After the great win this past week, the fortunes and outlook has changed much to the chagrin of the “tankers and doomers”. The team has a real chance to go on a run in the next six weeks. They are at Green Bay, at Atlanta, home vs the Saints, at Denver, home vs the Bears, and at Las Vegas. It is difficult to predict what they should be able to do considering the home and away record this year. They have done equally as bad at home and on the road. I could see a 6-0 sweep provided they take care of the ball. We could easily be looking at a 9-4 record after the Raiders game with the Bengals, Lions, Packers, and Lions to finish out the season. Could they end up 13-3 again? I think they can go 10-6 or 11-5.
So, that changes the outlook for 2024. The team has $51,741,262 in cap space allocated to 39 players for 2024. Three of those players are just dead money. Kirk Cousins at 28.5M, Danielle Hunter at 14.9M, and Marcus Davenport at 6.8M. The team could extend these players and possibly even lower their cap hit. Other free agents that the team might want to keep are Ezra Cleveland, Dalton Risner, KJ Osborn, and DJ Wonnum. There are others as well but they likely wont command much more than the minimum. I think that Cleveland, Osborn, and Wonnum might get better offers elsewhere. Should the Vikings keep Cleveland over Risner? Too early to tell but when Cleveland is healthy he probably goes back into the starting lineup. I would say that Cleveland could be a good trade candidate right now.
Just for the fun of it. Let’s do a quick and dirty 2024 offseason plan.
Season Cap Space
Extend Hunter with a 3 year 72M deal with two void years and a 30M signing bonus
Salaries of 7M, 11M, and 24M
Cap hits of 20.453M, 24.453M, 30M, and two void years at 6M each
This will cost 5.467M in cap space.
Season Cap Space
Extend Cousins with a 2 year 90M deal with two void years and a 40M signing bonus
Salaries of 18M and 32M
Cap hits of 38.25M, 52.5M, and two void years at 14M each
This will cost 9.75M in cap space.
Season Cap Space
Extend Jefferson with a 3 year 105M deal with two void years and a 50M signing bonus
Salaries of 20M, 24M, and 26M
Cap hits of 27M, 31M, 33M, and two void years at 7M each
This will cost 7.257M in cap space.
Season Cap Space
Extend Cleveland with a 4 year 56M deal with one void year and a 15M signing bonus
Salaries of 5M, 8M, 14M, and 14M
Cap hits of 8M, 11M, 17M, 17M, and one void year at 3M
This will cost 7.257M in cap space
Season Cap Space
The 21M remaining would have to go to the 14 other players making up the rest of the roster which would include rookies and it would need to be used for the practice squad.
But this number includes leaving Harrison Smith’s deal as is which has a 19M and 22M cap hit the next two years. I anticipate a sizable (7M) pay cut if he wants to continue playing and remain with the Vikings.
There are some free agents that might be interesting if they do not keep Hunter like Rashan Gary, Josh Allen, Montez Sweat, and Brian Burns.
Maybe they snag one of these in addition to keeping Hunter?
Defensive tackles like Chris Jones, Christian Wilkins, DJ Reader, and maybe Javon Kinlaw are very interesting.
Not sure about any cornerbacks or if they will be worth the money. They need to spend money on the trenches.
A wild idea.
Trade Mattison and a 5th or 6th to the Titans for Derrick Henry.
Henry will be a free agent next year but could help the offense this year as the team makes a run.
Since yore last open thread ...
Other Vikings News
So how do the Vikings decide how much to react to what they just saw against San Francisco — both in the short and long term?
That starts with sustainability. Is what they did against the 49ers repeatable? On one hand, it could be a one-off game where an average team happened to win the turnover battle. But a lot of the impressive parts of the victory are areas where we expect them to be strong week after week. The offensive tackles should remain dominant, the Flores defense seems to be getting stronger, Justin Jefferson likely comes back soon and Cousins has often gone on hot streaks throughout his career.
It seems reasonable to bet on blazing run of strong Cousins play, not only because it’s a yearly staple but also the Vikings are set to face the light part of the schedule. Outside of the strong Saints defense against the pass, Cousins will do battle with the 15th, 19th, 32nd, 26th and and 21st ranked defenses in QB rating allowed in upcoming weeks. Kirk-vember is coming.
We could be looking at something reminiscent of 2019 when the Vikings started out 2-2 and then reeled off six wins in seven weeks behind a 126.5 Cousins QB rating in that stretch or the 2020 streak when 1-5 quickly turned into 6-6 as Cousins threw 15 TDs to 2 INTs and managed a 118.6 rating to get them back into the race.
2. Danielle Hunter, Edge, Minnesota Vikings
Vikings pass-rusher Danielle Hunter has fallen one spot thanks to Minnesota’s convincing win over the 49ers in Week 7. That win may have saved the Vikings’ season, as it moved them to 3-4 and proved that they have the players to get back into contention.
For the right price, however, Hunter may still be available. He has nine sacks this season and he is heavily coveted.
“Teams have been calling the Vikings about potentially trading for Hunter, sources say, with the team leader in sacks likely one of the top players who could be moved at the deadline,” Rapoport wrote.
A team could very well make Minnesota an offer it cannot refuse.
Ezra Cleveland TO San Francisco 49ers
The addition of Dalton Risner could make Cleveland, an impending free agent, expendable in Minnesota. The status of a foot injury that kept him out in the victory over San Francisco might impede a trade. However, the former second-round pick is a stellar blocker and has improved in pass protection this season. He’s played left guard the past three seasons after playing on the right side as a rookie. Also, Cleveland played tackle in college. That versatility would benefit a 49ers unit that has struggled to block in the interior.
New England Patriots
Similar to the Patriots, the Vikings are a team that may feel inspired following their upset win over the 49ers in Week 7. That moved them to 3-4 on the year, but they could still look to sell off some pieces, including pass rusher Danielle Hunter.
PICK NO. 23: MINNESOTA VIKINGS: WR JORDAN ADDISON
Overall Rookie Grade: 69.6 (7/13)
Principal Opponent: Charvarius Ward
Week 7 Snaps: 52
Week 7 Grade: 84.9
Addison shined in the spotlight of Monday Night Football to the tune of seven catches for 123 yards and two scores. Two of the grabs were contested — including a pass wrestled away from Charvarius Ward that Addison took to the house.
Trade Partner: Arizona Cardinals
Sent: Round 1 Pick 12
Received: Round 1 Pick 16, Round 3 Pick 9
Trade Partner: LA Rams
Sent: Round 3 Pick 9
Received: Round 3 Pick 15, Round 5 Pick 15
16: R1 P16 EDGE Laiatu Latu - UCLA 6’5” 265
44: R2 P12 C Sedrick Van Pran - Georgia 6’4” 310
79: R3 P15 OT Taliese Fuaga - Oregon State 6’6” 333
112: R4 P12 DL McKinnley Jackson - Texas A&M 6’2” 325
129: R4 P29 CB Khyree Jackson - Oregon 6’3” 195
151: R5 P15 LB Danny Stutsman - Oklahoma 6’4” 236
160: R5 P24 WR Jacob Cowing - Arizona 5’11” 175
167: R5 P31 S Josh Proctor - Ohio State 6’2” 205
186: R6 P11 DL Howard Cross III - Notre Dame 6’1” 288
187: R6 P12 RB MarShawn Lloyd - USC 5’9” 210
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