Report: Vikings Targeting OG Joe Thuney and CB Shaq Griffin
The “legal tampering” period has started for the Minnesota Vikings, and it seems free agency may be rather fruitful.
The Athletic‘s Chad Graff reported that the Vikings are pursuing Joe Thuney from the New England Patriots and Shaquilll Griffin from the Seattle Seahawks.
Despite little cap space, the Vikings are expected to be in on two of the top free agents — guard Joe Thuney and CB Shaquill Griffin. They'll have plenty of competition for their services, but the Vikings are interested.
— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) March 15, 2021
Indeed, the Vikings are not cap-space savants in 2021, but the team’s cash availability has improved markedly in the last two weeks with the releases of Kyle Rudolph, Dan Bailey, Riley Reiff, and the contractual restructure of Anthony Barr.
The Vikings have roster needs on the defensive line, offensive line, and at cornerback and free safety.
If Graff is correct and general manager Rick Spielman enacts these transactions, well, that shopping list is in good shape.
Foremost, Joe Thuney and Kirk Cousins share an agent — Mike McCartney. So, there is a mini-connection there. Spielman is obviously familiar with McCartney amid his Cousins dealings.
Thuney has been a reliable guard as a member of the Patriots since 2016. Minnesota needs reliable guards. He has never made a Pro Bowl or received All-Pro honors, but he is about as steady as it gets at offensive guard. In the last three seasons, Thuney has played over 1,700 snaps while allowing just three sacks. Wowzers.
He is also considered the top guard available during 2021 free agency. His Pro Football Focus grades are as follows: 74.2 (2020), 77.4 (2019), 75.7 (2018), 73.5 (2017), and 63.9 (2016).
His addition to the Vikings would emulate Steve Hutchinson vibes from 2006 — although Hutchinson was a bit more accomplished than Thuney.
Griffin reached the Pro Bowl in 2019 and is a four-year veteran. All of his time has been spent with the Seahawks — a team that the Vikings have not solved since the pre-Russell Wilson days.
In 2020, Griffin tallied a 93.3 passer-rating-against, a mark that would be welcomed by Minnesota. Rookie corner Cameron Dantzler was dazzling during the last half of 2020, but more help is welcomed — especially if Dantzler or fellow rookie, Jeff Gladney, endures a sophomore slump.
Griffin’s PFF: 64.1 (2020), 77.0 (2019), 54.7 (2018), and 65.3 (2017). A pairing with Mike Zimmer — a cornerback whisperer — could spike Griffin’s productivity.
The addition of Griffin would also plan for life after cornerback Mike Hughes. The 2018 1st-Round draft pick has been beset by injury throughout his three-year career. Hughes has missed half of all games since entering the NFL.