Vikings Offseason–the Reaping has Begun (Please Make it Stop)
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Okay, we need to stop. The Vikings season just ended five days ago (in disappointing and enervating fashion, I might add), and we already have seen people calling for the removal of enough players and coaches to make TCO Performance Center look like an old, deserted western town with tumbleweed blowing through the halls. I, on the other hand, would like to see enough people left in the building to be able to field a team—a competitive one—next season, but fan and media speculation (and actual defections) are starting to make that look difficult.
Here is what happened:
The OC left to coach the Cleveland Browns.
The DC’s contract was not renewed.
The secondary coach will not be returning.
The Browns requested permission to interview Vikings assistant general manager George Paton for their GM vacancy.
Those are the things that have already happened. Yet the hue and cry is for more (as in saying bye-bye to Mike Zimmer and Rick Spielman). And folks have something to say about the players as well.
Trade Diggs (he’s a diva).
Trade Dalvin (he’s injury prone).
Trade Thielen (his value is at its peak).
Cut Rudy (he’s old).
Release Everson (ditto).
Restructure or else get rid of Cousins (he gets paid too much).
Trade Alexander Mattison (who is on a rookie contract—really?!!!).
Do folks want to see the Vikings, who just won a playoff game, to even win four games next season? Well, the aforementioned list of moves would be the recipe for it.
My favorite is the idea that we should trade one or more of three best players on the offense (Cook, Stefon or Adam) and expect to trade up in the draft to grab (probably a quarterback) who at this point is unproven and no better to the team than Jake Browning. Why would anyone want that?
The draft is a crapshoot, and that notion simply magnifies when it comes to drafting quarterbacks. You want to trade away your most prized commodities for a chance to throw a dart at a balloon waving to and fro in the wind on the wall of a carnival booth? As Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) says to Coleman Reese (Joshua Harto) trying to blackmail Batman in “The Dark Knight”: “Good luck.”
These knee-jerk ideas don’t even take into consideration all the impending free agents the Vikings are facing this offseason. That list is lengthy and important (and here includes my suggestions):
CB Trae Waynes (re-sign)
S Anthony Harris (re-sign)
OT Rashod Hill (re-sign)
S Andrew Sendejo (sayonara)
CB Mackensie Alexander (re-sign)
K Dan Bailey (re-sign)
P Britton Colquitt (re-sign)
CB/R Marcus Sherels (thanks for the memories)
QB Sean Mannion (adieu)
G Dakota Dozier (not sure)
RB Ameer Abdullah (bubble maybe buh bye)
C Brett Jones (re-sign)
WR Laquon Treadwell (adios)
LB Kentrell Brothers (later, dude)
S Jayon Kearse (so long, it would seem)
DE Stephen Weatherly (see ya)
TE David Morgan—Vikings could toll contract to 2020 (if healthy, re-sign)
DE Everson Griffen— Can opt out of 2020 contract (re-sign or have him kill your QB next season)
FB C.J. Ham (re-sign)
LB Eric Wilson (re-sign)
But then with Waynes and Alexander up for new contracts and Mike Hughes with a broken neck, the Vikings should just send Xavier Rhodes packing (okay, I would talk to him about a restructuring, but they can’t afford to let him go—the cap hit is too great). With that kind of thinking they will end up with Marcus Sherels shadowing Davante Adams, et. al. next season.
But there is no denying it is going to be difficult.
“I think we’ll have to make some tough decisions in a lot of areas, not just in the secondary,” Zimmer said. “We’re going to have to sit down with [front-office officials] and talk about where we’re at with the salary cap, where we’re at with the age of players, who we feel like are going to be core players for us in the future.”
I have seen some pundits on Twitter claim this is going to be a fascinating offseason for the Vikings. That is true if you are one of those fans who love this time of year when possibilities for change are many and hope is as plentiful as the snow in your backyard, or else you are one of those pundits who get to cover it and have all that low hanging fruit to pick.
But for those folks who want to see a roster that has been called “as talented as any still in the playoffs” (that actually has been said, but I am not willing to rubber stamp that platitude we’ve heard all season about this team) take the next step—rather than gut the coaching staff, cut the roster, tear down and rebuild and hope to get a bunch of high draft picks in the coming years—I say enough is enough. If the Vikings really are close and simply need to backfill some young players on defense, bolster a couple spots on the offensive line—let’s not blow the whole thing up.
Then again, there is about three or four Josh Donaldson’s just waiting in free agency to sign with the Purple, right? And there is a can’t miss quarterback who is likely to drop to the third or fourth round (late, because of the playoff win the Vikings don’t select until 25) that the team will grab and develop into the next Patrick Mahomes, ready to go at the completion of Kirk’s contract. And there is all kinds of money in the expanding salary cap for Minnesota. I sure HOPE that all happens.
The truth of the matter is, the Vikings need to make some changes. They are starting in the coaching staff and it will soon spill into the roster. Taking all the possibilities at once makes it look ridiculous, but something has to change and it shouldn’t be wholesale. They should not trade one or two of their three main offensive weapons, get that stud left tackle (who another team is just aching to get rid of), move Riley Reiff inside to guard and announce themselves good to go.
If they did, in my opinion, they wouldn’t be much fun to watch. But one thing is for sure: it should be a fascinating offseason.