentially time to start over up front for the Vikings offensive line.
It’s almost to the point where the Vikings will have to be aggressive in free agency solely to field a roster come September. I mean, they’ll only be shopping for a new starting left tackle, center, right guard, right tackle and a whole new load of depth.
They’ve got a decent chunk of change to play around with after clearing Adrian’s $18 million and taking Shaun Hill, Brandon Fusco, Chad Greenway and now Matt Kalil off the books. On top of the money, they’ve got the desperation as well. They acquired an adequate if not better option at quarterback, your receivers are coming together and you have a championship level defense whose window is closing ever so slowly. The time to strike is now and after a few swing and misses with offseason acquisitions the past few seasons, it’s time for Spielman to hit a home run.
That means a change in general strategy should be coming this afternoon when the market opens.
We should be disappointed if the Vikings don’t give a good run at the likes of Russell Okung, Kevin Zeitler, Lang, Whitworth and the like.
If not, 2017 could be a rough one for Vikings fans