The Vikings ‘Red Flag’ from a National Viewpoint
The Minnesota Vikings added notable veterans Byron Murphy (CB), Marcus Davenport (OLB), and Josh Oliver (TE) this offseason but also lost a bevy of longtime players to free agency.
And according to CBS Sports, the loss of veteran leadership is a ‘red flag.’
The Vikings’ Red Flag’ from a National Viewpoint
For context, these men left the organization: Cameron Dantzler (CB, Bills), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, Panthers), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns), Duke Shelley (CB, Raiders), Irv Smith (TE, Bengals), Kris Boyd (CB, Cardinals), Chandon Sullivan (CB, Steelers), and Za’Darius Smith (OLB, Browns — Trade).
So, yes, that’s a mass exodus amid general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s ‘competitive rebuild’ vision for the team. Minnesota decided to get younger, faster, and more affordable — especially on defense — for the 2023 season.
Meanwhile, CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin labeled the Vikings a Super Bowl contender and also addressed the club’s red flag, “Dalvin Cook. Adam Thielen. Za’Darius Smith. Eric Kendricks. Patrick Peterson. All gone, in the name of added salary cap space. Brian Flores’ addition as the defensive coordinator and Justin Jefferson’s continued presence out wide ensure they could remain aggressive and explosive.”
The Vikings also rank eighth leaguewide via available cap space as of June 23rd, thanks to the financial trimdown. The franchise is more financially nimble at the moment than at any point in the last decade.
“But they’ve retooled as if they won six games in 2022, not 13, with Kirk Cousins also on a contract year,” Benjamin concluded.
Digesting Benjamin’s red flag boils down to one question — something every Vikings fan should ask herself: Were Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Za’Darius Smith, Eric Kendricks, and Patrick Peterson going to get better in 2023 and beyond?
If you answer yes, they were, then the Vikings offseason has been woefully silly and emblematic of a full rebuild. However, if Cook, Thielen, Smith, Kendricks, and Peterson are aging and trending downward with their performance, the offseason strategy is wise.
It’s a simple test. If you firmly believe some or all of those players were sitting on total career resurgences, shame on Minnesota.
Otherwise, this is how the business works, and Benjamin’s red flag signifies no imminent detriment, other than the loss of veteran locker room leadership.
The Vikings kick off training camp on Saturday, July 29th.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).