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Have yourself a Merry Christmas Mock

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. But if the white runs out, I’ll drink the red.

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2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

The Vikings are 7-8 and the season is on the brink of truly being over. If the team loses to the stinkin Packers next week then it is Cancun time. Regardless of what happens, the season has been a success IMHO. After losing Cousins for the year and Jefferson for 7 games, it really is amazing that they are still in the hunt. KOC is getting heavy criticism from fans smarter than me but I like him and I am not one to give up on someone so early. If the team does make the playoffs then I would be very surprised (in a good way) if they managed to win one game. Got to keep hope alive though.

Looking towards next offseason there are several HUGE decisions that Kwesi is going to make that will determine his fate as the Vikings GM. Will he extend Cousins and tie his first (and maybe only) GM career to Cousins? Will he extend Hunter on a deal north of 25M per year? If he does not extend Hunter then he will have to spend on another free agent EDGE rusher or two. Will he convince Flores to stay (maybe with a healthy raise)? The only in-house free agents that might get a decent deal are Jordan Hicks, Dalton Risner, KJ Osborn, and DJ Wonnum. Unfortunately for Wonnum, his injury was horrible timing. I would not be surprised if he took a one year prove it deal this offseason and that he would do that with the Vikings. Risner is a question and I do not know if the two sides will agree on an amount. Hicks is already 32 so if he does return, it wont be for more than a few million. Osborn probably will test the market before possibly returning but he might get more than the Vikings are willing to pay. Other than that, the rest of the in-house free agents can probably be signed for similar minimum level deals.

I am OK with re-signing Cousins and I thought his floor was 40M before the injury. Now that might be 35M or even less. Will he accept that? Will another team be willing to offer 40M? We have seen what the QB play looks like without him and it has provided tons of anxiety. I will say that if the team goes with Mullens, Dobbs, or even Hall next year, having an entire offseason to work with the other offensive players will be very beneficial. Each one has had to step into the role without getting that benefit. Is it a wonder why backup QBs tend to connect with backup WRs more often once they get that chance? They have been working together in practices.

Since it is Christmas and you kids have been relatively well behaved with a few exceptions, I am going to give you a quick and very dirty offseason plan.

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Starting cap space
2024: 37,296,185
2025: 139,489,530

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Cuts
Harrison Smith saves 11,384,116
CJ Ham saves 1,733,332
Dean Lowry saves 2,200,000
Nick Mullens saves 1,900,000

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Updated cap space
2024: 54,513,633
2025: 166,722,082

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Extend Hunter - 3 yr 75M costs 7,546,666
Extend JJ - 3 yr 105M costs 6,000,000
Extend Risner - 3 yr 24M costs 5,500,000
Sign Javon Kinlaw DT - 2 yr 12M
Sign Gardner Minshew QB - 2 yr 18M
Sign Isaiah Simmons LB - 2 yr 8M

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Updated cap space
2024: 23,466,967 (for 38 players)
2025: 84,268,748

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The team will need to fill out the rest of the roster with the rookies and 6 more minimum level free agents. I would hope they offer Wonnum a one year prove it type deal for a few mil too.

https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-2024-free-agent-rankings-free-agency
https://www.pff.com/news/nfl-2024-nfl-free-agency-rankings-quarterbacks
https://bleacherreport.com/articles/10097163-best-scheme-fits-and-projected-contracts-for-top-2024-nfl-free-agents

Let’s get to the draft.

Trade Partner: Giants
Sent: Round 2 Pick 46, Round 5 Pick 161
Received: Round 2 Pick 52, Round 4 Pick 103
...
Trade Partner: Bills
Sent: Round 5 Pick 153
Received: Round 6 Pick 183, Round 7 Pick 216
...

15. J.J. McCarthy QB Michigan 6’3” 202

Ohio State v Michigan Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

52. Sedrick Van Pran OC Georgia 6’4” 311

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Ole Miss at Georgia Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

103. Payton Wilson LB NC State 6’3” 202 6’2” 239

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 07 Marshall at NC State Photo by Nicholas Faulkner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

108. Mike Sainristil CB Michigan 5’10” 182

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 02 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan vs Iowa Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

125. Nazir Stackhouse DT Georgia 6’3” 320

Missouri v Georgia Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

155. Dominick Puni OT Kansas 6’4” 320

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 28 Oklahoma at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

183. Sione Vaki S Utah 6’0” 208

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 21 Utah at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

207. Ainias Smith WR Texas A&M 5’10” 200

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Mississippi State at Texas A&M Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

216. Isaiah Davis RB South Dakota State 6’1” 220

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Drake vs South Dakota State Photo by Bailey Hillesheim/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

QB Depth Chart would be Minshew, McCarty, Hall

Van Pran would not have to start but the team could release or trade Bradbury and save 5.8M

Wilson could try and supplant Simmons but can also be groomed.

Sainristil plays in the slot a lot and could be a nice addition.

Well, there it goes.


Merry Christmas ya filthy animals!