This off-season has been full of moves made around the NFL. Some of those moves were more intriguing than others, but it’s been an eventful last couple of months. In this article, I’m going to be looking at moves in which I think the Vikings could have and should have made. all while keeping in mind the team's lack of draft capital and cap space.
The first trade the Minnesota Vikings should have been involved in is the Jalen Ramsey deal. Multiple-year All-Pro, and Super Bowl Champion was traded this offseason for pretty much a ham sandwich considering Ramsey’s pedigree. Ramsey was shipped from Los Angeles to Miami for a THIRD rounder in this year's draft plus a depth player at Tight End (Hunter Long). As Vikings fans, we haven’t had a true CB1 since (Xavier) Rhodes closed and that only lasted about a year and a half. On top of that, we’ve lost more corners this off-season than we signed, so we are a team with a deficit at the position for sure. Ramsey paired with Brian Flores could have been a match made in Heaven, but I suppose we’ll never know.
The next trade I think the Vikings could have easily made again is for Elijah Moore. The Jets sent Moore to Cleveland for a 2nd and 3rd-round pick swap. Given the team's inherent lack of depth on the receiving side, behind JJ and KJ, there isn’t much to this room. Maybe the team does believe in Jalen Nailor, but as of now, a guy like Moore would come in and fill that role immediately. No, he’s probably not going to impress the stat guys over at PFF, but if you know ball, or even watch it occasionally, you see the talent drip off of this guy. Super technical with his routes, very shifty and speedy. Definitely would have been an upgrade over current WR2/WR3. Yes, he is better than KJ.
Another trade I believe the Vikings should have made is for Shaq Mason. Again, another player getting shipped to a different team for pretty much nothing. A risk that the Vikings should have taken. Mason was sent from Tampa Bay Bucs to the Houston Texans for a whopping 2023 6th-round pick. You tell me if we’re getting Shaq Mason value in the sixth round. This would have helped sure up the O-line where the team has had previous struggles, either kicking out Ezra Cleveland or most likely, Ed Ingram.
Another good player that was traded for cookies was Brandin Cooks. Houston sent Cooks to Dallas for a 2023 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth-round pick. Again, beyond JJ and KJ, I don’t think the team is completely done adding to their receiving room quite yet, but Brandin Cooks would have been a nice compliment to Justin Jefferson. Yes, he is a bit older at 29 years of age, but doesn’t seem to have lost his step quite yet.
The final two players the Vikings could have taken a run at for their price tags were Stephon Gilmore and, more recently, Jeff Okudah. And don’t tell me the Lions wouldn’t trade in the division, you’re lying. We’ve seen it with the Jameson Williams pick from last year's draft and them sending us TJ Hockenson in the middle parts of the season. Jeff Okudah went from Detriot to Atlanta for a 2023 fifth-round pick. From the 2020 number three pick to being dished for a fifth. Give Flores more tools to use, send that petty pick and take a chance. Gilmore was sent from Indianapolis to Dallas for a 2023 fifth-round compensation pick as well so you can see where I’m getting at.
Again, the theme of this article is that the Vikings quite literally fumbled the bag this off-season. Whether or not the Vikings are able to move on from Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith, they have a whopping one million dollar cap window to sign free agents AND the 2023 rookie class. Keep in mind here that most trades, especially for older players, often result in moving money around in their contract making it a team-friendly deal for at least the first year.