If Vikings Spend Big in Free Agency, It’ll Be This Guy.

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The Minnesota Vikings free agent fits remain to be seen, but the team’s vision will become clearer on Monday when the NFL’s “legal tampering” phase gets underway.

Vikings Free Agent Fits: It’ll Be One Man if Kwesi Spends Big

Minnesota needs a quarterback, foremost. Kirk Cousins will determine if the Vikings have continuity or enter a brave new world at QB1. The Vikings also need EDGE rushers, a defensive tackle, and maybe a cornerback.

Vikings Free Agent Fits
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And if the club does spend big on a single player, it will likely be defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, whose resume includes five years with the Miami Dolphins, three years tied to Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores. The connection just makes too much sense.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted Sunday, “Several league sources expect Dolphins’ Christian Wilkins to avoid franchise tag. Miami source says keeping options open, but teams bracing for star DT to hit free agency.”

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That means that Wilkins, 28, will likely hit the open market Monday, one of the few big-name players to avoid the franchise tag and actually see the light of day on the league’s marketplace. If that comes to fruition — it feels like it will — the Vikings should be considered a number-one-with-a-bullet destination.

Last year at this time on the calendar, the Vikings showcased $ -24 million in available cap space and needed to clear player contracts just to flirt with “the green.” This time, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has about $37 million in cap space, so approximately a $60 million turnaround, thanks to saying goodbye last offseason to players like Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, and Eric Kendricks, among others.

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If there was ever an offseason to unload some hefty cash on star players, it’s now. The Vikings are at a foundational crossroads, claiming they’re poised to drop the “rebuild” noun from the competitive rebuild roster-building strategy, and if that’s true, well, they need talented players in the house. Wilkins is one of those.

Curiously without a Pro Bowl or All-Pro through five seasons, here’s Wilkins’ Pro Football Focus resume:

  • 2023: 74.9
  • 2022: 85.1
  • 2021: 83.3
  • 2020: 68.9
  • 2019: 64.4

The catch? Well, Wilkins will probably command $20-$27 million from some team. That’s expensive for any non-quarterback and especially a defensive tackle. It’s also costly for a player who’s never been an All-Pro or Pro Bowler.

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Minnesota’s defense improved markedly from 2022 to 2023. It ranked 24th per DVOA under Ed Donatell in 2022 and climbed to 11th per the same metric with Flores in 2023. Adding Wilkins could help that rise further in Kevin O’Connell’s third act.

The Vikings haven’t spent ample resources on a player at Wilkins’ position since Sharrif Floyd — over 10 years ago.

Wilkins was the first draft pick of the Brian Flores era in Miami.

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).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.