The draft is finally over and the results are sort of uninspiring. They got some OK players and really did not have much choice since they had very little draft capital. It is interesting when you consider that Kwesi said it was a “competitive rebuild” through which he is guiding the team. He let some older veterans go and brought in some young free agents in Marcus Davenport, Byron Murphy, and Josh Oliver. He also added Dean Lowry, Brandon Powell, Troy Reeder, and Joejuan Williams. He kept a lot of the in-house free agents too.
He still has not done anything with Dalvin Cook and Za’Darius Smith. Apparently, he is still trying to move them for future picks most likely. I am afraid that he will ultimately end up having to cut them since other teams will offer very little and just wait for their release. Alternatively, he could restructure some of their salaries in order to get some cap space which he desperately needs. This will create more dead money in 2024 though.
Update: The #Vikings will still listen to trade offers for RB Dalvin Cook and LB Za'Darius Smith, per @AlbertBreer— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 30, 2023
Both will likely need their contract adjusted in order to be traded. pic.twitter.com/kcfRPH8bpW
The team currently has $1,190,835 in cap space which is not enough to even sign the rookies and pay for the practice squad players all year. They probably want to extend Jefferson and need to give Hunter a raise if they want to keep him happy and be fair (IMO). More moves MUST be made.
The decision to not draft a Quarterback early to groom behind Cousins has lost him a ton of leverage with Cousins (IMHO) if he tries to circle back and talk extension. At this point, if I am Cousins, I am asking for 40M plus per year fully guaranteed. If Kwesi declines then he has created a sort of crisis situation next offseason which will force his hand on taking any QB in the draft or signing some free agent has-been. It is risky but they simply must not have liked Levis or Hooker more than Jordan Addison. Fair enough.
I expect Addison to play a lot of snaps but do not expect much from Blackmon or the rest of the draft class next year. Late third round picks usually do not work out early but it is possible.
The most surprising thing was that Kwesi decided that the interior offensive line was good enough despite Cleveland having a pass blocking grade of 54.1 (58th overall) and Ingram having a grade of 42.6 (73rd). Cleveland gave up 4 sacks, 24 hurries, and 43 pressures and Ingram gave up 9 sacks, 27 hurries, and 50 pressures. Bradbury gave up 2 sacks, 16 hurries, and 23 pressures.
We all know that our current QB does not handle pressure up the middle very well just like most QBs. Cleveland is a free agent next year and could command a nice contract (8 to 10M or more). There is no succession plan in place. It will likely add Guard to the needs list next offseason unless they miraculously get a whole heck of a lot better. It is possible and players often do well in the last year of their contract.
The Chiefs were dismantled by the Bucs in the Super Bowl and Mahomes was pressured, sacked, and hit all game. What did they do? They trade for Orlando Brown, sign the best guard in free agency, Joe Thuney, and draft center Creed Humphrey and guard Trey Smith. They did not hope players will get better. They had to protect their QB.
There were many posters here that lamented the interior offensive line all offseason (yet again) and wanted to see the team get better up front. Cousins is really really good if you give him time. Why they do not want to get the most return on their investment is a mystery? Oh well.
I will say that I have never been a fan of drafting players to fit a scheme if there are other players that are better in my limited wannabe GM opinion. We drafted two defensive backs earlier than most expected because they are “versatile”. I know that Ward is but did not see Blackmon in the slot last year (he played 3 snaps out of 907 there last year). He did play 179 snaps out of 537 in the slot in 2021 for Colorado.
The worry I always have is what if a coach leaves to be a head coach the next season or even two seasons later? Are you going to hire another coach that runs the same scheme? If not, do you need to get new players for the new scheme? It would be nice to have stability.
Overall I would say the draft is a solid C. Nothing really great IMO. Addison is supposed to be great but I want to see him last a full season. I do not expect anything from the rest of the draft unless Booth and Evans really are bad. Blackmon may be forced to play some snaps as the 4th or 5th corner in certain packages.
If the interior offensive line can improve and Addison is able to prove he is worth the pick and the defense gets even a little better then the team has a chance again.
A little note for those of you who like to include Hockenson as part of the draft. That is OK but he also is costing the Vikings their 3rd round pick next year. You will have to include him there too. They did get back a 4th this year which they turned into Ward and eventually Roy. The 2024 conditional fourth-round pick that Detroit sent to Minnesota today as part of the T.J. Hockenson trade will become a 2024 fifth-round round pick if the Vikings win a playoff game, per source.
It looks like the Vikings will get a 4th round pick next year for Hockenson right?
Of the UDFAs, I like Alan Ali and Wilson Huber the most. Andre Carter II may have to make the team otherwise some other team can simply snag him off the practice squad.
Since yore last open thread ...
Yore Way Too Early Mock
Where will the team finish next season? Got to expect a playoff appearance. I am going to go with another first round exit and picking at 22. I think the Lions will make the playoffs too. I expect about seven 3rd round compensatory picks next year.
1.22: Bo Nix QB Oregon
2.54: Cooper Beebe OG Kansas State 6’4” 322
3.86 Vikings will lose this pick for Hockenson
4.125: T’Vondre Sweat DL Texas 6’4” 340
4.127: Princely Umanmielen EDGE Florida 6’5” 245 (from Lions)
5.158: Vikings will lose this pick for Reagor (nice)
5.169: Zak Zinter OG Michigan 6’6” 316 (from Chiefs)
6.200: Demani Richardson DB Texas A&M 6’1” 215
7.240: Vikings lose this pick for Mullens (also nice)
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