By Colton Hall
Following a disappointing 8-7-1 finish, the Minnesota Vikings are looking to take care of a pivotal offseason that could make or break their 2019 season.
Kirk Cousins despite much scrutiny, played a solid season for the purple, finishing as the first Vikings passer to throw for more than 4000 yards, and 30 touchdowns since Brett Favre did in 2009 (that was the year the Favre “choked” in the NFL championship game by throwing a game losing interception to Tracy Porter”.
Despite a solid statistical season, most could argue that Cousins didn’t deliver in the win column as the Michigan State University product holds a career 4-25 record against teams with a winning record. Not exactly what you want from your starting quarterback.
The Vikings defense was dominant for spurts during the season, but ultimately took a step back in 2018 from its original #1 position in 2017.
The defense finished #9 in total points allowed and #4 in total yards allowed. However, it did allow nearly 500 more rushing yards while finishing as the 15th ranked run defense in 2018.
Despite the defense taking a step back in the run game, it was still in the top 10 in most categories. It’s still a top 10 defense.
So what’s next?
The Vikings will look to bolster a 29th ranked offensive line (according to Pro Football Focus), which saw Kirk Cousins hit the dirt 40 times in 2018 while the Vikings only allowed 27 sacks in 2017.
On offense, the Vikings took a step forward throwing the football as previously showed by Cousins banner year, but it came at a cost.
The Vikings took a step back as far as toting the rock as they ran for 1,957 yards (#7 in NFL in 2017) while only mustering 1493 yards (30th in NFL in 2018).
The offensive line was a big reason for the regression.
The Vikings also lost running back Latavius Murray to the New Orleans Saints, who signed a four-year deal worth $14.4 million with $7.2 million in guaranteed money. Murray accounted for 1,420 rushing yards and 14 tds while also catching 37 passes for 244 yards.
The Vikings will look to upgrade from the likes of guards Tom Compton and Mike Remmers.
Compton graded out at a 60.9 according to Pro Football Focus, while Remmers graded out at a 59.2. The Vikings let Compton go to the Jets while they released Remmers after the season.
The Vikings also let guard Nick Easton go in free agency to the Saints who signed the former Harvard graduate to a four-year, $22.5 million contract that has $4 million guaranteed for only 2019.
The Vikings can and will need to upgrade at the guard position in this year’s draft.
The team brought in guard Josh Kline on a three-year, $15.5 million contract with $7.25 million in guarantees, who was released by the Titans. Kline is coming off a career worst grade from PFF of 58.0.
The move won’t make the line much better, but it will give the Vikings some competition with whoever they pick up in the draft.
The following is a list of departures and arrivals for
the Vikings this offseason:
- Marcus Sherels (CB/PR)- A fan favorite and former Univeristy of Minnesota Gopher, Sherels will leave the Vikings as their all-time leader in punt return yards (2,447) and touchdowns (5). Signed a one-year deal with the Saints for the league minimum for $930,000 with a $90,000 signing bonus.
- George Iloka (S)- recorded 16 total tackles for the Vikings in 2018. Iloka also played for head coach Mike Zimmer in Cincinatti when the Zimmer was the Defensive Coordinator.
- Sheldon Richardson (DT): signed a three-year deal with the Browns worth $36 million and $21 million guaranteed. Richardson recorded 4.5 sacks for the Vikings in 2018.
- Trevor Siemian (QB): didn’t see any action for the Vikings in 2018. Signed a one-year deal with the Jets worth $2 million.
- Andrew Sendejo (SS): got injured midway through the 2018 season, and wound up getting replaced by Anthony Harris. Signed one-year deal with with Eagles.
- Dan Bailey (K): returns to Vikings after making 21 field goals out of 28; also went 30/31 from extra points.
- Ameer Abdullah (RB): caught one pass for 10 yards. Signed one year contract worth $810,000.
- Anthony Barr (LB): recorded 55 tackles, and three sacks. Signed a five-year $67.5 million contract with $33 million in guarantees.
- Rashod Hill (T)- appeared in all games for the Vikings, starting in eight. Signed a one-year contract worth about $2 million.
- Anthony Harris(SS)- appeared in 15 games, starting nine. Tied for the team lead in interceptions with three. Signed a one-year deal worth about $3.
Wile (P)- carried a net average of 41.5 yards per punt. Signed a one-year deal