supavike1's offseason roster plan: take 2

Since my first cut at the offseason strategy, a lot has happened. Players were released (Sendejo, Remmers) and players were signed (Stephen, Barr, Bailey, Abdullah, Kline). Some weren't surprises (the releases). Some were (Richardson!!!! holy u-turn, Barr!). And we had Everson Griffen do the team a huge favor with a restructure to increase money under the cap in 2019.

The landscape is different, but my mentality does not change. The Vikings remain tight to the cap and critically undermanned along the offensive line.

So I focus on trading a key asset whom I don't think will be kept past 2019 anyway -- with the goal of accruing draft capital that can help the team this year AND to free up cap dollars to acquire free agency depth on the OL after the June 1 cuts or possibly after camp cutdowns in August.

Estimated cap space after recent signing of Kline and Abdullah: 3M (draft pool expected to consume about 6.8M)


Trae Waynes (add 9.1M in cap space for 2019)

A trade nets cap space to enable signing lower-tier FAs (and also a kicker and a punter) but also picks up critical draft capital to build back some young talent on rookie contracts. The question is how much draft capital. The Vikings find themselves in a position of leverage with Waynes because teams know Minnesota doesn't have to trade him. He's a good, ascending corner. And his 2019 cap hit is not something they couldn't handle with some roster pruning. But the Vikings also should be listening for any offer that nets them another top 50 pick, which would be the sweet spot to give them a legitimate shot at a starting offensive lineman. The teams that intrigue me are Kansas City (desperate to win now by upgrading secondary) and Indianapolis (rumored to be looking for a CB trade with their two second-round picks).

Could Spielman pry KC's 29th overall pick away or Indy's 34th, while perhaps having to dig into a more bountiful (compensatory pick -- at least a third for Richardson) 2020 draft to send something back to the Chiefs or Colts? I could justify it because of the state of the OL roster, and the possibility the Vikings could turn their offense around with an OL rebuild. Might he secure a second-round pick from Indianapolis, which (if rumors are true) is in the market and which has a nice draft haul to spend. In the end I think the Chiefs will want to hold onto their first-rounder and hope a top corner slips to 29, so ...

IND gets CB Trae Waynes; MN gets IND's earlier second-round pick in 2019 (34th overall)

Cap space after trade: 12.1M


Pierre Garcon, WR - 1 year, 3.5 mil (2019 cap: 3.5 mil)

The Vikings are missing a WR3 in a huge way, and their QB has a pretty impressive rapport with Garcon. Even in his later years, Garcon can serve that role as the third receiver that Treadwell can't be. Another weapon in the receiving corps who can do damage against single coverage, unlike Treadwell. And this pickup helps the WR corps and takes pressure to find a starting WR in the draft.

Marcus Sherels - 1 year, 1 mil (2019 cap: 1 mil)

Matt Wile - 2 years, 2 mil (2019 cap: 1 mil)

Cap space after proposed signings: 6.5M


The draft strategy changes now to focus heavily on offensive line because (let's face it) even with Kline, the Vikings have to look at it as they need to find two starters and a key contributor for depth. With Kline on board, their only rostered guards are Kline and Isidora, and Elflein is a major question mark for me at center. I am hopeful of a bounceback with training full time in the offseason. But we have to be wary of a guy whose rookie season was not great even before the injury. I am putting value at finding a draftable center and then a guard.

Rd. 1, pick 18: **TRADE**
(MN receives pick 22 overall, pick 102 overall and pick 160 overall from BAL)
Rd. 1, pick 22 (from BAL): Garrett Bradbury, OG/OC, NC State

Behind Jonah Williams, Bradbury is the most plug-and-play OL in this draft. Technique, play strength, athleticism are all where you want them to be to consider Bradbury a starter in 2019. The Vikings take a risk with a tradeback to get him but feel the availability of Chris Lindstrom (similar pro-ready zone blocking fit) is insurance enough. Bradbury could be gone, but traditionally the draft's first round has not been kind to centers. It's not a sexy pick, and many sexy picks will be staring Spielman in the face here. But to make real change on the OL, this is the kind of necessary investment you make for a longtime anchor on the interior of the line. And added bonus: The Vikings get him after a tradeback, which gives a couple picks later in the draft.

Rd. 2 (34 overall, from IND): Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

Whammo! Dream scenario unfolds as the Vikings land two of the three most start-ready interior offensive linemen in this draft. Free agency didn't go well but the trade of Waynes pays off huge by providing cap room and an early pick in round 2 to land a starter at a position of dire need. No more trying to move tackles to guard. Let's plug in a smart, athletic, strong guard who can execute the outside zone scheme because that was his world at BC. I thought about Lindstrom at 22, but I had to choose Bradbury because I want the center who can play guard but who moves Elflein to guard, where I think he's better suited.

