Vikings Will Have 4 Major Items to Address in Offseason

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The Minnesota Vikings are on a bye week at the moment after falling to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Next up is a meeting with the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14, and Minnesota desperately needs a win.

The club is 6-6 through 12 games and has a 58.3% chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN.

Vikings Will Have 4 Major Items to Address in Offseason

And when the season wraps up, all eyes will turn to mammoth offseason decisions, as general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell will embark on Year Three in the Twin Cities.

Have 4 Major Items
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These are the Vikings’ major and impending offseason items afoot, ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

4. Extend Danielle Hunter

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Hunter leads the NFL in sacks and tackles for loss. He’s a fringe Defensive Player of the Year contender and would probably command more attention for the award if the Vikings were atop the NFC North.

The man also said last summer that he wanted to be a Viking forever.

So, March will be the time to make that happen, as Hunter turned 29 in October, and a three-year deal feels like the sweet spot to secure his services for the rest of his physical prime. He won’t be cheap — likely around $30 million per season — but Minnesota finally has cap space entering an offseason, particularly if Kirk Cousins doesn’t return.

Once and for all, get Hunter his humongous extension.

3. Decide Kirk Cousins’ Fate

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This one will be in your face as a Vikings fan the moment the 2023 season concludes.

The Vikings’ front office and Cousins’ representation couldn’t meet in the middle on an extension last spring or summer, so the rubber will hit the road in February or March. Cousins tore his Achilles a month ago, which doesn’t help his contract leverage. But Cousins rarely has difficulty fetching guaranteed cash from football teams. He’s done so every season since the start of 2016.

Some Vikings fans believe the 35-year-old will return to Minnesota on a “team-friendly deal,” but Cousins has never accepted one of those. If that’s in play, sure, the veteran passer could return.

Otherwise, between paying Hunter, Justin Jefferson, Christian Darrisaw, and T.J. Hockenson (that deal is already done), the time feels ripe for a rookie quarterback.

2. Draft a QB with High-Round Capital

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Listen, new general managers and head coaches don’t usually take over franchises and leave the QB1 the same, season after season, without winning playoff games. If Minnesota drafts no quarterback with high-round draft capital, it will embark on life with Kirk Cousins in the saddle for the seventh consecutive year.

All signs point to Adofo-Mensah drafting a quarterback this April, even if Cousins is retained for a year or two. It’s time. Soon, the salary cap will absolutely demand the quarterback play on a rookie deal. Otherwise, players like Christian Darrisaw cannot stick around. The Vikings won’t have the money for Cousins and Jefferson and Hockenson and Hunter and Darrisaw. That’s too many ands.

Now is the time for Minnesota to select its quarterback of the future with high-round draft capital. If not this April, when the hell will it happen? Never?

1. Extend Justin Jefferson

Do the Vikings Need Justin Jefferson This Week?
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The Vikings front office and Jefferson’s camp couldn’t consummate this deal in September before the season kicked off, but the parties were damn close. They’ll revisit the inevitable extension when the season is over.

Although he was injured for seven games this season, Jefferson is the face of the franchise, and every single one of the Vikings’ leaders has said for about a year they want him for the long haul. A deal will get done.

Jefferson will command between $30-$35 million per season and reset the market. The man is worth it.

On the other hand, folks have waited forever for this deal to be announced. Sooner or later, probably at the start of the offseason, Minnesota will actually have to finalize this thing.

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).

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