Well this season has been great! 12-3 and a chance to get to 13-3 and have a first round bye and maybe even home field advantage throughout the season is a fantastic place to be as a Vikings fan. I couldn't really ask for more but, to be honest, having the QB situation settled for next year would be a cherry on top of the season thus far. This is not going to happen so I assume there will be debates out the ying yang all the way up until someone is signed. And then it still wont end. I love it!
Trying to speculate about the draft next year requires a little quick review of the salary cap next year and possible contract extensions, restructures, or voids (i.e., someone getting released). Right now the Vikings have about 11.245 mil in cap space (according to spotrac). Next year's projected cap space is projected to be 174 and 178 mil. The Vikings have 39 players under contract for about 126 mil in cap space leaving about 48 mil. And in the 11 mil or so and they will have roughly 60 mil (using the 174 mil cap number) and possible more if the cap is above 174 mil.
The Vikings have these players under contract next year and here are there contract numbers (according to spotrac) ...
Player | Pos | Cap Hit
Pat Elflein | C | $871,210
Danny Isidora | G | $605,484
Nick Easton | G | RFA
Jeremiah Sirles | G | RFA
Riley Reiff | T | $11,400,000
Mike Remmers | T | $4,600,000
Rashod Hill | T | $630,000
Aviante Collins | T | $560,000
Kyle Rudolph | TE | $7,300,000
Blake Bell | TE | $705,000
David Morgan | TE | $663,864
Kyle Carter | TE | $555,000
Adam Thielen | WR | $4,500,000
Jarius Wright | WR | $4,260,000
Laquon Treadwell | WR | $2,709,539
Stefon Diggs | WR | $761,929
Stacy Coley | WR | $627,510
Latavius Murray | RB | $6,350,000
Dalvin Cook | RB | $1,443,939
C.J. Ham | RB | $555,000
Mack Brown | RB | ERFA
Kyle Sloter | QB | ERFA
Everson Griffen | DE | $11,600,000
Brian Robison | DE | $3,500,000
Danielle Hunter | DE | $892,306
Stephen Weatherly | DE | $630,000
Tashawn Bower | DE | $560,000
Linval Joseph | DT | $8,050,000
Jaleel Johnson | DT | $724,588
Anthony Barr | LB | $12,306,000
Eric Kendricks | LB | $1,640,520
Ben Gedeon | LB | $713,286
Kentrell Brothers | LB | $688,170
Eric Wilson | LB | $558,333
Shaan Washington | LB | $556,666
Xavier Rhodes | CB | $13,400,000
Trae Waynes | CB | $4,118,663
Mackensie Alexander | CB | $1,177,174
Harrison Smith | S | $10,000,000
Andrew Sendejo | S | $3,500,000
Jayron Kearse | S | $646,056
Anthony Harris | S | RFA
Kevin McDermott | LS | $925,000
Ryan Quigley | P | $790,000
... the unrestricted free agents are ...
Sam Bradford QB
Case Keenum QB
Teddy Bridgewater QB
Jerick McKinnon RB
Bishop Sankey RB
Michael Floyd WR
Joe Berger G
Sharrif Floyd DT
Tom Johnson DT
Shamar Stephen DT
Emmanuel Lamar LB
Terrence Newman CB
Marcus Sherels CB
Tramaine Brock CB
Kai Forbath K
Obviously the first priority is at QB. I think they likely will only be able to keep one of the three. If they offer Keenum a contract worth 18 mil per year or more then convincing either of the other two to stick around for a lot less and as a backup is unlikely. Same goes if they offer Teddy or Sam the higher deal.
At running back, I could see them not offering McKinnon enough that will stop him from testing the market and I expect he would get slightly more on the open market. It's possible they could cut Murray and keep McKinnon for less but they would still likely want a thumper.
At guard, I could see them offering Berger a modest deal but it really comes down to if he wants to keep playing and if they believe he will still be productive at age 36 (he turns 36 May 26, 2018). Tough call really and he could retire on his own. I think a guard needs to be added in free agency or the draft.
At tackle, I could see another player being added because Remmers has only played 55% of the snaps. Hill could be the possible starter and Collins is still developing.
At tight end, they might make an upgrade over Bell and Carter.
At receiver, they likely will bring in some more competition and could possibly re-sign Floyd to another modest deal. It would be a better situation if Treadwell could contribute more. A lot more. They likely will begin discussion with Diggs and a Thielen type deal although I expect Diggs will want slightly more.
