Well, folks, we're over a week into free agency, and the biggest chunk of the signings appear to be just about over and done with. So, it's time to take a look at what the Minnesota Vikings have done in free agency thus far and what everyone thinks of everything that's transpired.
To review, here are all of the moves that the team has made leading up to and during the free agency period.
|Players Gained||Players Re-Signed||Players Released||Players Lost|
|Datone Jones, DE||Terence Newman, CB||Brandon Fusco, OL||Audie Cole, LB|
|Latavius Murray, RB||Adam Thielen, WR||Mike Harris, OL||Rhett Ellison, TE|
|Riley Reiff, OT||Adrian Peterson, RB||Charles Johnson, WR|
|Mike Remmers, OT||Matt Kalil, OT|
|Jeff Locke, P|
|Captain Munnerlyn, CB|
|Cordarrelle Patterson, WR|
|Andre Smith, OT|
According to the folks from Over the Cap, after all of those moves, the Vikings are now sitting on approximately $18.6 million in salary cap space. With their rookie pool set to come in at right around $5 million, they effectively have about $13.6 million of cap space left. Obviously, they're going to have to set some aside for use during the season and there are some moves that could be made to open up a little more space (Sam Bradford extension, Brian Robison renegotiation, etc.), but that's what they're looking at right now.
Best Addition: I think you have to go with Reiff on this one. I know that the experts (both actual and self-styled) have panned this acquisition, and on the surface it doesn't look like it should be that big a deal. But the people that are not thrilled by the signing of Reiff are, I believe, totally underestimating just how bad the Vikings' situation at offensive tackle was last year. After watching T.J. Clemmings get absolutely destroyed week after week after week trying to protect Sam Bradford's blindside, there's no way the team couldn't address that spot. The tackle class in this year's draft is not promising, so the Vikings chose to take care of the problem in free agency. Yes, Reiff isn't Joe Thomas or Andrew Whitworth. . .but he also isn't Matt Kalil or T.J. Clemmings. He's shown to be solid at left tackle, and that could be a big lift for a team that would settle for "competent" at left tackle and would be thrilled to death with "solid."
Worst Loss: Of all the players the Vikings lost, the biggest one in my opinion is Munnerlyn. You can make the case for Cordarrelle Patterson, sure, but with kickoff returns being minimized to the degree they have been, Patterson is going to have to show the ability to actually do something as a wide receiver besides catch short crossing patterns. Munnerlyn, on the other hand, was a very good slot corner for the Vikings in two of the three years he was here (when he was actually listening to Mike Zimmer), and with as rough as Mackensie Alexander looked at times last season, the Vikings are going to have to hope he develops a lot between now and August. Of course, the Vikings could try playing Newman as their primary slot corner at this point if Alexander continues to struggle.
Most Surprising: I don't know if it was super surprising or anything, but the Vikings bringing in Latavius Murray at running back meant that the Vikings were officially ending the Adrian Peterson era. I wasn't sure if they'd do it, but they did it. While Murray will never be mistaken for prime Peterson as a runner, he does bring a couple of extra dimensions that Peterson was not bringing to the offense, and will be part of a solid rotation with Jerick McKinnon and whoever the Vikings draft this April. Oh, and his cap figure for 2017 is lower than that of Jarius Wright, which makes it a pretty nice deal for the Vikings.
Overall, if I were giving out letter grades for what the Vikings have done so far, I'd have to give them a solid B. Outside of Munnerlyn, there really isn't anyone that they lost that isn't replaceable. I would have liked them to find a way to get one bigger name at one of the tackle spots, like a Ricky Wagner or something along those lines, but you can't have everything. So, I'd go with a B, leaning more towards B+ than B-.
So, with that, here's your opportunity to grade Rick Spielman and company on their free agency run. Have at it, folks!