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Vikings Off Season Plan v1.0

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NCAA Football: Las Vegas Bowl-Boise State vs Washington Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the season ends with another massive disappointment. It was particularly cruel because they were totally over matched especially the offensive linemen. They really should be embarrassed after putting out that performance. Sadly, the logical conclusion is that they just are not good enough. How else should Vikings fans feel? The majority of us fans do not know what goes on in each play call, what were the blocking assignments, etc. But when you run for a grand total of 21 yards and your QB gets sacked 6 times and is hit another 9 times and is pressured on 47% of his drop backs, then it is not rocket science to figure out the unit that did not do their jobs.

A cherry on the top is losing our offensive coordinator. Some say good riddance and I am not going to argue. I will say that now the team will have it’s 5th OC in 5 years. The offense probably will have to learn a new system (terminology) unless the Kubiaks’s take over and they use the same system. Zimmer said he wants to keep the same system because maybe it is getting into his thick skull that having consistency has to be a good thing for an offense. I cannot imagine that there has been another team in the past that had 5 new systems in 5 years and the offense was really good.

I do not know what the answer is but they need to do better. They may have to force an OC to sign at least a 2 or 3 year deal with no chance to go for a head coach job. It may limit their choices but they need stability and someone may agree. Not sure if this is legal or not though.

Now the attention turns to the off-season. How much salary cap does the team have? They are negative 3.5 mil right now according to overthecap but it seems to change often. How many players do they need to release or trade to create cap space? Rhodes, Griffen, Reiff, and Joseph are prime candidates. Who can they extend to create cap space? Obviously, Cousins is at the top of this list.

The real question is what direction do they want to go at the QB position? You extend Cousins and you are locked in for at least another 3 years. Is that what they want when he has shown he does not have much ability to make something happen when it all goes to hell in a hand basket (not sure what that means or who would take a hand basket to hell but it seemed like a good place to use that phrase - I’m no writer).

I like Cousins and believe it was a good signing. I also believe they should extend him. But the constant change at the OC position gives me a ton of doubt. Why pay a QB that much money when they have to learn a new system every year?

Just a side note. The defense has had the same coach and system since 2014. Is it a wonder that it is one of the best performing units based on various metrics?

If the Vikings do not extend Cousins then they will lose leverage for next off-season. They also would need to look for his replacement as soon as possible (like in this draft) rather than waiting until next year’s draft. You also have to look at the salaries of Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph, and maybe Cook (if they extend him). Do they want to spend all that money while having a rookie QB? You thought Diggs had tantrums with Cousins? You ain’t seen nothing yet.

The Vikings really have put themselves in between a rock and a hard place.

But have no fear. I do not give up! 50 years of fandom, 30 playoff losses, 4 Super Bowl losses. I am a glutton for punishment!

So let’s get to it.


I am using overthecap to figure out the cap. Below is what it has for the cap right now before any moves are made.

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $204,532,990 - $201,005,976 - ($3,527,014)

2021 - $173,469,557 - $201,005,976 - $27,536,419

2022 - $136,829,266 - $201,005,976 - $64,176,710

2023 - $79,130,000 - $201,005,976 - $121,875,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976

The first moves are the most painful and my come back to bite the Vikings in the rear end.

Griffen contract is voided so he likely tests the market. It’s possible he could return but he is likely going to get about 10 to 11 mil per year which could be too much for the Vikings.

Rhodes performance this year was not up to his previous levels and with his current contract he is released.

Reiff and Joseph are not playing badly but maybe not up to the level of their contracts so they get released as well.

I want to include trades because I think they all could at least get a 5th round pick in a trade. But I will leave it out in this version.

Here is a look at the cap after these 4 moves.

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $163,982,990 - $201,005,976 - $37,022,986

2021 - $118,519,557 - $201,005,976 - $82,486,419

2022 - $94,979,266 - $201,005,976 - $106,026,710

2023 - $79,130,000 - $201,005,976 - $121,875,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


The next moves are to sign current players to extensions. The amounts can be debated and I am open to all ideas.

