Following their NFC Championship loss in 2009, the Vikings have come back to cause the Saints a ton of grief in recent years. Between the Minneapolis Miracle and 2019’s OT win in New Orleans, they have ended two of their last four playoff runs in the most heartbreaking fashion. Much of it is deserved given the Bountygate scandal, and it looks like the trend may continue. With the legal tampering period beginning on Monday, there are now rumors emerging that the Vikings could cause even more pain for New Orleans in the near future.
Star DE Trey Hendrickson was an absolute stud in New Orleans last year. After starting just three games in his first three seasons, the pass rusher essentially came out of nowhere in 2020, starting 15 games while recording 13.5 sacks, 12 TFL, and a whopping 25 QB hits.
The Saints boasted one of the more fearsome pass rushes in the league with Hendrickson lining up alongside fellow Pro-Bowler, Cam Jordan. As he hits free agency this offseason, many expected the Saints to be unable to re-sign him given their horrendous cap situation. With that, there are now three teams that seem to have emerged as favorites to sign Hendrickson: the Cleveland Browns, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings.
— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 15, 2021
Hendrickson has never made more than $1 million in his career and looks to be one of the few free agents that can boast a serious pay raise in 2021. Per Spotrac, the market value for the 26-year-old looks to be around the $10 million mark based on other recent signings. That said, it wouldn’t be all that shocking for Hendrickson to accept a deal for slightly less than that to play for a contending team, especially given the NFL’s current situation with Covid.
With the restructuring of Anthony Barr’s deal among other money saving moves, the Vikings suddenly find themselves in a position to sign free agents, currently sitting with around $12.5 million in cap space (not taking into account the extra nearly $4.8 million in rollover cap). Other moves would certainly have to happen in order to obtain Hendrickson.
These potential moves have been discussed at great lengths already. We could certainly see an extension given to Harrison Smith in order to lessen his cap hit in 2021. Despite the questions of what the Vikings have in terms of money, one thing is certain in this scenario: Danielle Hunter and Trey Hendrickson would be one of the most fearsome pass-rushing duos in the league.
Combine that with Michael Pierce and Anthony Barr, and potentially a high profile draft pick, and this front seven becomes absolutely terrifying. There is still a lot of uncertainty with how this free agency period will go for the Vikings and the rest of the NFL, but be certain that we will have it all covered for you!