The Minnesota Vikings started Monday morning with a flurry of moves. First, they announced they would be parting ways with veterans Andrew Sendejo and Mike Remmers.
Sendejo’s 2019 option was declined by the ream, resulting in $5.45 million in open cap space. Sendejo may be best remembered by fans as the guy who really turned himself around as a player. Before Mike Zimmers arrival, Sendejo often looked lost in coverage and missed many tackles looking for big hits. By the end of his time, when healthy, Sendejo looked like a decent mate to Harrison Smith, and one of the hardest hitters on the team, with less missed tackles.
Remmers being released saves the team about $4.5 million. The team now has about $14 million in cap space to play with for the upcoming free agency period, and NFL Draft. Remmers being cut follows his disastrous season trying to transition to playing offensive guard instead of his more natural tackle position. Remmers played the final 5 games of 2017 at guard with poor results. The Vikings saw fit to keep Remmers inside for the entirety of 2018. The result was terrible for both Remmers and the offense as a whole. Remmers ended the season as the #48 ranked guard according to Pro Football Focus, and looked worse than that on tape.
The other two moves that the Vikings announced is that they will be tendering the contracts of Anthony Harris and Rashod Hill. Harris is tendered for a 2nd round pick, while hill will receive right-of-first-refusal. This means that the Vikings will have the ability to match any offers for these two and receive draft pick compensation.
Harris, who will almost certainly not be picked up by another team, has done a fine job in relief of previously mentioned Andrew Sendejo while he battled injury and disciplinary league action for an illegal hit.
Hill has done a serviceable job as a depth man on the offensive line. Hill was picked up from the Jacksonville practice squad a couple years ago and has shown value that many probably didn’t expect.
Another report says that the Vikings will not be asking tight end Kyle Rudolph to restructure his contract. Rudolph, along with Everson Griffen, was a popular name thrown around to take less money to help the team gain more cap space. It appears the team feels he has earned his keep and will be starting tight end moving into the year.
These aggresive move to find cap space and secure some younger players may shed some light upon what the Vikings plan to do in the coming free agency period and the NFL draft. With the release of Remmers and Sendejo, the Vikings opened themselves up to be players once again. They won’t be splashing like they did last year when they threw $80 million of guaranteed money at Kirk Cousins, but they may be in on some other guys.
Reportedly, the Vikings are pursuing former Miami Dolphin offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James. James has been improving the last couple years, and is a better run blocker then anything. This would fit with the Vikings wanting to make their identity a running offense. James is also only 26, young for a lineman, and has the possibility to anchor one side of the line for years to come.
The Vikings are also reportedly listening to offers on both Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes, among others. Waynes is on the final year of his rookie contract, and looking to get paid. That possibility could come in Minnesota if they move on from Rhodes who has been their CB1 for a few years now.
Although Rhodes is considered one of the best cornerbacks in football, his nagging injuries have been a concern. At least once a game he seems to tweak something and sit out a series. Waynes has not had those issues and done a serviceable job in Rhodes’ absences.
The final possibility could be that the Vikings are freeing up cap space to make a run at their own Anthony Barr before free agency opens on Wednesday. There has been almost no talk of Barr re-signing in Minnesota recently. Barr also would likely be paid more to join a 3-4 scheme where he could rush the quarterback more. Although a valuable part of Minnesota’s defense, the disconnect between Barr and the team seems evident, and it’s unlikely that the Vikings will have what it takes to bring him back.
As always, free agency and the draft will be an exciting, and hopefully not disappointing time. We’ll have more coverage as it comes. SKOL!