Ex-Vikings QB Advises Franchise to Reinforce 1 Area of the Team

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The top quarterback in Vikings franchise history is Fran Tarkenton. Nobody would refute that. After him, a debate can be had between a multitude of players. Although numbers got inflated because the game has changed, two guys are fighting for the spot behind Tarkenton on the franchise leaderboards: Tommy Kramer and Kirk Cousins.

Ex-Vikings QB Advises Franchise to Reinforce 1 Area of the Team

Ex-Vikings QB Advises Franchise to Reinforce 1 Area of the Team
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While Cousins has spent exactly half of his 12-year career in Minnesota, Kramer only left the Vikings for his final season in 1990 when he joined New Orleans, where he played in only one game, ironically against the franchise he was a part of for 13 years.

He was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 1986, as well as a second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler, passing for precisely 3,000 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. From a statistical standpoint, his career-best season, in which he was one of the NFL’s top players, would be a career-worst for Cousins, showing how much the game has changed. He ranks second in franchise passing yards, third in touchdowns, and started 110 contests, the second-most.

a Pivotal Vikings
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Kramer is still actively following the Vikings, and pictures of him posing with fans surface daily. During Green Bay’s impressive win in the wild-card round, he chimed in on his plan for Minnesota’s offseason, an offseason with numerous questions that will impact the organization’s future. The decision about his successor, Cousins, will shape the next few months. Here’s what Kramer would do, according to himself on X:

I like Kirk, if we can get him for a 1 yr decent price and draft a QB at 11 or move up. Kirk will be offered more $, he should take it. We could use that money on the o-line and D-line, that’s where the games are really won.

Tommy Kramer

He would keep Cousins for another season, but only if it’s cheap and short-term. The problem, obviously, is that the veteran likely wants to stick around for longer than that. Cousins has recently stated that money isn’t his main focus but the contract structure, and he was probably referring to contract length and guaranteed money. The franchise could (and perhaps should) be hesitant to make a long-term commitment to a passer who is 35 years old and coming off a season-ending Achilles injury.

Board Got Thicker
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy looks to pass against Iowa during the first half of the Big Ten championship game at Luca Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. on Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023.

However, it seems like Kramer wants what most fans want: a quarterback early in the draft. He wants his Vikings to find a young franchise quarterback. Identifying THE guys and making sure to get him, either at 11 or earlier, by trading up.

Also important is what Kramer said at the end. He wants to reinforce the trenches as games are won there. It takes only one look at the NFC playoff picture to see that he’s right. The Packers have had an outstanding offensive line for years, and the same is the driving force for Detroit’s success. San Francisco has one of the elite defensive lines in football, and Tampa Bay employs Vita Vea, who is dominating at the point of attack.

Just four years ago, when the Vikings met the 49ers in the postseason and lost in blowout fashion, it was obvious that the purple team was overmatched in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

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Besides Harrison Phillips, the defensive line is a disaster. There is no pass-rusher, and the other guys on the team are replacement-level players. The last defensive tackle drafted in the first three rounds by the organization was Sharrif Floyd in 2013, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the team lacks talent in that area.

The offensive line was one of the pleasant surprises in 2023 as they finally returned the investments made in the last half-dozen years. Rick Spielman and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah invested early draft picks annually, but it remained a weakness of the team until this year. But it still isn’t a dominant group, especially the run-blocking could be better.

Kramer is right; the best teams are strong at the line of scrimmage, and the Vikings should make an effort to improve the roster in that area. Pursuing top linemen in the draft and free agency should be a priority.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt