The Vikings got off to a decent start to free agency shoring up the most critical area of need which was offensive tackle by far. Adding a veteran running back like Latavius Murray appears to be a decent move since he can be released before the 3rd day of the league year in 2018. Adding Datone Jones to play DE/DT appears to be a decent move too and he is only guaranteed 1.6 mil and will have to battle for his roster spot which I assume he should make.
The Vikings gave Thielen a nice extension but his exact numbers per year have not been added to spotrac yet.
Right now, without Thielen spotrac has the Vikings with 11.72 mil for the top 51 plus rookie pool.
I am not sure how they structured Thielen but I am going to guess he will have a cap hit of about 5 mil in the first year.
That leaves the Vikings with only about 6.72 mil to use the rest of this free agency.
I think it is very interesting that the Vikings tried to sign Jeffrey and then wanted to talk to Pryor. Also, bringing in Cook for a visit is also indicative of what they may be thinking.
I think that the defensive tackle position is in a similar position as offensive tackle last year if they are done in free agency and do not draft anyone. They did not have any offensive tackles signed for 2017 that was really worthwhile. Kalil was on a one year deal as was Smith and Loadholt (after his restructure).
Tom Johnson turns 33 Aug 30th and is in the last year of his deal. Jones is signed for a one year deal. Floyd is in his 5th year just like Kalil. Stephen and Toby Johnson are just depth. So next year, the Vikings could be desperate for defensive tackle help if Floyd goes elsewhere and Jones does not work out as hoped.
What I would do now is restructure/extend Bradford's deal to a 4 year 80 deal with a 12 mil signing bonus and a 7 mil first year salary. His cap hit would be 10 mil which saves 8 mil in cap space. His next 3 years of salary could be 19 mil, 20 mil, and 22 mil.
This allows the Vikings some flexibility and keeps Bradford as an asset. I am not sure if they will pick up Teddy's 5th year option which would cost about 11 to 12 mil. If he is unable to pass a physical in March of 2018 then his salary would be guaranteed (I think). If this is true then it may be too risky. They may just have to see how it goes and then try to extend Teddy after the 2017 season (or sometime during).
Having Bradford under contract might make him more attractive to other teams considering the money that QBs are making now. Let's say Teddy is showing he is all the way back by the middle of next year. Even if he does not play much next year that allows the Vikings to try to trade Bradford. Even if it is a 3rd or 4th that would not be bad.
So after giving Bradford that deal the Vikings would have 14.72 mil left.
The next thing I would do is give Rhodes a 5 year 75 mil extension with a 15 mil signing bonus, 2 mil in workout bonuses, and a 8.026 mil first year salary. His cap hit would go up 3 mil in the first year. His next 4 years of salary could be 10.5 mil, 11 mil, 11.5 mil, 12 mil, & 13 mil.
After this signing the Vikings would have 11.72 mil left.
I think they should restructure/extend Robison's deal. His cap hit is 6.6 mil and it is the last year of his deal and he turns 34 in April. I think a 3 year 12 mil restructure/extension with a 2 mil roster bonus and a 1.5 mil first year salary is fair. His cap hit would be 4.5 mil which saves 2 mil in cap space. His next 2 years of salary could be 4 mil and 3.5 mil.
After this signing the Vikings would have 13.72 mil left.
There could be some cuts later that save cap space as well.
I think the Vikings should make a hard push to sign Johnathan Hankins. He reportedly wants 10 mil per year. I would offer a 5 year 35 mil deal with incentives that could push it to a 5 year 45 mil deal. I would give him a 5 mil signing bonus, 1 mil in workout bonuses, and a 1.8 mil first year salary. His cap hit would be 3 mil in the first year. His next 4 years of salary could be 6.8 mil, 6.8 mil, 6.8 mil, & 6.8 mil.
After this signing the Vikings would have 10.72 mil left.
I really think they should make this move and they could end up letting Johnson go or trading Floyd if possible. Trading Floyd would free up his 6.757 mil in salary.
