The first preseason game is on Sunday and there are a lot of interesting tidbits from training camp. The latest news is that the Vikings are looking to trade for a better center and possibly even a better backup QB. Kirk Cousins has contracted Covid and is out for the next 5 days at least which means he will miss the first preseason game. He may have been held out anyway but we do not know the approach of new head coach Kevin O’Connell. I have always been a fan of giving the starters work in the preseason but if they get very little then so be it. They will have no excuses in week one though. Cousins being out could be a blessing as it gives the team another chance to evaluate Kellen Mond and Sean Mannion.
Ed Ingram, Andrew Booth, Lewis Cine, and Brian Asamoah all have had some positive reports with Ingram looking to be the first to possible win a starting job. The draft doofuses like myself will have to reconsider if all four of these players contribute significantly. My main complaint was the value they got from trading down with a division rival. Also, I am forced to compare the career of Cine and Kyle Hamilton. Hopefully, it all works out.
I am still puzzled why they did not snag a QB. These guys dropped for a reason but with Cousins signed for two years they had time to develop one. I guess they really did not like any of them too much. Now they are possibly looking for a better backup.
Looking towards the draft next year the team only has 5 picks. A first, second, third, fifth, and sixth. It is probable that Kwesi will trade down to get more picks and then trade back up if a player he likes is there. I love that actually.
The team has about 10.5M in cap space right now. They’ll use at about 3M for practice squad players leaving about 7M to carry over. Next year, they have 645K in cap space now. They can free up 9.5M if they move Kendricks and 7.9M if they move Cook which is interesting because they chose to not touch their contracts this offseason (yet). They can save 5M if they move Jordan Hicks, 3M if they move CJ Ham, 2.5M if the move Chris Reed, and 10.8M if they move Za’Darius Smith. Plenty of options. Dalvin Tomlinson has 3 void years at 2.5M each and if they do not retain him they would have to eat 7.5M in dead money because the void years escalate to 2023.
I think it is almost guaranteed that they will keep Hunter unless he plays not up to his previous level or gets dinged up again. He has a 13.1M cap hit in 2023 and if they cut or trade him prior to June 1st they have to eat an additional 5.6M. It will cost the team 18.86M to cut or trade him using a pre-June 1 designation. Wowzah! If they use a post-June 1 designation, they would save 5.5M in 2023 cap space, eat 7.62M in dead money in 2023, and 11.24M in dead money in 2024. Slightly better but still reveals the decision to restructure all of his 18M roster bonus was baffling to me. I suspect he’ll get extended/.
I still lean towards drafting based on the strengths of the draft and not the perceived needs of the team. The Drafttek big board has 10 Cornerbacks and 4 Safeties in the top 35. Drafttek came in tied for third last year in the big board top 100 scoring found here. Their 5 tear average is 16th.
I think the team could strongly consider another cornerback in round one or two. Peterson and Sullivan will be free agents. Dantzler will be entering the last year of his deal too. Who knows how they will perform. We hope very well obviously.
Edge rusher could be a strong need depending on Hunter and Z. Smith. Center could be a huge need and the highest rated one is Sedrick Van Pran from Gerogia who is at #52 right now. That hopefully will be too early.
Without further ado, here is the latest iteration from Drafttek
1.18 Joey Porter Jr. CB Penn State Height: 6’2” Weight: 192
2.50 Henry To’o To’o LB Alabama Height: 6’2” Weight: 228
3.82 J.L. Skinner S Boise State Height: 6’4” Weight: 220
5.144 Zion Tupuola-Fetui EDGE Washington Height: 6’2” Weight: 260
6.178 Andrew Raym OC Oklahoma Height: 6’3” Weight: 315
I had been thinking about trades that could happen and the Vikings are doing the same.
One player I find interesting and it could be a player for player trade is Michael Deiter from the Dolphins for Garrett Bradbury. Straight up player for player trade.
It looks like the Dolphins are going to use Connor Williams at center which has not played in the NFL. Deiter could be on the way out or be in a backup role. He only played 8 games at center last year as was semi-respectable. His pass blocking was almost OK but not as awful as Bradbury. His run blocking was not as good but not too shabby either (respectable). He is 6’6” 315 and will likely handle the bull rushes much better. He is due 2.54M and if the Dolphins cut or trade him they save all of it. The Vikings would use a post June 1 on Bradbury and saves 2.25M and pushed 1.8M in dead money to 2023. They would use 300K in cap space to get Deiter.
Another trade I am thinking could be possible is Eric Kendricks. The Vikings did not touch his contract and if they trade him they would save 9.4M in cap space, eat 4M in dead money this year and another 1.9M next year. But why would they do this though? Is Brian Asamoah already showing enough? Do the other backups still have potential? What other team could use him? How about a Kendricks for Da’Ron Payne deal with the Commandos?
Just some food for thought.