I’ll list the contract and then the cap space after each move.

Harris gets a 4 year 36 mil extension with a 10 mil signing bonus and 14.9 mil guaranteed.

He would get a 3 mil option bonus in 2021 spread over 3 years.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.9, 4.9, 6.9, & 8.9 mil.

The cap hits would be 4.5, 8.5, 10.5, & 12.5 mil.

Contract comparison is Adrian Amos

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/green-bay-packers/adrian-amos-16868/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $168,482,990 - $201,005,976 - $32,522,986

2021 - $127,019,557 - $201,005,976 - $73,986,419

2022 - $105,479,266 - $201,005,976 - $95,526,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


Waynes gets a 3 year 25.5 mil extension with a 7.5 mil signing bonus and 9.5 mil guaranteed.

He would get a 3 mil option bonus in 2021 spread over 2 years.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.9, 5.9, & 6.9 mil.

The cap hits would be 4.5, 10, & 11 mil.

Contract comparison is Steven Nelson

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/pittsburgh-steelers/steven-nelson-16824/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $172,982,990 - $201,005,976 - $28,022,986

2021 - $137,019,557 - $201,005,976 - $63,986,419

2022 - $116,479,266 - $201,005,976 - $84,526,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


Note: I had already done this plan before Kearse tweeted today. So we can ignore this signing and use the money on another free agency safety which likely will be cheaper. In fact they might get two safeties for this money. But I will leave this here for now. You never know. If the Vikings do make a decent offer maybe he will want to return?

Kearse gets a 2 year 4.2 mil extension with a 1 mil signing bonus and 2.3 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.2 & 1.8 mil.

The cap hits would be 1.8 & 2.4 mil.

Contract comparison is Deshazor Everett

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/washington-redskins/deshazor-everett-17050/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $174,782,990 - $201,005,976 - $26,222,986

2021 - $139,419,557 - $201,005,976 - $61,586,419

2022 - $116,479,266 - $201,005,976 - $84,526,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


Wilson gets a 2 year 5 mil extension with a 1 mil signing bonus and 2.5 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.4 & 2.4 mil.

The cap hits would be 2 & 3 mil.

Contract comparison is Adarius Taylor

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/cleveland-browns/adarius-taylor-15704/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $176,782,990 - $201,005,976 - $24,222,986

2021 - $142,419,557 - $201,005,976 - $58,586,419

2022 - $116,479,266 - $201,005,976 - $84,526,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


Ham gets a 3 year 6 mil extension with a 1.5 mil signing bonus and 2.5 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 900K, 1.4 mil, & 1.9 mil.

The cap hits would be 1.5, 2, & 2.5 mil.

Contract comparison is Andy Janovich

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/denver-broncos/andy-janovich-19130/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $178,282,990 - $201,005,976 - $22,722,986

2021 - $144,419,557 - $201,005,976 - $56,586,419

2022 - $118,979,266 - $201,005,976 - $82,026,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


Bailey gets a 2 year 4 mil extension with a 1 mil signing bonus and 2.5 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

He can earn 1 mil in incentives based on his percentage made similar to 2019.

His salaries would be 1.2 & 1.6 mil.

The cap hits would be 1.8 & 2.2 mil.

Contract comparison is Dustin Hopkins

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/washington-redskins/dustin-hopkins-12459/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $180,082,990 - $201,005,976 - $20,922,986

2021 - $146,619,557 - $201,005,976 - $54,386,419

2022 - $118,979,266 - $201,005,976 - $82,026,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


Colquitt gets a 2 year 4 mil extension with a 1 mil signing bonus and 2.5 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.4 & 1.4 mil.

The cap hits would be 2 & 2 mil.

