Sports activities |Vikings at NFL scouting mix: What we’re listening to about their offseason plans

Sports activities | Vikings at NFL scouting mix: What we’re listening to about their offseason plans

INDIANAPOLIS — After some time, days and nights mix collectively on the NFL Scouting Mix.

Conversations with brokers and crew officers bleed into dinners over steaks and drinks. The week lays the groundwork for what lies forward.

From quarterback Kirk Cousins’ future to potential defensive upgrades this offseason, this is what we heard in regards to the Minnesota Vikings in Indianapolis:

1. Cousins’ future stays unsure.

All Cousins ​​wants is one factor — a crew keen to go above and past when it comes to {dollars} and ensures. However does he have a crew?

on the weekend, Athleticof Dianna Russini mentions the Atlanta Falcons as a risk for Cousins, and he or she’s proper that “it makes all of the sense on the planet.” Proprietor Arthur Clean is 81 years previous. The Falcons’ roster is able to compete. However Atlanta has usually been linked to Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

If Atlanta would not overtake Minnesota, who will? The Las Vegas Raiders want a quarterback, however common supervisor Tom Telesco can mirror on his expertise making an attempt to win early in San Diego and the way it affected the longer term. The Washington Commanders management desires to rapidly change the notion of the franchise, however the Commanders roster is much less rounded. There isn’t a clear reply, and the clock is ticking.

The Vikings need Cousins ​​again, however on his phrases. He believes his most suitable choice lies with uncommon weapons, a well-recognized system and a metropolis and locker room which have come to understand who he’s. Whether or not or not Cousins ​​agrees will rely on the hole between the Vikings’ provide and the opposite crew’s. However as soon as once more, there can be one other crew.

Go deep

Go deeper.

The Vikings’ Kirk Cousins ​​negotiations are a take a look at of self-discipline within the entrance workplace’s long-term imaginative and prescient

2. Hiring McCown as quarterbacks coach is a multi-pronged transfer.

In 2015, Josh McCown first met Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell on a recruiting journey to Cleveland. O’Connell was employed because the crew’s quarterbacks coach, and McCown, then a 35-year-old journeyman QB, was on the lookout for a brand new NFL crew. McCown was skeptical, however ten minutes into their dialog, O’Connell was writing on the whiteboard and laughing.

McCown informed me in 2022, “Quite a lot of recruiting is wining and eating, and that is all properly and good. However we have been going to play soccer. I used to be inspired as a result of although Kevin was just a little man, I knew I used to be going to get higher round this dude. This man is quick.”

O’Connell felt the identical method. McCown landed with the Cleveland Browns, and their relationship grew stronger. The belief is partly why O’Connell employed McCown because the Vikings’ new quarterbacks coach. The hiring takes a number of the weight off O’Connell’s again.

It additionally strikes former quarterbacks coach Chris O’Hara into the cross sport specialist function, the place O’Hara will prioritize sport planning and third-down preparation. McCown’s presence can be helpful as a result of he can relate to veterans and has expertise working with extremely gifted draft picks (Sam Darnold, Jalen Hurts, Bryce Younger, and so forth.). One other facet to contemplate: McCown coached North Carolina’s Drake Might, whom the Vikings love.

3. The Vikings have completed their homework on draftable QBs.

In public circles, analysts started touting Jayden Daniels as a high expertise as he tore up school soccer en path to capturing the Heisman Trophy. Some groups had the same response. An LSU staffer stated Friday that the Vikings have been one of many first groups to dive in, consider and categorical curiosity in Daniels.

This could not come as a shock. The Vikings have labored via quarterbacks up to now two drafts. Little was offered in the best way of eye-popping expertise at first (Kenny Pickett was the primary quarterback taken), and a 13-win season in 2022 left the Vikings with the twenty third choose and one of many elite picks. It required mortgaging giant future property. QBs

Most NFL evaluators have had their eyes on USC’s Caleb Williams and Maye for just a few years now. Daniels’ rise has been various, but it surely hasn’t caught Minnesota off guard. It stays unclear whether or not the Vikings can be keen (or in a position) to maneuver heaven and earth to snag one of many three.

4. Shifting on from Mattison highlights his conviction in regards to the worth of his place.

The Vikings did not minimize Dalvin Cook dinner final yr as a result of they did not suppose working again mattered. They made the transfer as a result of they did not suppose Cook dinner’s value matched the contract his representatives have been asking for.

Minnesota believed Alexander Mattison, paired with block-first tight finish Josh Oliver with a renewed dedication to the bottom sport, might make the crew simpler on the bottom.

The technique failed. It did not assist that the Vikings misplaced Justin Jefferson for 2 months, however Minnesota’s run sport in 2023 mirrored 2022. It was the center. Mattison lacked burst. Second-year expertise Ty Chandler shined, however mishaps in cross safety restricted his utilization.

The Vikings will function Chandler prominently in 2024. Minnesota might additionally use the NFL draft or free company so as to add a veteran presence to the room.

