The NFL offseason has provided some much needed entertainment and distraction from the real world. Our Minnesota Vikings have been front and center in this charge and some would argue that it is not for the better.
Whether it is for the better or not, there have been some major changes taking place to the Vikings roster. If you are a passive Vikings fan and don’t pay attention to anything until opening kick-off, you are going to be quite surprised to see some names missing that once seemed essential to the makeup of the team.
First, you’ll notice some names missing on the defensive side of the ball. 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. With virtually no depth to speak of at the corner position, this will be a lofty task for the Vikings to accomplish via the draft and the remainder of free agency.
The Vikings also have cut defensive tackle Linval Joseph in an attempt to recoup some cap room this season. Joseph was another player whose play had fallen off, but it is another player that Minnesota also has to replace with a young player.
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!
The truth of the matter is that it sucks to trade away a 26 year old receiver who is talented and probably entering his prime. However, there comes a point where it isn’t worth the headache and when a player has made it clear that he wants to leave, sometimes you have to grant that wish.
Consider this: The Houston Texans traded the 2nd best receiver in the entire NFL (wayyyyyy better than Diggs) on the same day that the Vikings executed the Diggs trade. Houston traded Hopkins because he wanted $16-18 million a year, a fair price for an elite receiver.
The details are as follows: Houston trades Hopkins and a 2020 4th round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for David Johnson (a running back who was benched multiple times last year), a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 2021 4th round pick.
In the aftermath of that deal, the fact that Minnesota was able to get a 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th for someone much worse than Hopkins should leave Vikings fans with a smile on their faces.
The Vikings and General Manager Rick Spielman are being forced to make some difficult decisions. They are attempting to overhaul an aging roster while remaining competitive for a division title. They’ve done a good job of clearing cap space and hoarding draft picks, but only time will tell if they can choose the right players.
Bill Belichek has made a career out of keeping a player until his effectiveness is about to drop off and letting them go, regardless of who the player is. Apart from having the greatest quarterback of all time for 20 years, this is how the Patriots have remained a successful dynasty.
The Vikings seem to be trying to follow this same strategy by letting go of Rhodes, Joseph, Waynes and even Diggs. If executed correctly, the future is bright for our Minnesota Vikings. If it is botched, things might get pretty ugly for the next few years.
Let’s hope that Spielman has some of that Belichek magic in him.