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ESPN takes a look at the future of the Minnesota Vikings roster

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They attempt to project how the team will look in 2020

NFL: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With the bye week for the Minnesota Vikings almost over. . .mercifully. . .we can get back to talking about this season in another day or two. In the meantime, however, we’re looking for stuff to talk about, and behind the great E$PN paywall, Bill Barnwell has another topic for discussion for us.

Barnwell took a look at all 32 NFL rosters and attempted to project how their rosters will look in the year 2020. He divided each team up into three categories: Virtual Locks, On the Bubble, and Unlikely Notables. Let’s take a look at who Barnwell thinks will still be in purple in 2020, shall we?

The “Virtual Lock” category has a lot of the names you’d expect:

  • Dalvin Cook, RB
  • Kirk Cousins, QB
  • Stefon Diggs, WR
  • Pat Elflein, C
  • Mike Hughes, CB
  • Danielle Hunter, DE
  • Eric Kendricks, LB
  • Brian O’Neill, OT
  • Xavier Rhodes, CB
  • Harrison Smith, S
  • Adam Thielen, WR
  • Stephen Weatherly, DE

2020 will be the final year of the contract Cousins signed this offseason, so he’ll absolutely be here. In his commentary, Barnwell notes that Thielen’s contract is likely going to have to be addressed sooner rather than later as well. While it’s a little light on offensive linemen, this does seem like a pretty solid core for the purple going forward.

The “On the Bubble” category is where things start to get interesting.

  • Mackensie Alexander, CB (signed through 2019)
  • Anthony Barr, LB (signed through 2018)
  • Nick Easton, OL (signed through 2018)
  • Everson Griffen, DE (signed through 2022)
  • Rashod Hill, OT (signed through 2018)
  • George Iloka, S (signed through 2018)
  • Linval Joseph, DT (signed through 2022)
  • Riley Reiff, OT (signed through 2021)
  • Mike Remmers, OT (signed through 2021)
  • Kyle Rudolph, TE (signed through 2019)
  • Andrew Sendejo, S (signed through 2019)
  • Trae Waynes, CB (signed through 2019)

Here’s the commentary that Barnwell has with this particular group:

With that core, the Vikings probably can’t afford this second tier of expensive veterans and players who are about to become them. Hughes will take over for Waynes. The Vikings will draft a replacement for Barr. Reiff could be around come 2020, but Remmers might not represent good value at a $6 million base salary after moving inside to guard.

I’m surprised to see Griffen and Joseph on this list, quite frankly. By the time we hit 2020, we would be at a point where the Vikings could save a lot of cap space by cutting both of those guys loose (about $10 million for Joseph and around $13 million for Griffen). But the defensive line is a spot where guys can be productive for quite a while, and both of those guys are very productive when they’re healthy and on their game.

Other than that, the only players in that category that are still scheduled to be under contract when 2020 rolls around are Reiff and Remmers. Much like Griffen and Joseph, their contracts are structured in a manner that it would no longer be cost-prohibitive to cut either (or both) of them loose by the time 2020 rolls around. If the Vikings can actually develop some offensive linemen to go with Elflein and O’Neill, I can see that group being mostly accurate.

Barnwell did have one name under the “Unlikely Notables” list that I might have a disagreement with.

  • Dan Bailey, K
  • Latavius Murray, RB
  • Sheldon Richardson, DT
  • Laquon Treadwell, WR

Right now, I’m not sure where Richardson would fall on the Vikings’ potential re-signing food chain, which at this point likely has Barr and Waynes on it, too. I think Richardson is a guy that they’d like to have back for the long-term, but he’s had a pretty solid season thus far and could fetch a pretty big contract on the open market. The Vikings will, likely, get a high-level compensatory pick for Richardson if he were to leave, so that would play into things as well.

What do you think of Bill Barnwell’s projections for the Vikings’ 2020 roster, folks?