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Minnesota Vikings News and Links, 16 January 2024

“Knock, knock. Who’s there? A solipsist. A solipsist who? You wouldn’t understand.”

2024 CFP National Championship - Michigan v Washington Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Congratulations to the Lions and Packers for winning their playoff games and showing that the NFC North was a not too shabby.

This offseason is going to be HUGE. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will make decisions that are going to affect his career.

In the last daily thread I presented a quick and dirty plan. I was thinking about it more in the context of the two rivals winning and the Vikings possibly being well behind these teams in terms of roster strength, cap space, and draft capital.

The plan I presented included signing Bryce Huff but I am going to swap Hunter in here ...

Extend Cousins - 2 yr 75M (fully gtd & no trade)
Extend JJ - 4 yr 132M
Extend Hunter 3 yr 75M
Extend Dalton Risner - 3 yr 21M
Cut Smith
Sign DJ Reader (DT) - 3 yr 45M
Sign L’Jarius Sneed (CB) - 4 yr 70M


This is what happens with the cap with these moves and I am including the players already under contract with large cap hits except for Bradbury and Phillips

Player - Deal : 2024 : 2025 : 2026 : 2027 : 2028 : 2029
O’Neill : $22,930,868 : $26,019,114 : $23,203,892
Cousins 2 yr 70M : $20,250,000 : $52,750,000 : $25,500,000 (dead)
Jefferson 4 yr 132M : $19,000,000 : $19,000,000 : $19,000,000 : $42,500,000 : $42,500,000 : $9,000,000 (dead)
Hunter - 3 yr 75M : $14,663,333 : $32,243,334 : $31,000,000 : $12,000,000 (dead)
Hockenson : $14,050,000 : $15,100,000 : $19,600,000 : $21,600,000
Murphy : $10,161,754 : $4,200,000 (dead)
L’Jarius Sneed 4 yr 70 : $8,500,000 : $19,500,000 : $20,500,000 : $21,500,000
DJ Reader 3 yr 45M : $8,000,000 : $14,000,000 : $19,000,000 : $4,000,000 (dead)
Smith : $7,831,768
Oliver : $6,174,000 : $9,424,000 : $2,848,000 (dead)
Risner 3 yr 21M : $4,000,000 : $8,000,000 : $9,000,000
Total : $135,561,723 : $196,036,448 : $141,303,892 : $85,600,000
overthecap estimates : $249,586,281 : $260,000,000 : $284,000,000


This shows that 11 players would take up 54% of the cap in 2024, 9 players would take up 75% of the cap in 2025, and 9 players would take up 50% of the cap in 2026.

Bringing back the top players and trying to sign a couple top free agents is going to force the team to fill out the rest of the roster with a lot of players earning close to the minimum. This does not even have Darrisaw or Bynum extensions.

The Cousins, Hunter, O’Neill, and even Hockenson (post injury) deals look ominous/hideous.

We are in more trouble than a little bit but, heh, as long as we keep our favorites we should be fine right?

If they bring everyone back then had better get to the Super Bowl otherwise we should get a new regime.

Since yore last open thread

Vikings Off-Season Evaluation Part VI: Running Backs

SB Nation Reacts Results: Calling our shot

Harrison Hitman Smith’s Future? Retirement? Hall of Fame?

Vikings Off-Season Evaluation Part VII: Offensive Line

Other Vikings News

Who are the top quarterback prospects for the Vikings in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Cousins dilemma just one of the issues Vikings face this offseason