Contract comparison is Dustin Colquitt

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/kansas-city-chiefs/dustin-colquitt-4375/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $181,882,990 - $201,005,976 - $19,122,986

2021 - $148,819,557 - $201,005,976 - $52,186,419

2022 - $118,979,266 - $201,005,976 - $82,026,710

2023 - $91,630,000 - $201,005,976 - $109,375,976

2024 - $16,000,000 - $201,005,976 - $185,005,976


David Morgan may not be a free agent as his contract is expected to toll. So he should return for $720,000.

The remaining free agents can test the market and maybe circle back. I can see interest in Hill, Dozier, Jones, & Weatherly. I’m not sure about the interest in Alexander, Sendejo, Brothers, Mannion, Abdullah, & Treadwell.

This plan does not include extending Cousins which would probably be foolish. But it likely is going to take a 4 year 128 to 136 mil deal which would lock the Vikings into him longer.

With Rhodes leaving, keeping as much of the rest of the secondary as possible would be very wise. Waynes and Alexander graded out #48 & #51 out of all corners which is not the worst so keeping one of them makes sense. I think that Waynes has played better than Alexander.

Keeping Harris is a no brainer and I think the Amos deal fits considering the number of starts Harris has had. Perhaps they will include some incentives like they did with Hunter.

I think they should keep Kearse too and they will have to pay him moderately to so IMHO. Maybe 2.1 mil per year for 2 short years will be enough to keep him around and allow him to continue to be a really good special teams player and valuable backup.

Wilson falls into the same category as Kearse and they need to pay reasonably well to keep them. The hope is no other teams offers more.

Who does not need more Ham?

Since I do not mock dudes that put their foot on the ball, they may as well get extended too.

I have included the future years in the cap hits since overthecap displays them and I have often had comments in past years about how all the moves I fantasize about affect the cap in future years. One thing to note is that overthecap keeps the cap at the same number in all the future years when it likely will go about the usual 6.3%.


So with 19.4 mil left the Vikings would need to get a backup QB and I’m on the Colt McCoy bandwagon. They also might want to get a veteran receiver for cheap? Obviously, they should see if there is an offensive lineman available too.

The first free agent I would target is Joe Thuney. He may be willing to come here too because of the scheme and he was on the NC State team with Bradbury in 2014 & 2015. I could see some appeal.

Joe Thuney gets a 5 year 56 mil deal with a 12 mil signing bonus and 24 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.9, 9.9, 9.9, 10.9, & 10.9 mil.

The cap hits would be 4.4, 12.4, 12.4, 13.4, & 13.4 mil.

Contract comparison is Ali Marpet (also Gabe Jackson and Rodger Saffold)

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/tampa-bay-buccaneers/ali-marpet-16785/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $186,282,990 - $201,005,976 - $14,722,986

2021 - $161,219,557 - $201,005,976 - $39,786,419

2022 - $131,379,266 - $201,005,976 - $69,626,710

2023 - $105,030,000 - $201,005,976 - $95,975,976

2024 - $29,400,000 - $201,005,976 - $171,605,976


The next free agent I would target is Danny Shelton. The Vikings need to replace Joseph and I am not sure the draft will provide. If they don’t then they have to hope Watts, Stephen, Johnson, and Holmes can hold up.

Danny Shelton gets a 3 year 15 mil deal with a 3 mil signing bonus and 5 mil guaranteed.

He gets 100K per year as a workout bonus.

His salaries would be 1.9, 4.9 mil, & 4.9 mil.

The cap hits would be 3, 6, & 6 mil.

Contract comparison is Malcolm Brown.

https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/new-orleans-saints/malcom-brown-16756/

Year - Total Liabilities - Salary Cap (Projected) - Cap Room

2020 - $189,282,990 - $201,005,976 - $11,722,986

2021 - $167,219,557 - $201,005,976 - $33,786,419

2022 - $137,379,266 - $201,005,976 - $63,626,710

2023 - $105,030,000 - $201,005,976 - $95,975,976

2024 - $29,400,000 - $201,005,976 - $171,605,976


This plan thus far leaves 11.722 mil in cap space for rookies (about 2 to 3 mil) and any other minimum level deals.

