The Minnesota Vikings have welcomed six new faces in free agency this offseason, so far. Every single of them is a defensive player. To date, general manager has put zero emphasis on the offense via free agency — for better or worse.
Who are the new folks? Stephen Weatherly (DE), Dalvin Tomlinson (3DT), Nick Vigil (LB), Patrick Peterson (CB), Mackensie Alexander (CB), and Xavier Woods (FS).
The exiting personnel:
Now, don’t be spooked. That collection of men is not precious. In fact, the incoming players far outshine the departing ones in terms of talent.
And that’s precisely how free agency should work.
Eric Wilson (LB)
Wilson’s presence still on the open market is strange. Some thought he’d fetch upward of $9 million per season. That didn’t happen. As each day elapses, Wilson’s price tag theoretically shrinks. If too much time goes by, Wilson can merely return to the Vikings add a smaller price. And voila — Kendricks, Barr, and Wilson ride again.
Sean Mannion (QB)
Mannion has never thrown a single touchdown pass in his six-year career. But who cares? The Vikings love him. He never has to play because Kirk Cousins is Iron Man-like with his durability.
When it’s all said and done for this offseason, the Vikings will either draft a rookie quarterback, promote Nate Stanley to QB2 — or it’s back to Mannion we go.
Dakota Dozier (G) — Update: Dozier was re-signed on 3/30/2021
Listen, Dozier was the subject of criticism during the pandemic season — he and his guard counterpart, Dru Samia. Neither was very good. Dozier’s Pro Football Focus grade was a stinky 44.6. No wonder he is unsigned.
But Dozier is a backup offensive lineman. The Vikings wanted him to play as a starter. He isn’t. And that’s probably why he won’t return to Minnesota, unless it’s in a severely reservist capacity.
Todd Davis (LB)
Few people know — or maybe don’t care — but Davis is a damn good football player. He filled in nicely during 2020 when Eric Kendricks and Anthony succumbed to injury. Davis is a tackling machine. Two years ago, 2019, Davis tallied 134 tackles with the Denver Broncos, and virtually nobody cares.
The Vikings should bring him back for a tiny contract if Davis will allow it. He might even be a better option than Nick Vigil.
Brett Jones (C)
Jones is the habitual bread-and-butter of Minnesota’s depth plan for the offensive line. His name always pops up on the Vikings roster. He, like Dozier, is a reservist type — that is also known for his versatility. Minnesota’s front office loves him. He will likely return in some capacity for 2021.
George Iloka (S)
Spielman has tried the Iloka experiment a couple of times now. It never reaps too many rewards. Iloka was hurt in 2020 and didn’t find his way back to the team. Although not impossible, this relationship is probably [finally] over.
Jaleel Johnson (3DT)
Back in the days of 3DT futility — like one month ago — Johnson was the answer inside the Vikings interior defensive line.
Not anymore. Spielman signed the mammoth Dalvin Tomlinson for the gig. He is the undisputed starting three-technique defensive tackle for 2021. If Johnson is re-upped, it will be for DT2 or DT3.
Chris Jones (CB)
Suddenly, the Vikings have more cornerbacks than fishing rods at a Dick’s Sporting Goods. Jones is likely not an intergral part of the 2021 plan.
Last year, the mere presence of his body was mandatory as the team was so slim at CB. Fast forward to March of 2021, though, and the cornerback room houses Patrick Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, Jeff Gladney, Mike Hughes, and Mackensie Alexander.
That’s how Zimmer solves a secondary problem.