The next move they should strongly consider is signing Austin Paztor OG/OT from the Browns. They originally signed him as an UDFA so they are very familiar with him as they did pre-draft work. He has started 43 games out of 58 games in his career with the Jaguars and Browns. He is at least a solid veteran with experience and is only 26 years old. I am kind of surprised they have not made this move to be honest. I think he could start at right guard or right tackle too. I would offer a 3 year 10.5 mil deal with a 1.8 mil signing bonus and a 1.7 mil first year salary. His cap hit would be 2.3 mil in the first year. His next 2 years of salary could be 3.5 mil each.
After this signing the Vikings would have 8.42 mil left.
I think the next move they should make is to sign a LB for depth or even to possibly start. I like Zach Brown and there are some others like Gerald Hodges, Perry Riley, and DeAndre Levy. The pickings are getting slim though and they may not feel like a free agent will come in and do better than Lamur, Brother, or Robinson.
Extend Bradford - 4 yr 80 mil
Extend Rhodes - 5 yr 75 milExtend Robison - 3 year 12 mil
Sign Johnathan Hankins - 5 yr 35 mil with incentives to push it to 45 mil
Sign Austin Pasztor - 3 yr 10.5 mil
One idea I have posted in a fanpost was that I think the Vikings should try to trade for Jordan Matthews WR from the Eagles. They signed Alshon Jeffrey and Torrey Smith and have Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham on the roster too. Matthews is entering his last season and they may not be able to keep him if they want to keep Jeffrey. I think the timing could be right.
In the draft I would be free to do anything. I think a center/guard prospect would be in order. I am not sure I would even bother taking a tackle since the group is weak this year and the team would be set as best as possible for now. No need to add more developmental types until next year IMO.
Obviously a corner, safety, defensive end, and linebacker would be good choices especially secondary. But the team pushed hard for Jeffrey and then Cook so that is informative.
Here you go. I am going to use the drafttek mock as a guide.
2.48 Malik McDowell DT Michigan State Jr 6’5” 295
I would not be comfortable with just Joseph, Hankins, Jones, and Stephen next year. Even less comfortable without Hankins. The Vikings need to avoid being in the same situation they were in with the offensive tackles this year.
3.80 Desmond King FS Iowa Sr 5’10” 201
3.86 Pat Elflein C Ohio State rSr 6’2.5” 303
4.121 Nathan Peterman QB Pittsburgh rSr 6’2.4” 226
4.129 Ahkello Witherspoon CB Colorado rSr 6’2.6” 195 8
5.160 D'Onta Foreman RB Texas Jr 6’0.2” 233
6.199 Stacy Coley WR Miami (Fla.) Sr 5’11.7” 195
7.232 Eric Saubert TE Drake rSr 6’4.6 253
Jimmie Gilbert OLB Colorado Sr 6’4” 230
Brad Seaton OT Villanova Sr 6’8.6 311
Damore'ea Stringfellow WR Ole Miss rJr 6’2” 212
Joe Williams RB Utah Sr 5’11” 205
Alternate draft ...
Trade. #48 to the Chiefs for #59 & #104
2.59 Dan Feeney OG Indiana
3.80 Desmond King S Iowa
3.86 Tanoh Kpassagnon DE Villanova
3.104 Sidney Jones CB Washington
4.121 Nathan Peterman QB Pittsburgh
4.129 Dont'a Foreman RB Texas
5.160 Carlos Henderson WR Louisiana Tech
6.199 Tanzel Smart DT Tulane
7.232 Eric Saubert TE Drake
Well, I doubt much of this happens especially in the rest of free agency and the trade. Obviously the draft can go any number of directions and I am certain that many people would want the Vikings to draft more than one offensive lineman.
I think with the draft class being kind of weak it is not a good use of draft picks to bring in more developmental linemen. They have plenty right now.
Feel free to post your own mocks!