The $64,000 question is what should they do with Cousins? Should they extend him? If they did they could create another 14 mil in cap space in 2020. The contract would run through 2024 and the first year they could cut or trade him would be 2023. So three more years of Cousins.

In this plan, he is not getting extended which puts QB at the top of the draft needs list. But an offensive tackle to replace Reiff is also necessary.

The roster looks like this heading to the draft ...

The QBs would be Cousins and Browning (PS).

The RBs would be Cook, Mattison, Boone, Tony Brooks-James (PS).

The TEs would be Rudolph, Smith, Conklin, Brandon Dillon (PS).

The WRs would be Diggs, Thielen, Johnson, Beebe, Hollins, Dillon Mitchell (PS), Davion Davis (PS).

The OTs would be O’Neill, Udoh, and Collins.

The OGs would be Thuney, Kline, and Samia.

The OC would be Bradbury and Elflein.

The DTs would be Shelton, Stephen, Johnson, Holmes, Watts, and Curtis Cothran (PS).

The DEs would be Hunter, Odenigbo, Mata’afa, and Yarbrough.

The LBs would be Barr, Kendricks, Wilson, Smith, Gedeon, and Reshard Cliett (PS).

The CBs would be Waynes, Hughes, Hill, Boyd, Meadors, Kemon Hall (PS), Mark Fields (PS).

The safeties would be Smith, Harris, and Kearse.

The LS is Cutting

The K is Bailey

The P is Colquitt


So onto the draft ...

https://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/sharedraft.php?d=vlrwam

TRADES

BALTIMORE RAVENS

SENT: ROUND: 1 PICK: 25

RECEIVED: ROUND: 1 PICK: 28 & ROUND: 4 PICK: 28

MIAMI DOLPHINS

SENT: ROUND: 4 PICK: 28

RECEIVED: ROUND: 4 PICK: 39 & ROUND: 6 PICK: 18

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

SENT: ROUND: 6 PICK: 18 & ROUND: 7 PICK: 40

RECEIVED: ROUND: 6 PICK: 11

28: R1P28 QB JACOB EASON WASHINGTON 6’6” - 228 - JR

Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl - Washington v Boise State Photo by David Becker/Getty Images

58: R2P26 CB JEFF GLADNEY TCU 5’10” - 183 - SR

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 26 Cheez-It Bowl - Cal v TCU Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

89: R3P25 OT EZRA CLEVELAND BOISE STATE 6’5” - 310 - RJR

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Boise State v Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

129: R4P26 DL NEVILLE GALLIMORE OKLAHOMA 6’2” - 330 - RSR

Oklahoma v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

138: R4P35 EDGE ALTON ROBINSON SYRACUSE 6’4” - 257 - SR

Syracuse v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

142: R4P39 WR LYNN BOWDEN JR. KENTUCKY 6’1” - 199 - JR

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Belk Bowl - Virginia Tech v Kentucky Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

190: R6P11 G SIMON STEPANIAK INDIANA 6’4” - 319 - SR

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 24 Purdue at Indiana Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

205: R6P26 WR CHASE CLAYPOOL NOTRE DAME 6’4” - 227 - SR

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Notre Dame at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

219: R7P5 S JEREMY CHINN S. ILLINOIS 6’3” - 208 - SR


239: R7P25 OT ALEX TAYLOR SOUTH CAROLINA ST 6’9” - 305 - RSR


253: R7P39 LB LOGAN WILSON WYOMING 6’2” - 250 - RSR

NCAA Football: Oregon at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

I know there will be debate about which QB to take and it is welcomed. Eason could use a year t just watch the game and learn the “system”. I put that in quotes because who knows if it will change again next year. The hope is that Eason would only need to learn one system and be in it the next 5 years.

