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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 27,28 May 2023

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New York Giants v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

I am hoping for a resolution to the Cook situation and to see some extensions get done before training camp. I will say that they are not forced to touch Cook’s deal. They can leave it as is, extend Hoch and Hunter which will be a wash and then maybe restructure 4-6M of O’Neill’s deal to help extend JJ and do anything else they have in mind.

Since yore last open thread ...

SB Nation Reacts Results: Who is the second best QB in Vikings history?

This story kind of refutes the next one no?


Who is the most underappreciated member of the Vikings?

Of course, many believe that the QB is the most underappreciated. The dude has been paid handsomely for his work but it is still not enough.

All I can tell you is that the team that employs him must have missed this message because they did NOT want to guarantee more than one more year (2024). Send all your complaints about Kork not getting enough love to Kwesi since he is the one who can show him the most love.

Other Vikings stuff ...

Is Dalvin Cook’s Mind Changing on Taking Pay Cut To Stay With Vikings?

“Going back to January, I’ve been saying I don’t see Dalvin Cook here in 2023, there is zero sense that he will take a pay cut,” KSTP’s Darren Wolfson said on SKOR North’s Mackey & Judd. “That has been what has played out the last five months. Here’s where the reckless speculation comes into play: I had somebody who knows enough stuff tell me to ... check on the idea that Dalvin is having a change of heart.”
The longer Cook remains on the Vikings’ roster, the more the possibility may exist that he sticks around in Minnesota for another year. Why? Because if the market for his services isn’t what he anticipated it to be, maybe taking a pay cut with the Vikings is his best option after all.
“Can he make more money taking a (pay) cut here, a la Harrison Smith, versus testing the market?” Wolfson said.
“You look at the landscape of the league, who really needs a running back? You look at Austin Ekeler, he reworked his deal this week to remain a Charger. Could something comparable happen where the possibility exists that Dalvin Cook is in Vikings purple in 2023? Now, until I hear otherwise, I will still say I see him elsewhere.”


I think he should be reconsidering his stance even if he is getting traded. Other teams have to know he is willing to redo his deal to something more reasonable for a soon to be 28 year old running back. It is tough but it is simply business.

After the moves that Kwesi made with extending Mattison and drafting McBride, it does not make a lot of sense to keep Cook for one more year. It probably will piss off Mattison and one of the young backs will get cut and might make the final 53. I doubt it though. McBride and Chandler are two backs that other teams might want to take a shot at and Nwangwu likely gets snatched up because of his return abilities. Maybe they keep Cook and try to trade Nwangwu for a 6th or 7th?

Don’t really matter to me but ...

Fantasy Football Draft Picks to Avoid: Matthew Stafford, Dalvin Cook, Zach Ertz (2023)

Dalvin Cook (MIN)
We may have finally seen the end of Dalvin Cook‘s elite status among fantasy RBs in 2022. The Vikings star RB finished dead last among all ball carries in rushing EPA and rushes for zero or negative yardage. Cook ended the season as the RB8 overall and RB10 in points per game despite earning the league’s 4th-highest opportunity share (78%). With Minnesota re-investing in the running back position with Alexander Mattison returning, we could see Cook’s role on offense reduced in 2023.

Za’Darius Smith Reveals Frustrations With His Vikings Contract

“Lot of people didn’t know, in my contract, I had it to where I had to play every game to get my bonus,” Smith said. “Certain situations, coach was just telling me ‘Give it all you can and then we’ll just rest you from there.’ I wasn’t as effective as I was at the beginning of the season, but I’m all healthy now and ready to go.
“I couldn’t rest last year because every game, I think I was making like $200,000 just to dress up. You would dress up too, right? Exactly.”
“For one, it wasn’t set up right,” he said. “The guaranteed part. The first year was the only guarantee. So now I’m basically in the same situation but it’s OK now because I can get a chance to go into free agency next year.”

I mean, this is fairly obvious stuff. Most intelligent observers knew that he would try his hardest be on the game day roster to collect all of his per game roster bonus. His complaining about the structure is on his agent and himself for agreeing to the deal. He is right in that he knew that he was not going to see that 2024 salary. I wish him well.

