4 Things to Know about Vikings Offseason — with FA 4 Weeks Away

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NFL free agency kicks off in about three weeks, and the Minnesota Vikings will begin the 2024 team-building process.

It’s about as pivotal as it gets per Vikings history for an offseason, meaning the purple team must be bold and efficient to get it right.

4 Things to Know about Vikings Offseason — with FA 4 Weeks Away

So, with “legal tampering” on the menu for March 11th, these are four things to know about Minnesota’s offseason with four weeks to go before free agency. They’re ranked in ascending order of importance (No. 1 = most important).

4. Final Stages of “Competitive Rebuild”

Subtract Any
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Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, along with head coach Kevin O’Connell, spoke to reporters in January at an end-of-season press conference, and the duo was asked where the team is right now in the competitive rebuild.

The answer? Well, the “rebuild” noun could soon drop from the team’s billboard. With a productive offseason, Minnesota could be simply competitive by September.

“The point of that was to still provide ourselves a chance in the tournament every year while regaining financial flexibility, finding the next generation of great Vikings players, incorporating our systems that we value so much. I think when you look back at it, I think we’ve done a lot of positives. We gained some of our financial flexibility, we have competed to be in the tournament last year as the division champions, and this year, through adversity, we had a lot of meaningful games late,” Adofo-Mensah explained with O’Connell at his side.

The pair owns a 20-14 (.588) record since taking over the franchise. Meanwhile, the Vikings faced a salary cap underwater by approximately -$24 million entering last offseason; this year, Minnesota is about $25 million in the green — a $49 million turnaround, in a good way.

Adofo-Mensah added, “And there are some things we need to be better at, no question. I think you want to get to a point, from a depth, from a top-end standpoint, where you can overcome the adversity. Right now in the competitive rebuild, we want to get to a place where there’s no rebuild. It’s just competitive in a window. And I think we’re close to that, it’s gonna take a big offseason, it’s why we’re gonna be here a lot. I think it’s important, it’s key, and I’m excited for the challenge.”

This is it — the offseason to turn away from the rebuild part of the philosophy.

3. Reportedly Willing to Trade Up for QB

Vikings Are Basically Done
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Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling joined Paul Allen’s show on KFAN in January and explained Minnesota’s draft mindset regarding quarterback, “If they’re going to take one, it’s going to be someone we love or we’re not doing it. If you have to give up a couple first-round picks for future years, I don’t think they’d bat an eye at that.”

A couple of reports have indicated in the last year that Adofo-Mensah was prepared to trade up last year for Anthony Richardson or Bryce Young, depending on their draft standing, but no deal materialized. The Vikings stayed put and drafted wide receiver Jordan Addison instead, a move celebrated by basically everybody.

“They have certainly looked at this as ‘we need to get the guy that we can plant our flag with for the next 10 years, and if it costs a lot to do that, so be it. ‘I don’t think they’re going to limp in on this, so to speak, and be like, ‘Well, if it’s QB5 and we’re kind of OK with him, let’s take him anyway,’” Goessling added.

If that reporting is accurate, Minnesota is indeed willing to splash with a trade on draft night.

2. More Cap Space Than Usual

Afford to Gamble
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Mentioned above, the Vikings generally enter an offseason — in the last eight years, anyway — with menial cap space or underwater and needing to clear and modify existing contracts.

While Minnesota could still restructure contracts and cut expensive players, it’s starting in a favorable spot, thanks to Adofo-Mensah’s tactics in the last two offseason. Bloated contracts for aging players were offloaded in 2022 and 2023.

Now is the time to spend at certain roster spots, especially if the next guy doesn’t return.

1. Kirk Cousins Truly 50/50

with FA 4
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This major, foremost domino can truly go either way. Normally when Kirk Cousins is asked about his future, he smiles and says something like, “The Vikings are my team, and that’s that.”

Yet, in the last month, he’s been more open to testing the free-agent waters. Vikings fans are in a spot where if their phones buzz and a notification says, “Vikings won’t re-sign Cousins,” they’ll nod, as such news feels expected. Conversely, if the news is “Cousins re-ups with Vikings on a two-year deal,” they’ll have the same reaction.

More than ever before, the decision on Cousins is a coinflip. No certain outcome will shock onlookers.

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.