At defensive tackle I could see them offering Johnson and Stephen new deals. They might add someone in the draft or could expect Dylan Bradley to make the jump from the practice squad.
At defensive end, I think they look good but could decide to move on from Robison. I think he has done more than enough to stay and finish out his career in Minnesota and next year is his last under contract. I think they should begin talks with Hunter too.
At linebacker, I expect not much will be done besides adding some late round draft pick or undrafted free agent to compete. I think they will extend Barr and begin discussions with Kendricks.
At cornerback, I think they could offer Newman a new one year deal but that depends on if he wants to keep playing. I could see another draft pick being added early too because Zimmer loves corners. They may or may not extend Waynes after his 5th year and it could prove to be too costly to even try. I am not sure what they will do with Sherels but I think they should really look to find someone who they could plug in at corner and that has upside there.
At safety, they could look to add someone in the draft or maybe Tocho makes a claim to a spot.
The 60 mil in cap space can be gone very quickly just by signing one of the QBs and more than a few of the in house free agents. I think they could possibly do these contracts ...
3 year at 18 mil per year to Keenum or Bridgewater
5 year at 10.5 mil per year to Barr
5 year at 10 mil per year to Kendricks
5 year at 10.5 mil per year to Hunter
4 year at 8.5 mil per year to Diggs
2 year at 4 mil per year to Johnson
.. this should leave enough to sign Easton, Sirles, Harris, and possibly Newman, Stephen, Sherels, and the kicker. They would have to structure the deals in a way that allows for these other signings as they seldom have the contracts totally evenly spread out per year. The signing bonuses will bring down the first and second year totals.
I would not be surprised at all if they decided to let Diggs, Hunter, and Kendricks play out their final year and then try to sign them towards the end of next season. They all would be unrestricted free agents after the 2018 season so this could be risky.
The Vikings should be drafted #32 of course. But I expect pick #30 at the worst.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
SENT: FUTURE ROUND 2 PICK
RECEIVED: ROUND: 3 PICK: 8 & ROUND: 4 PICK: 29
30: R1P30 QB JOSH ALLEN WYOMING
62: R2P30 TE MARK ANDREWS OKLAHOMA
72: R3P8 G WILL HERNANDEZ UTEP
94: R3P30 EDGE MARCUS DAVENPORT UTSA
131: R4P29 WR ANTHONY MILLER MEMPHIS
169: R5P30 S GODWIN IGWEBUIKE NORTHWESTERN
208: R6P30 RB AKRUM WADLEY IOWA
215: R6P37 C BRADLEY BOZEMAN ALABAMA
218: R6P40 DL P.J. HALL SAM HOUSTON STATE
Now I know some would think it is a waste of a first round pick to select Josh Allen. I think the Vikings have shown that they will trade away a first round pick (which has not brought back any value) and some of the first round picks have proven to not be worth it thus far.
I actually believe the Vikings would have to trade up to get Allen and I would be in favor of them doing this kind of move too.
Once they sign one of the players they currently have to a new deal that new deal is likely going to be only 2 to 3 years in terms of guaranteed money. In the meantime, Allen will be getting groomed. I like it a lot.
If they could then get Andrews that would be pretty sweet to start off the draft. To me.
Trading away a future 2nd to get Hernandez & Anthony Miller may prove to be very good value.
Here is a new draft trade chart ...
Here is another mock ...
SENT: ROUND: 1 PICK: 30
RECEIVED: ROUND: 2 PICK: 12 & ROUND: 3 PICK: 12
SENT: FUTURE ROUND 3 PICK
RECEIVED: ROUND: 4 PICK: 24 & ROUND: 5 PICK: 25
SENT: ROUND: 5 PICK: 25 &ROUND: 6 PICK: 40
RECEIVED: ROUND: 5 PICK: 13 & ROUND: 7 PICK: 23
44: R2P12 DL DARON PAYNE ALABAMA
62: R2P30 TE DALLAS GOEDERT SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
76: R3P12 C BILLY PRICE OHIO STATE
94: R3P30 WR DANTE PETTIS WASHINGTON
126: R4P24 CB HOLTON HILL TEXAS
152: R5P13 RB BO SCARBROUGH ALABAMA
169: R5P30 LB KEISHAWN BIERRIA WASHINGTON
208: R6P30 EDGE JOE OSTMAN CENTRAL MICHIGAN
215: R6P37 WR JAKE WIENEKE SOUTH DAKOTA STATE
242: R7P23 CB DANNY JOHNSON SOUTHERN
I wish everyone Happy Holidays!