The slow time of year where folks can break out there NERD stats to try and convince you that the team is still really good and that last year was not all luck (it wasn’t). Obviously the team has some contracts that they could extend.
“Could be big money on the way at some point. The Vikings believe that he’s a cornerstone player, the best receiver in the league. They want to sign him to an extension at some point,” ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said Sunday on SportsCenter. “Two potential hurdles in the way, though. He’s only three years into a rookie deal that has two years left with a fifth-year option, so not in a major rush to do it right now. And then the market for receivers, you’re looking at around $30 million or more. Tyreek Hill makes $30 million a year on a big deal but they might need to make Jefferson the highest-paid non-quarterback in the league. So, those are some hurdles but certainly the Vikings want to do this at some point. Jefferson is expected at training camp regardless.”
“[Negotiations] happen every single year,” Jefferson told reporters. “It’s not something that’s new towards the game. Eventually, we knew we were going to have to talk contract.”
Since yore last open thread ...
Chronic ineptitude or mediocrity with occasional false hopes. Giants fans, would you trade places with Vikings fans?
When Adofo-Mensah was hired by the Vikings in 2022 he described his philosophy as “competitive rebuilding,” i.e., trying to re-tool the roster on the fly while still having a chance to contend and at the same time navigating a difficult salary cap situation. Despite the flashy name, his philosophy was viewed by everyone else as, “Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.”
But not everyone sees what the Vikings are doing as a tear-down. Kevin Seifert of ESPN feels that Adofo-Mensah is still walking the “competitive rebuilding” tightrope. He anticipates that Minnesota will have 7-8 new starters in 2023, but feels that 2024 will be where the rubber hits the road: A decision on Cousins combined with $53M in 2024 effective cap space, the 10th largest in the NFL, will define where the Vikings go.
Minnesota used only three draft picks on defense, their 2022 Achilles heel, so whether the defense is better or worse than in 2022 is questionable.
Other Vikings stuff ...
Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr thinks so, naming Davenport recently as one of ten possible first-time Pro Bowlers heading into this season.
Davenport is my major sleeper this year, much like (Haason) Reddick was last year. The 2018 first-round pick of the Saints has never logged more than nine sacks or 16 quarterback hits in a season, both of which I think he can surpass in Brian Flores’s defense this year. Davenport will slide into the position vacated by Za’Darius Smith, who had 10 sacks and a Pro Bowl nod last year. Davenport will have the gifted Christian Darrisaw (another player who is certainly worth considering for a first-time Pro Bowl nod) to work against daily and a heightened focus on Flores’s ability to create confusion and simulate pressure from other areas of the field. Davenport won’t have the fully loaded deck of star pass rushers to work off like he did in New Orleans, but the change in scenery will help him bloom (and hit the ’24 free agent market with a bang).
For Addison, there is a path for him to have an extremely productive rookie season for the Vikings. Minnesota recently released RB Dalvin Cook, which means 199 combined targets from a season ago are now vacated with WR Adam Thielen and TE Irv Smith Jr. also departing in free agency.
More specifically, Addison is expected to assume the No. 2 role at wide receiver alongside Jefferson. Even though he didn’t have a stellar season in 2022, Thielen ran the 2nd-most routes in the NFL (619), putting him only behind Jefferson (per the33rdteam.com).
The Vikings threw the ball 672 times last season — 3rd-most in the NFL — and their passing volume shouldn’t change much in 2023. The release of Cook should lead to more passing opportunities. Plus, they parted ways with LB Za’Darius Smith, DT Dalvin Tomlinson and LB Eric Kendricks on the defensive side of the ball.
“I think anytime you have personnel versatility, it’s a way you can apply pressure,” O’Connell said last week. “And what I mean by that is, how many different guys in different roles, in the run and pass game, can we apply pressure to the defense in different types of ways that you’ve gotta defend us? Meaning, there’s no rule that you can’t put three tight ends out there, there’s no rule that C.J. Ham can’t be aligned in the backfield one play and extended out in the formation on the next. There’s no rule when you’re really moving around a featured player like Justin or like T.J., K.J., Josh Oliver.
“I feel really good about our running back room, and Alex Mattison is a huge reason why,” O’Connell said. “I think he’s proven that he can (play), whether over the past few years when he’s stepped in there and handling a really good workload and producing, and also just in our short time together, his ability to handle the roles and responsibilities of that position in our offense. I feel great about where Alex is at. The next step in his career is obviously just a little bit more consistent opportunities, which obviously we hope to provide for him.”
Minnesota Vikings receive: 2024 second-round pick and DE Payton Turner
New Orleans Saints receive: DE Danielle Hunter
The Saints need an edge-rusher to complement Jordan, who’s going into his age-34 term. Ironically, they let Marcus Davenport walk in free agency, and he signed with the Vikings. Turner has a ton of upside, but he’s only suited up for 13 games in two seasons because of injuries. As a rookie second-rounder, Isaiah Foskey is an unknown commodity.
I kind of like this deal because Turner has that “P” word going for him. Potential.
Trade Partner: New Orleans Saints
Sent: Danielle Hunter
Received: Round 2 Pick 17, DE Payton Turner
Trade Partner: San Francisco 49ers
Sent: Round 2 Pick 23, Round 4 Pick 23
Received: Round 2 Pick 30, Round 3 Pick 35
23: R1 P23 DL Maason Smith - LSU 6’6’ 310
49: R2 P17 G Cooper Beebe - Kansas State 6’4” 332
62: R2 P30 QB Bo Nix - Oregon 6’3” 214
99: R3 P35 EDGE Princely Umanmielen - Florida 6’5” 245
125: R4 P25 LB Jaylan Ford - Texas 6’3” 236
142: R5 P6 S Demani Richardson - Texas A&M 6’1” 215
168: R5 P32 DL T’Vondre Sweat - Texas 6’4” 355
198: R6 P23 CB Shyheim Battle - NC State 6’2” 195
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