Analysis

Minnesota Vikings Free Agency Outlook

Minnesota Vikings Free Agency Preview

After a season that saw the Minnesota Vikings play in not one, not two, but 14 games that were decided by eight points or less, Minnesota decided to part ways with head coach Mike Zimmer. This paved the way for Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell to take the reins of this franchise. On top of that, the Vikings also hired a new general manager, former Browns Vice President of Football Operations Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. These two newcomers will certainly have their hands full from the get go as the Vikings are currently projected to be over the salary cap by almost $16 million. Many tough decisions will have to be made in order for the Vikings to get over the hump and start to win some of the close games that they frequently found themselves a part of.

Update: The Vikings are now $15,004,897 over the cap.

Free Agent Additions:

  • DT Harrison Phillips

Minnesota’s Impending Free Agents:

  • OLB Anthony Barr
  • CB Patrick Peterson
  • DT Sheldon Richardson
  • G Rashod Hill
  • DT Michael Pierce
  • OLB Nick Vigil
  • CB Mackenzie Alexander
  • WR Dede Westbrook
  • DE Everson Griffen
  • P Jordan Berry
  • QB Sean Mannion
  • RB Wayne Gallman
  • WR Chad Beebe
  • C Mason Cole
  • TE Chris Herndon IV
  • TE Tyler Conklin
  • DE Eddie Yarbrough
  • K Greg Joseph (Exclusive Rights FA)
    • Received second-round tender worth 1-year, $2.433 million

The Vikings have a number of contributors from last year’s team on this list of free agents with OLB Anthony Barr and kicker Greg Joseph looking like the top players to re-sign this offseason. Patrick Peterson is another player who could also be signed to a short-term deal if the Vikings feel they are in a position to compete next season. Some of the moves the Vikings make this offseason will be determined by a certain QB in Green Bay and whether or not he decides to stay in the division. Even with so many contributors from this year’s team on this list, it is also very likely that the Vikings will be parting ways with a lot of players based on their current cap situation. They are in a very tough predicament, and they will need to restructure players’ contracts or part ways with some of the bigger contracts on the team in order to be in a more favorable position heading into the 2022 season. 

Franchise Tag:

  • OLB Anthony Barr (estimated $17.417M)

Considering the Vikings’ current cap situation, it does not appear likely that they will be able to or will want to use the franchise tag on any of their pending free agents. If the Vikings were to use the franchise tag, however, outside linebacker Anthony Barr could be a player they use it on as he has been a good presence on their defense since being drafted in the first round by the team in 2014. For outside linebackers, the projected franchise tag price is $17.87 million. It may be worth bringing back Barr on a smaller deal considering the hoops the Vikings are going to have to jump through this offseason with their current cap situation.

Update: The Vikings elected to not use their franchise tag this offseason. 

Top Team Needs:

  1. Any position in the secondary
  2. Quarterback
  3. Defensive End Depth
  4. Right Guard

The top need for the Vikings is abundantly clear due to the fact that Minnesota found itself in the bottom six in both passing yards per game (252.9) and in yards per completion (11.7). With the Vikings whiffing on two first-round cornerbacks in the past four years, they will need to right the ship at this position or face having to be in more shootouts with some of the better offenses in the league once again in 2022. Furthermore, Patrick Peterson is a pending free agent who was arguably their best corner this past season. Quarterback may not be the biggest need at the moment with Kirk Cousins under contract for one more year, but the Vikings will certainly need to figure out who their QB of the future is. It’s entirely possible that it is not Cousins.

Defensive end D.J. Wonnum certainly stepped up this past year and looks like a promising player to pair with star defensive end Danielle Hunter. The issue with Hunter is that he has not been able to stay healthy. The Vikings will need to add more depth there in order to pressure some of the better QBs in the NFC. Minnesota’s offensive line looks set, for the most part, outside of the right guard position. In 2021, the Vikings employed Olisaemeka Udoh for a good chunk of the year, but he had his fair share of struggles. In order to make this offensive line a more cohesive unit, look for the Vikings to upgrade at the right guard position.