The Minnesota Vikings have had one of the most eventful off-seasons that I can remember. With an aging roster, it seems that the team might have hit their ceiling in the 2019-20 season.
Some tough roster moves on both sides of the ball have had to be made due to the team’s lack of cap flexibility. It seems that we will be cheering for an almost entirely new team this fall and I’m not entirely sure that is a good thing.
At the corner position, the Vikings will trot out two brand new starters, as they have cut Xavier Rhodes to create cap space and let Trae Waynes sign a pricey 3 year $42 million contract with the Cincinnati Bengals. Say what you want about Rhode’s diminishing play and his large contract, but Minnesota now has to replace two starters, who played 7 seasons and 5 seasons respectfully, with brand new players.
Not only will they need to replace the starters, but nickelback Mackensie Alexander and safeties Jayron Kearse and Andrew Sendejo have also moved on to greener pastures. Considering the Vikings are also rumored to have a desire to trade star safety Anthony Harris, this is a rather alarming changeover in the secondary.
The only remaining players from last season are Harrison Smith, Mike Hughes and Holton Hill. Those are some giant holes to fill.
The Vikings also have cut defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Everson Griffen in an attempt to recoup some cap room this season while also letting Stephen Weatherly sign elsewhere. The tackle position was fortified with signing Michael Pierce, but there are still holes in this unit that need to be filled.
In easily the most eventful news for Minnesota, the Vikings finally pulled the trigger on a trade that sent star and disgruntled wide receiver Stefon Diggs along with a 7th round pick to the Buffalo Bills for: 2020 1st round pick (22nd overall), 5th round pick, 6th round pick and a 2021 4th round pick.
Only time will tell if this was a “good” trade or not, but for its face value right now, I am supportive of it. Diggs gave us the Minneapolis Miracle, something that all Vikings fans will remember forever. I believe that this play has created an exaggerated connection of appreciation for Stefon and what he truly is as a receiver.
Vikings fans seem to be hastily forgetting the temper tantrums, the yelling, the helmet throwing, the blaming, the standing in the middle of the field with his hands up complaining, and the difficulty he was to work with. Have fun with Josh Allen, the least accurate passer in the league!
This move, however, is not a move that is done by a team that has Super Bowl aspirations for this season. The haul that the Vikings received for Diggs is nice, but at the end of the day, you are still trading away a 26 year old receiver in his prime who is a top 15 receiver in the league.
With Adam Thielen and Bisi Johnson as the only two real receivers with experience, Minnesota signed Tajae Sharp, a 25 year old receiver that never really made an impact in his time with the Titans. Whoop-de-freakin-do.
To summarize, the Vikings need to replace starters at corner, safety, defensive end and wide receiver. Not only do they need to add starters, but Minnesota desperately needs to add depth at corner, safety, defensive line, wide receiver and the not yet mentioned offensive line, which could use a lot of help.
Sometimes change is a good thing, but sometimes too much change has an adverse effect. The Vikings and GM Rick Spielman have a lot of work to do to get this roster up to snuff. Minnesota almost never bottoms out and I don’t think the team as constructed will do that, but I fear that they might be much closer to a full rebuild than a Super Bowl.