Rd. 2 (50 overall): **TRADE**
(Vikings move up 9 spots; trade pick 102 and pick 250 overall to DEN)
Rd. 2 (41 overall, from DEN): Charles Omenihu, DL, Texas

Not sure you can find a Zimmerer pick than this: long-limbed, athletic defensive lineman who has some versatility but who is most closely tied to DT. With Sheldon Richardson gone, the Vikings need to add back some explosiveness. Omenihu's 6-6, 275-pound frame can be coached up by the best DL coach in the business to create chaos around the opposing QB with interior pressure. It all starts in the trenches, and the Vikings' top 3 picks follow that advice.

Rd. 3 (81 overall): Isaiah Johnson, CB, Houston

Good speed and quickness, and experience as a wide receiver gives the Vikings their depth at cornerback back. Needs work on zone responsibilities, but a strong cover corner with ball skills and a 6-2, 208 frame that can run a 4.4. In the hands of Zimmer and Gray, I feel good about his future and the CB depth that took a hit with the trade of Waynes.

Rd. 4 (120 overall): **TRADE**
(Vikings move up 10 spots; trade 2020 5th-round pick to CIN)
Rd. 4 (110 overall, from CIN): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

At this point in the draft I think the Vikings will be weighing the odds of one of their top 50 visitors falling to pick 120. The Vikings value the big man's athleticism above their concerns about his leap to the NFL from FCS, given he's coming in mostly to compete at OT in 2020 when the Vikings likely try to get out of Reiff's contract. Three picks in the top 110 picks at offensive line makes up for years of underdrafting the position group, and sets Rick Dennison and Gary Kubiak nicely with an ultra-athletic OL corps that fits the scheme needs.

Rd. 5 (160 overall, from BAL): Foster Moreau, TE, LSU

It would be a shame not to sample some of this deep, talented tight end class. Moreau is available this late because the class is deep and because there is little opportunity for a tight end to make a name for himself in LSU's run-happy offense. But Moreau gives a TE-loving offensive advisor in Kubiak another weapon, and could give Spielman options in the TE group if he finds an opportunity to trade or release Rudolph to get an early start on life without the longtime Viking whose on the last year of his contract, with no money guaranteed.

Rd. 6 (190 overall): Alex Wesley, WR, Northern Colorado

Even with the addition of Garcon, this WR group is thin and lacks a kickoff return candidate. Wesley, a receiver with good size and 4.45 speed who has some return work in college, would add in a body to the return competition and some depth to the WR group. He was productive at Northern Colorado but considered developmental because of the leap in competition from FCS to NFL.

Rd. 6 (209 overall): Easton Stick, QB, North Dakota State

Trevor Siemian won't be re-signed, putting Sloter into the backup spot. That leaves the Vikings in a spot to want a developmental guy to round out the QB group. Practice squad guy, with nice intangibles and mechanics to give him a start on developing.

Rd. 7 (247 overall): Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis

Late-round flier on a converted WR who has good athleticism and good open-field ability. Possible returner depth in camp.

Undrafted free agent pickup:

Emanuel Jones, RB/KR, Concordia-St. Paul

Why not continue the tradition of local school kids and RBs in undrafted free agency? KR depth for camp if nothing else.

Projected 53-man roster:

QB (2): Cousins, Sloter

RB (3): Cook, Boone, Abdullah

FB (1): Ham

WR (6): Thielen, Diggs, Garcon, Beebe, Wesley, Treadwell

TE (4): Rudolph, Morgan, Conklin, Moreau

OL (9): Reiff, O'Neill, Elflein, Bradbury, Lindstrom, Howard, Collins, Isidora, Kline

DL (10): Joseph, Hunter, Griffen, Weatherly, Omenihu, Odenigbo, Holmes, JJohnson, Bower, Aruna

LB (6): Kendricks, Barr, Wilson, Gedeon, Brothers, UDFA/FA

DB (9): Rhodes, Hill, Hughes, Alexander, Johnson, Kearse, Smith, Harris, Sherels

K (1): Bailey

P (1): Wile

LS (1): McDermott

What does it all mean?

I wish I could tell you the Vikings have solved their OL woes, but that would be jumping the gun. To get some cap space and some draft capital, the Vikings made a sacrifice on their defense of a player whose long-term status with this team was in doubt anyway. But the cap space allows key guys to be kept. And the draft capital allows the Vikings to capture a huge haul of as many as four new starters, including two on the offensive line. The OL is very young, but for the first time in a long time, it's talented. And it's versatile, with a path to replacing Reiff in 2020. The key to the season will be how quickly that line gels under Dennison and Kubiak, who have worked wonders with less talent. If the line can give the offense a threat to run the ball and make play action real, then the Vikings will begin to capitalize on a talented group of pass catchers: Diggs, Thielen, Garcon, Rudolph, Cook. The offense would no longer be unable to sustain drives and convert 3rd and 1.

On the defensive side, the Vikings' young defenders (Hill, Hughes, Weatherly, Omenihu) will be the key to avoiding a large dropoff on defense despite the losses of Richardson and Waynes.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.