The Vikings Need to Be Aggressive Next Week

Mar 1, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports.

Reports have been circulating all week about potential trades. The Vikings have reportedly been shopping their veteran players with big contracts. If Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulls the trigger on trading or cutting veteran players, he will need to be equally aggressive in Free Agency and the draft.

Jason La Canfora reported that Vikings were shopping Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Michael Pierce, and Erik Kendricks. The purpose of moving on from these players is to dump salary. The Vikings appear to desire a roster reset and set themselves up for the future.

Check out this article for further analysis on potential trade candidates and returning compensation. For this article, we will assume that all of the trades were completed with the compensation stated.

In this three-round draft scenario, the Vikings obtained picks 86 and 90 and created $22.5 million in cap space. If the Vikings extend Kirk Cousins and restructure Danielle Hunter, they will create an additional $31 million in cap space. This gives them a total of $34.5 million to work with in Free Agency. However, they will need to retain $10 million to sign the draft class, so effectively $24.5 million on free agents.

Potential Free Agent Signings

The Vikings free up $24.5 million to be used in free agency. They would not be able to fill every hole on the roster. Therefore, they need to prioritize based on need, which means a cornerback, edge rusher, and a guard. (All contracts based on PFF Free Agency rankings)

Laken Tomlinson – is one of the best guards available in free agency and has experience in a zone-blocking scheme. Vikings sign him to a 3-year $31.5 million contract. Cap number at $6 million in 2022.

Dec 19, 2021; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson (75) during warmups before the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Carlton Davis – is one of the top free-agent cornerbacks and can play man-to-man, which is vital in Donatell’s defense. Vikings sign him to a 4-year $66 million contract, backloaded to keep his cap number at $10 million in 2022.

Haason Reddick – is an outside linebacker/edge rusher. A perfect mold for 3-4 defense. Vikings sign him to a 3-year $35 million contract. Cap number at $7 million in 2022.

The Vikings would need to backload these contracts quite a bit, making future years more difficult. However, the cap is expected to inflate over time. Adding these three players will help build a winning team in 2022 and beyond.

Three Round Mock Draft

After free agency, the Vikings need an interior defensive lineman, a linebacker, a running back, and a wide receiver. They will need to address these issues in the draft. Using the PFF mock draft simulator, this is the result of the first three rounds:

The Vikings need to continue bolstering the defense line, and after trading away Michael Pierce, they need a big nose tackle. With the 12th overall pick, they draft Jordan Davis out of Georgia. He is a monster more than capable of replacing Pierce. While they still need another cornerback, in this simulation, both Stingley Jr. and Gardner were off the board.

In Round 2, the Vikings selected Breece Hall with the 44th overall pick. In this scenario, they traded Dalvin Cook and find their replacement. Hall ran a blistering 4.39 in the draft and could be an adequate replacement for Cook.

Due to trading veteran players, the Vikings ended up with three 3rd-round picks. They elected to draft Channing Tindall (LB) at 76, Khalil Shakir (WR) at 86, and JoJo Domann (CB) at 90.

With Free Agency opening to tampering on March 14th, the Vikings have a lot to do. If Kwesi trades all the veterans reported as candidates, look for him to be equally aggressive next week.

This brief exercise in such a scenario shows that while trading away players can be intimidating, it’s possible to make the moves. 2022 has always felt like a full rebuild. Let us embrace it and see where Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and Kevin O’Connell take us.

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