We’re a week and a half away from the start of the new league year in the NFL, and our Minnesota Vikings still have a ways to go to get compliant with the salary cap before the free agency frenzy begins. How are they going to get there? Well, one group of folks has a solution that might not be the most popular with fans of the purple.
Behind the great E$PN paywall, the gang from Football Outsiders has proposed one “bold” move for each NFL franchise as we get closer to 15 March. Their suggestion for the Vikings is just three words: “Purge the roster.”
Here are their thoughts:
Let’s face it: The 2022 Vikings weren’t actually any good — they were 27th overall in DVOA.
The Vikings also face a salary-cap quagmire: They’re $24 million in the red, with much of the dough tied up in 30ish-year-old veterans. Adding another veteran — and his salary — in a “bold move” wouldn’t propel the Vikings toward the Super Bowl. It’s more likely to capsize the longboat.
The boldest move general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could make is to reverse course, repair the cap situation and usher in a youth movement. Release Eric Kendricks (probably gone anyway), Jordan Hicks (same), Harrison Smith (still good, but fading) and aging role players such as C.J. Ham. Trade Adam Thielen while he still has some market value. Let Patrick Peterson and Garrett Bradbury walk as free agents. Tell Kirk Cousins to update his LinkedIn for 2024. Make Justin Jefferson the highest-paid wide receiver and let the pre-rebuild commence.
Sounds unappealing, doesn’t it?
I’m not gonna get into the first sentence, other than to say 13-4 is pretty good. Whatever.
But the rest of it? Again, depending on your perspective on things, it may or may not be the way you want to see this team go. Many of the players mentioned don’t appear to have much of a future with the Vikings and are taking up a lot of room. Sure, it would cost a lot of dead money to part ways with some of them, but I think most folks were expecting at least one year with some pain involved in order to get this team going in the right direction for the long term.
The Vikings need to find a long-term solution at quarterback behind Cousins. I’ve been a Cousins supporter for most of his tenure in Minnesota, but I. . .along with most of the other supporters. . .realize that he’s not the long-term future for this team. Whether they make some sort of move up the board this year to try to secure that player or take a shot in next year’s draft, a young face needs to be brought in at the position. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell are going to want to put their stamp on this team and getting a new quarterback in here is the biggest way for them to do that.
In addition, this defense needs help everywhere. They need to get younger, faster, and more athletic, and they have some players on the roster that deserve an opportunity. Throw in some new faces from this year’s draft and an aggressive new philosophy under Brian Flores and the rebuild might not take as long or be as painful as we’re anticipating.
So, overall, the full-on purge strategy might not be the worst way for this team to go. With a little over a week and a half before the start of free agency, we’ll soon be seeing which direction the leadership of this team wants to go.