Sports activities |Vikings at NFL scouting mix: What we're listening to about their offseason plans

The hiring of Josh McCown as quarterbacks coach ought to take the stress off Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. (Stacy Rivers/Getty Photographs)

5. Do not be stunned in the event that they spend on protection.

What number of new defensive starters do the Vikings want?

Begin experimenting with considering on the line of defense. Two of Minnesota’s beginning edge rushers in 2023, Daniel Hunter and DJ Wonnam, are incoming free brokers. In the meantime, defensive deal with Jonathan Bullard is definite to hit the market. You could possibly argue that Minnesota might additionally improve Harrison Phillips’ spot. And we have not even reached the second degree.

There may be no less than one obvious gap at off-ball linebacker, as veteran Jordan Hicks will even be a free agent. Ivan Tempo Jr. has proven numerous flashes, however even he is likely to be finest suited as a cross rusher relying on the state of affairs.

Then there’s the secondary. The Vikings may benefit from an improve at one outdoors cornerback spot: the Akeleb Evans place. The necessity for security is slim, however Harrison Smith’s retirement might depart one other gap.

A conservative projection might depart the Vikings needing to seek out six new defensive starters. Worst case situation might imply eight. Any pre-draft or free company projection ought to begin right here. The Vikings will doubtless allocate most of their 9 draft picks to this unit. Anticipate them to additionally purchase veteran free agent choices and spend most of their non-quarterback and non-extension cash at these positions.

6. The departure might pressure the Vikings to get artistic at edge rusher.

There’s a reasonable world during which the Vikings lose Hunter and Wonam. Solely Patrick Jones II, Andre Carter II and presumably even Marcus Davenport (at a serious low cost) will stay at one of many sport’s most essential positions.

A number of sources across the league count on Hunter to hunt a long-term deal price greater than $20 million in common annual worth elsewhere. The Vikings averted signing Hunter to an enormous contract final offseason. Basic supervisor Kwesi Adofo-Mensah spoke in regards to the negotiations reluctantly on Tuesday.

“It isn’t nearly this season, it is about subsequent season,” Adofo Mensah stated. “The gamers have their wants. We’ll go to the desk and attempt to determine that out and see if we will speak about how one can discover a deal to satisfy within the center.”

Wonnam’s value level can be way more palatable than Hunter’s, however his 2023 manufacturing means one other crew can pay extra for the athletic and seemingly rising 26-year-old. In brief, Wonam’s market is predicted to strengthen.

Lose each gamers, and an already lackluster cross rush can be much more depleted. Drafting a stud like Alabama’s Dallas Turner might assist fill that void. Signing a mid-level candidate like Jonathan Greenard would make sense. Minnesota might additionally discover the commerce market, however groups that need high-end choices (Los Angeles Chargers with Khalil Mack; Philadelphia Eagles with Hesson Reddick) will need premium draft capital in return.

7. The 2022 draft class continues to be a subject of debate.

You’ll be able to’t discuss in regards to the Vikings’ state of affairs with out citing the 2022 draft class. Crew officers, brokers and different league executives will level out that earlier drafts left the cabinet naked. Nonetheless, Minnesota’s 2022 class is devoid of expertise.

These discussions are typically biased backwards, however the actuality is what it’s. First-round choose Lewis Signe, second-round choose Andrew Sales space Jr., third-round choose Brian Isamoah and others did not develop into entry-level gamers, a lot much less backups.

Had the Vikings had success of their 2022 draft class, they’d have had extra assets, cash and suppleness to spend on secondary gamers who might have helped Minnesota on the margin.

8. The grade of the NFLPA teaching workers shouldn’t be a coincidence.

First, the positives: The Vikings ranked No. 2 within the NFL Gamers Affiliation’s annual report card. Gamers speak about possession, services, O’Connell and extra.

Now, the negatives: Minnesota’s teaching workers earned a “B” grade. This coincides with the choice the Vikings made this offseason to fireplace former head athletic coach Uriah Marie.

“There have been some issues that, within the conversations I had (with the gamers), I felt we fell beneath the requirements that we attempt to set,” O’Connell stated.

The change provides to the character of Tyler Williams. Williams, who O’Connell introduced in from the Los Angeles Rams to revamp the Vikings’ efficiency, is already vice chairman of participant well being and efficiency. His voice can be even heavier.

Go deep

Go deeper.

NFL gamers rated their golf equipment. Right here is your crew’s GPA

Different quick hitters

• Kicker Greg Joseph is a free agent. The Vikings have the third-lowest subject objective proportion and fourth-worst additional level proportion over the previous two seasons. Minnesota is predicted to discover outdoors choices.

• Defensive coordinator Brian Flores is spearheading the draft effort defensively. His opinions mattered final offseason, and this yr he is taking on the imaginative and prescient for the course of the protection.

• A crew supply mused aloud about 2025 and the thought of ​​having $100 million in cap house even after main enlargement. This diploma of flexibility is on the minds of many inside the crew.

(Prime picture by Daniel Hunter: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY)

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