4 Minnesota Extension Candidates
The Minnesota Vikings have several players who should be considered extension candidates.
Generally speaking, Minnesota’s leadership has tried to reward their top-end players sometime between the end of mini-camp and the beginning of training camp. We’re now in that time period, and Minnesota has some money to spend. It would be reasonable to conclude, then, that Spielman is at least considering making similar moves as in past years.
Let’s begin on offense.
The main name that comes to mind is fourth-year right tackle Brian O’Neill. Through three NFL seasons, O’Neill has not only solidified himself as Minnesota’s best o-lineman (which, admittedly, isn’t saying a lot), but also as one of the game’s most underrated tackles. As we’ve previously noted, O’Neill’s playing time has increased in all three of his seasons. His PFF score has similarly increased during this time. Expect Minnesota to pursue a deal that is somewhere around four or five years, probably with an annual average somewhere within the $10 million per season range.
On defense, the main name is obviously Harrison Smith, a player who we discussed from both a financial standpoint and for his versatility within Zimmer’s defense. Smith deserves an extension, even if it only tacks on another year or two. He is still among the game’s elite safeties.
Otherwise, the names to look out for are the depth pieces. Jalyn Holmes could likely be retained for a modest amount, seeing as how he is currently playing for just over $1 million. If Zim believes he can be part of a strong d-line rotation, then Holmes makes some sense.
Similarly, Tyler Conklin has emerged as a valuable depth piece, one who looks to be a contributor in the upcoming season. He is also entering the final year of his rookie deal. I’ve previously put forth some Conklin praise, and Zimmer pivoted away from an Irv Smith question to praise his fourth-year tight end. He won’t get huge money, but Conklin may secure a reasonably-sized extension.
Minnesota, of course, is by no means constrained by my extension candidates speculation, so there are other players who may end up getting money from those wealthy Wilfs. O’Neill and Smith, though, seem like the obvious priorities. Conklin and Holmes also make some sense. Spielman likes to be proactive with this sort of thing, and we’ll soon find out if the trend continues.