One reason each NFC team will or won’t make the playoffs in 2023

Playoffs: No
Reason: Concerns at cornerback
The Vikings’ over/under total of 8.5 wins means the market has them right on the cusp of being a playoff team in the NFC. The North seems like the Lions’ division to lose at this point, but Minnesota should be next in line. However, there’s a decent amount of uncertainty on the roster.
On offense, rookie Jordan Addison will likely be their WR2, plus there are rumors Dalvin Cook might not be on the team much longer. On the defensive side of things, their front still should be fine, but the cornerback room is worrying. Andrew Booth Jr. oozes potential, but he is far from a proven talent. Byron Murphy Jr. was a nice addition, but will that be enough with Akayleb Evans as the other projected starter? This team is on track to be in a lot of high-scoring shootouts.

Hard to argue with the reason. The cornerback group is easily the weakest par to the team yet it serves as a critical piece to Brian Flores’ scheme.

PFF Offensive Guard Rankings: Top 32 ahead of the 2023 NFL season

Cleveland has shown consistent improvement in his three NFL seasons, particularly as a run blocker. His 73.4 PFF grade in 2022 ranked him eighth among guards. However, he continues to struggle in pass protection, posting a sub-60.0 pass-blocking grade in all three seasons since entering the NFL.

Sheesh. Imagine if the Vikings took Trey Smith in 2021 and Jamaree Salyer in 2022 (instead of Ed Ingram). There were more than a few people calling for these two players in the draft day threads BEFORE the picks were made.

2023 offseason grades for all 32 NFL teams: Eagles, Bengals among those to earn As

Offseason Grade: B+
It was more of the same for the Vikings. They are certainly pushing to get younger, and cheaper, but not necessarily better. They traded Za’Darius Smith to get his contract off the books, but that leaves 78 pressures to find from last season. Marcus Davenport will have a chance to step into that role after coming over from New Orleans. He has never exceeded 51 pressures in a single season.
First-round pick Jordan Addison should find success early opposite Justin Jefferson, and the opportunity is there for Mekhi Blackmon to start at cornerback if he carries his college play into his first NFL preseason. DeWayne McBride was one of the best value picks of Day 3 and could have an early workload if the team elects to move on from Dalvin Cook before the season starts.

Veteran Free Agents the Minnesota Vikings Could Still Target

I would love to see the team sign Dalton Risner but he likely is not coming to sit the bench and since it looks like he wont get much money, he is looking at a one year prove it deal from any team. That way he hits free agency again next year with a chance to get a longer and higher next contract. Kind of hard to see the Vikings convincing him to sign and maybe sit the bench. Still would be nice if they pulled it off though.

I’m still on the Marcus Peters bandwagon. Other than that, I am not sure. I’d rather see a trade or two.

Yore Mock

Trade Partner: Dallas Cowboys
Sent: Round 1 Pick 23
Received: Round 1 Pick 27, Round 4 Pick 27
Trade Partner: New York Giants
Sent: Round 2 Pick 23, Round 4 Pick 25
Received: Round 2 Pick 16
Trade Partner: LA Chargers
Sent: Round 4 Pick 27
Received: Round 5 Pick 22, Round 6 Pick 22

27: R1 P27 EDGE Laiatu Latu - UCLA 6’4” 265

48: R2 P16 C Sedrick Van Pran - Georgia 6’4” 310

123: R4 P23 LB Cedric Gray - North Carolina 6’2.5” 235

*142: R5 P6 DL Fabien Lovett - Florida State 6’4” 318

158: R5 P22 S Demani Richardson - Texas A&M 6’1” 215

168: R5 P32 WR Cornelius Johnson - Michigan 6’3” 208

197: R6 P22 G Isaiah Adams - Illinois 6’5” 315

198: R6 P23 CB Khyree Jackson - Oregon 6’3” 197

* pick from the Browns but could be 5.13

I am imagining the team will re-sign Kork.

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