Future of the Vikings, Part 1: Defensive line

Edge rushers
Danielle Hunter
Considering that he didn’t have a partner drawing away the defense’s attention or defensive tackles that contributed in the pass rush, you could make an argument that 2023 was Danielle Hunter’s best season. Only seven edge rushers finished with more pressures (80), only four players had more sacks (16.5), zero players had more tackles for loss. Not to mention that he played all 17 games for the second straight season after missing the better part of 2020 and 2021 with injuries.
Defensive tackles
Harrison Phillips
In 2021 and 2022, Phillips was one of the top run-stuffing defensive tackles in the league and graded above average but this season he ranked 47th of 73 defensive tackles overall, which is down from 23rd last year. But that number does not tell the story. Because of an injury to Dean Lowry and overall shortage of players on the D-line Phillips was forced to play a much larger role. He cleared his previous career high snap count by 145 or nearly three games worth. Phillips also played a different role. In the past he was a three-technique but this time around he lined up often over the center. To be exact, 249 snaps at nose tackle, per PFF. Listed at 307 pounds, that is a difficult role to take on at his size.
The bottom line
The cupboard is bare along the Vikings defensive line and how much they can fix by opening day 2024 depends on how much capital they can invest. Decisions at edge rusher and defensive tackle tie into what the Vikings do at quarterback more than any other position group
If they bring Kirk Cousins back then free agent dollars will be more limited but they will be able to spend their first-round pick on the D-line. If Cousins is not back then they can bring back Hunter or go big-game hunting at defensive tackle and edge rusher but would be limited in draft capital to acquire players to develop along the line for the future.
The only way to split the difference would be making serious sacrifices to the future with the salary cap. That is a possible approach if the Vikings feel they are a D-line away from being a serious contender. But the Davenport signing shows that one bust signing can have long-term effects on the cap.

Longtime MN columnist thinks Vikings could trade Jefferson, start ‘full-scale rebuild’

“There could be a better chance of Jefferson getting traded than anybody’s saying,” Walters wrote. “That’s because it doesn’t make sense to pay the NFL’s best receiver the money he wants (expected to be at least $150 million over five years) on a team that’s not expected to be seriously competitive for several more years.”

Analyst Predicts Kirk Cousins Spurns Vikings, Teams Up With 1st-Year HC

Monday Morning Mailbag: Vikings ‘Important Offseason’ Begins

Lions, Packers may be too good for Vikings to justify bringing back Kirk Cousins

The Vikings really do have a lot to consider...
How will Cousins, at age 36, return from an Achilles injury?
Will tight end T.J. Hockenson be the same post ACL/MCL surgery?
Will Hockenson be ready to play at the start of the season?
Will Danielle Hunter re-sign or leave via free agency?
With or without Hunter, how will they generate a pass rush?
Are they comfortable with their cornerbacks? (Byron Murphy, Akayleb Evans, Mehki Blackmon, Andrew Booth Jr.)
Can they improve their 29th-ranked running game?
Who is going to start at left guard? Dalton Risner is a free agent.
Justin Jefferson and Christian Darrisaw are likely going to need new contracts. Hunter too if they want to bring him back. If Jefferson becomes the highest-paid non-quarterback in the NFL, that’s at least $33 million annually. If Darrisaw is paid like a top left tackle, that’s up to $25 million per year. And if Hunter wants to be paid like one of the elite edge rushers, that’s another $25 million potentially.
If Cousins costs $35m+ per year the Vikings can’t realistically bring everyone back unless they push money down the road to roam freely in 2024 before suffering in cap hell for years to come. Considering they’re just now exiting cap hell, do they really want to go there again so soon?
The point of all of this is to say that the Vikings are at a disadvantage compared to the rising Lions, Packers and even the Bears. Not only does Minnesota’s roster have more holes, the Vikings also have less cap space when free agency begins in March.

Jordan Love is a PROBLEM for the Vikings future

NFL News

Eagles All-Pro center Jason Kelce retires after 13 seasons following wild-card loss to Buccaneers

NFL Rumors: Recent Chatter Surrounding 2024 Head Coaching Vacancies

Harbaugh Interviews with Chargers, but Nothing Imminent
Seahawks Stacking Up Interview Requests for Opening

Atlanta Falcons interview Bill Belichick for head-coaching job

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