Obviously, the Vikings need more corners even if in this plan Waynes is returning. It is becoming harder to trust Hughes staying healthy and we all know Hill could get suspended for longer the next time something happens.

There are some fans that wont want to wait until the 3rd round to get an offensive lineman. But Cleveland has started the last 3 years for Boise State and I believe is underrated.

https://theathletic.com/1450877/2019/12/11/ezra-cleveland-boise-state-nfl-draft/

I think they need another DT because Stephen only has one year left on his deal and Johnson and Holmes are still disappointed. Watts could be a very pleasent surprise though. Gallimore would add much needed depth.

With Griffen gone in this plan (there is enough remaining cap space to bring him back), adding another mid round defensive end for depth seems like a good idea.

Lynn Bowden Jr is a player that can do a bit of everything but should be a receiver first. He offers many different options for a coordinator. He also can return kicks and punts.

https://fanspeak.com/nfldraftnews/2019/12/02/kentuckys-do-it-all-wr-lynn-bowden-sees-nfl-draft-stock-rise/

Stepaniak is a solid late round lineman to add to the mix. He has about 29 starts at Indiana and he has the size that would be preferable.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1VyhLOPWW2sC4ghEZ6K1Sg_sfq_49jVEGDDXzOn7z0Do/edit#gid=0

Claypool would provide a nice red zone threat and first down chain mover type.

https://thedraftnetwork.com/articles/chase-claypool-notre-dame-fighting-irish-nfl-draft

Chinn is another small school player that many teams have scouted. The Vikings need depth at safety especially if Kearse goes elsewhere.

https://www.profootballnetwork.com/nfl-draft-profiling-jeremy-chinn-db-southern-illinois/

Taylor is a tall tackle that is very athletic. The Vikings only have one offensive lineman on the PS so adding more developmental talent is not a bad idea. Although, taylor may not make it to the PS.

https://www.profootballnetwork.com/2020-nfl-draft-alex-taylor-top-offensive-tackle-sleeper/

The Vikings need more linebackers and Wilson is pretty good.

https://www.si.com/college/wyoming/cowboy-up/one-last-time-logan-wilson-is-about-us-not-me-skipping-arizona-bowl-was-not-an-option


https://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/sharedraft.php?d=aprkoq

TRADES

SENT: ROUND: 2 PICK: 26, ROUND: 4 PICK: 35, & FUTURE ROUND 3 PICK

RECEIVED: ROUND: 2 PICK: 16 & ROUND: 5 PICK: 12

25: R1P25 DL JAVON KINLAW SOUTH CAROLINA 6’6” - 302 - SR

48: R2P16 QB JALEN HURTS OKLAHOMA 6’2” - 210 - SR

89: R3P25 G EZRA CLEVELAND BOISE STATE 6’5” - 310 - RJR

129: R4P26 OT CALVIN THROCKMORTON OREGON 6’5” - 318 - SR

158: R5P12 CB TROY PRIDE JR. NOTRE DAME 5’11” - 192 - SR

205: R6P26 WR COLLIN JOHNSON TEXAS 6’6” - 220 - SR

219: R7P5 OT ALEX TAYLOR SOUTH CAROLINA STATE 6’9” - 305 - RSR

239: R7P25 EDGE ALEX HIGHSMITH CHARLOTTE 6’3” - 244 - RSR

253: R7P39 S JULIAN BLACKMON UTAH 6’1” - 195 - SR

254: R7P40 WR JOE REED VIRGINIA 6’1’’ - 215 - SR

Well, as tough as it is to try doing these already, it does help me move along after yet another depressing defeat.

Obviously, some of these players may go higher (the usual refrain) or may not be who you want. I look forward to all alternative drafts.

Please use the links I provided and list your alternative picks in the same spots.