Minnesota Vikings News Roundup: Rick Spielman Adds Roster Depth
For the most part, the free agency fireworks are done. Most of the big names are now signed to new contracts. Minnesota joined the fun by adding two big-time players: Dalvin Tomlinson and Patrick Peterson. Apart from those two, Rick Spielman has mostly focused his attention on improving the roster depth. This week’s News Roundup thus begins with a look at the depth, the upcoming draft, and then a few words on some Vikings content here and around the interwebs.
Rick Spielman and Roster Depth
Tomlinson and Peterson are both relatively major signings. They should make a noticeable difference for a defense that underwhelmed last season. Otherwise, Spielman’s moves have mostly addressed the depth. Stephen Weatherly is a below-average starting defensive end, but one who would do well as a backup. Nick Vigil, presumably, was brought in to be the team’s #3 or #4 LB.
Yesterday, the news emerged that Minnesota is bringing Mackensie Alexander back for the league minimum. It’s a great move for the Vikings. During his last season as a Viking, Alexander emerged as an impact slot corner. Re-adding him for the vet minimum is a fantastic move, one that allows Zim to have depth in his secondary. Peterson, Cameron Dantzler, and Alexander are the likely starters. First-round picks Jeff Gladney and Mike Hughes will be the fourth and fifth options. Gladney is a great tackler, but he struggled in his rookie season, likely due to all that was being asked of him. He played 529 snaps in the slot and then 313 out wide; in effect, Gladney was playing two positions, far too much for a rookie.
On offense, Minnesota brought back both Rashod Hill and Ameer Abdullah. Both are solid additions who can be part of a winning football team. They also traded for iOL Mason Cole this week, sending a sixth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for his services. In all likelihood, Cole will serve as the team’s backup center while competing for the opening at LG. It’s a fine move for the Vikings, but the offensive line is far from complete.
Even after the Alexander and Cole moves, Minnesota has $8.6 million in cap space.
Intrigue Leading Into The Draft
The Vikings ought to be prioritizing the offense during the draft. A few weeks ago, Spielman suggested that the team was assessing where the strengths of free agency and the draft were: “We’ve still got a lot of work to do and we’re still in the process, but I think I have a pretty good sense right now — before free agency kicks off in a couple weeks — where the strengths of the draft are, where the strengths are in free agency … and how we’re going to roadmap and fill as many needs as we possibly can.” They addressed defense in free agency. They’ll address the offense in the draft.
The good news is that Minnesota is likely going to find themselves in a position to snag an impact offensive lineman. The recent news about San Francisco’s trade up to #3 overall is a positive sign for Minnesota. Vikings fans ought to be cheering for at least four (but ideally five) quarterbacks to get picked in the top ten. We all know Trevor Lawrence is going first. The Jets will then either choose Justin Fields or Zach Wilson (unless they go full-blown Jets on us). After that, SF is taking a QB. Some have said Mac Jones, but it’s impossible to know at this stage. In any case, more top-ten QBs means more high-end prospects get pushed down.
The dream, as we’ve indicated before, is for Penei Sewell to fall. Christian Darrisaw would be a rock-solid consolation prize, though.
TVG and Vikings Chatter
Yesterday, TVG had the good fortune of having Funky and Danchat from Purple Pain Forums in for another round table. Earlier in the week, we discussed how the Vikings have used their picks in recent drafts, the work that still needs to be done along the o-line, and Spielman’s salary cap wizardry. Podcast fans might even be intrigued by this week’s Notes from the North episode.
Speaking of podcasts, Odin’s Den recently uploaded a new episode. UFFda! Sports has launched yet another new site, this one focusing on draft prospects. Draft fans should check out The Draft Team! NFL fans might also be interested in Franchise Tagged, UFFda! Sports‘ NFL site.
You’re appreciated, reader. Thanks for taking some time for this week’s Minnesota Vikings News Roundup. Rick Spielman has done an excellent job of addressing the roster depth, but there is a lot of work to be done. Let’s hope that he can put that remaining cap space to good use as he approaches the draft.
One last thing. A few days ago, the idea came to me to (at least from time to time) offer a completely meaningless award for the week’s best Vikings content. We are calling this award The Internet’s Pleasing Purple Post. The first one goes to Nick Olson, whose article on Patrick Peterson in Zone Coverage is a must-read. Skol.