Seriously, folks, this "people from ESPN being saying nice things about the Minnesota Vikings" thing is starting to get out of hand.
First, we had Skip Bayless saying that he thought the Vikings were going to be heading back to the playoffs in 2016, against the objections of Shannon Sharpe, who he was debating on the matter. Now, we have ESPN football expert Bill Barnwell singing the praises of what the Vikings did this offseason compared to their NFC North rivals.
We've always had a bit of a soft spot for Bill Barnwell, to be honest. . .he was one of the first prominent media types to sit down for a Q&A with us waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back in 2008, and he knows what he's talking about. That makes me that much happier to see what he has to say about our favorite football team going into 2016.
Barnwell gave the Vikings an A-minus grade for their work this offseason, the highest grade in the NFC North. Both the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers managed to collect a solid B grade, while the Detroit Lions brought up the rear with a C-plus. I won't quote the whole article here, but Barnwell talks about how the Vikings have built up their offensive line and their secondary, as well as the way Rick Spielman fleeced the Miami Dolphins during the 2016 NFL Draft.
In fact, Barnwell can only find fault with one thing about the Vikings' offseason.
They haven't come to terms with Harrison Smith on an extension yet. It's hard to find much fault with what the Vikings have done this offseason, so this is really the closest thing to a mistake Spielman has made. Smith is about as good as it gets at safety in the NFC after Earl Thomas, and while the Vikings have him locked up through 2016 on his fifth-year option at $5.3 million, they'll want to keep him around for the next few years. That's about it. The Vikings are smart.
If I were a betting man, I would wager that the Vikings are going to get a deal done with the NFL's best safety sooner rather than later.
It's nice to hear people talking positively about the Minnesota Vikings going into a season. Honestly, I think I could get used to this.