It’s been a while since we’ve done a Water Cooler Talk, but it’s time to give it another whirl (click here for a refresher on the rules). Admittedly, we’ve had our fair share of misses. Even still, we will press on, continuing to journey into the stormy night that is NFL free agency. In this installment, we take on the Minnesota Vikings and recently-released Takk McKinley.
The Case for Takk
Things have been tough on the defensive line for the Minnesota Vikings. Danielle Hunter and Michael Pierce are done for the year. One of the solutions — Yannick Ngakoue — was traded a couple weeks ago. The result is a defensive end rotation that consists of Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jalyn Holmes, D.J. Wonnum, and Hercules Mata’afa. These players are making progress, but it’s safe to say that the Vikings’ DE group is still a work in progress.
The upside with McKinely is obvious. Still only 25, McKinley was a first-round draft pick in 2017. As PFT notes, the Falcons chose McKinley over T.J. Watt. It’s also notable that Tre’Davious White and Ryan Ramczyk went shortly after McKinley. We can understand this reality in a few ways. On the one hand, we could say that the Falcons are dumb for overlooking three tremendous players. On the other hand, we could say that McKinley offered enough potential to be taken over three tremendous players. Both perspectives are probably true.
The downside is equally obvious. He created issues in Atlanta, leading to his release. He has battled some injuries, and his production has been underwhelming. Through his four years, McKinley has solid but underwhelming scores on PFF.
Keep in mind, though, that Mike Zimmer and Andre Patterson are the perfect fit for a talented, underperforming defensive lineman. It would be hard to find a pair of coaches who are better at developing the defensive line.
Ultimately, we think it is unlikely that the Minnesota Vikings sign Takk McKinley. That being said, someone is going to give McKinley a shot, and it may end up being the Vikings.
Over the past year, one of the consistent themes for Minnesota rests in their consistent desire to bring in young talent. McKinley would simply be another move that fits this equation. He had 6 sacks in his rookie season, and 7 as a sophomore. At 6’2, 265, McKinley runs a 4.59. There is talent there. Making a move to Minnesota may be exactly what McKinley needs.