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Crazy roller coaster year for the Vikings. Seems like we were either on a five-game losing streak or winning streak all season. To our credit, we could have easily ended the season 9-7 and made the playoffs if a few plays went our way. I was very surprised by this team and I was ready to wave the towel when we were 1-5 but this team didn’t quit and went on a 5- game winning streak to put us back into the playoff race. 
 

Biggest Surprise: Justin Jefferson. I knew he would be good but not this good and not this early. What a pick by Spielman. Further proving to be a draft wizard and one of the most underrated at that. 
 

Biggest Disappointment: Defense. I never thought a Mike Zimmer defense would perform so badly, but we did have a lot of injuries to key players. Also pass rushing is very important for things to click on this defense and we pretty much had no pass rush all year with Hunter out. 
 

Looking Forward: I think we have a great chance to make the playoffs next year with Hunter, Pierce and Barr back. If we can add some pass rushing technicians through the draft, our defense should be solid again. On offense we were better than ever, under the Kirk Cousins era, but we still need better offensive- line play. Our only weakness on offense is that interior line. Also something we can address through the draft.

 

Conclusion: All in all, I’m happy with the potential this team showed even with all the injuries. I think we are one more great draft away from being a contender. Kirk Cousins is not elite, but he’s good enough to win a Super Bowl with a great team. I don’t mind having him be our QB next year, as long as we give him a great O-Line. 

Edited by Purplepride323
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If you go back to what many thought prior to the season, I think we got exactly what they thought...although how we got there was never really how it was planned.  I thought we could go 9-7, 10-6, just because of Zim being Zim and I had no faith in the rest of the division.  So, I'm a little disappointed, but am okay with it, as I think we have a bright future with our new corners.  Certainly, there is still work that needs to be done on the d-line (even if Hunter comes back at full strength) and at the S position opposite Harry, but I do expect to see marked improvement in the defense next year.  On the offensive side of the ball, I think if they can just do similar to what they've done this year (with some noticeable improvement from the interior of the OL), I believe they'll be fine.  

This team will be a playoff team next year.  

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, swede700 said:

If you go back to what many thought prior to the season, I think we got exactly what they thought...although how we got there was never really how it was planned.  I thought we could go 9-7, 10-6, just because of Zim being Zim and I had no faith in the rest of the division.  So, I'm a little disappointed, but am okay with it, as I think we have a bright future with our new corners.  Certainly, there is still work that needs to be done on the d-line (even if Hunter comes back at full strength) and at the S position opposite Harry, but I do expect to see marked improvement in the defense next year.  On the offensive side of the ball, I think if they can just do similar to what they've done this year (with some noticeable improvement from the interior of the OL), I believe they'll be fine.  

This team will be a playoff team next year.  

Yup, exactly my same thoughts. I hope we bring back Harris and Wilson on defense. Even if that means cutting Anthony Barr and Kyle Rudolph. Even though I like both of those guys, I think they’re more expendable than Anthony Harris and Eric Wilson. We are extremely thin at safety and besides our starters, we don’t really have anyone at that position. Even though Zimmer has said in the past that he doesn’t value the safety position as much as other defensive positions, I think the job that Harrison Smith and Anthony Harris do, should not be overlooked. Especially with young corners, we need great safeties. Same with Eric Wilson. He is much better than Anthony Barr in coverage situations. Even though he’s not as great of a run-stopper, it’s a passing league and we need to keep Eric Wilson around for that exact reason. That game against Seattle alone is why we need to bring him back. 

Edited by Purplepride323
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Personally, I think they should just let both Harris and Wilson go.  Both of them, I believe, are going to cost too much for what they provide.  Harris is very good when he has top-tier CBs in front of him, but far too often (at least this year) seemed to be out of place.  And Wilson, while he may be better than Barr in pass coverage, is a severe liability against the run.  This defense primarily needs to stop the run first and foremost and he gives up way too much there.  Whatever benefit he provides in pass coverage is significantly outweighed by his deficiencies against the run.  

  

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18 minutes ago, swede700 said:

Personally, I think they should just let both Harris and Wilson go.  Both of them, I believe, are going to cost too much for what they provide.  Harris is very good when he has top-tier CBs in front of him, but far too often (at least this year) seemed to be out of place.  And Wilson, while he may be better than Barr in pass coverage, is a severe liability against the run.  This defense primarily needs to stop the run first and foremost and he gives up way too much there.  Whatever benefit he provides in pass coverage is significantly outweighed by his deficiencies against the run.  

  

Agreed. I’d let Wilson and Harris go. Neither excite me and will both be fairly costly. I’d try and move Barr as well. I realize that opens up a hole at LB but I think the money would be better spent elsewhere say like adding a quality vet at DT, CB or OG. Just find an OLB in the draft who can reliably tackle, Dye and Wilson don’t fit the bill. Doesn’t help when your DT group is terrible. 

Wouldnt mind bringing back Everson Griffen on a cheap deal, might be a familiar player to help spark the defense and could help form a decent rotation behind Hunter and Wonnum, especially if Odinigbo leaves (is he a UFA?).

DL and secondary seem to be the most glaring issues to address this off-season, throw in an additional starter at OL as well.

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WIlson's net loss in the run game if the team moves away from Barr and towards Wilson will be greatly mitigated by having a pair of DTs that should be starting in the league. I would focus my money at DT before paying Barr's contract or Wilson's contract. Fwiw, Wilson is the younger of the two and also would likely come a lot cheaper than what Barr is set to cost the Vikings next year.

Overall, I hope the Vikings can keep Barr. I just wouldn't prioritize it over either line. The biggest area of emphasis this year should be the offensive line followed closely by the defensive line. I wouldn't pay Harris huge to come back. If that means going into next season with an untested safety, that is too bad. I would rather have an untested safety than the line play that we had to watch this season.

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I was going to do a 4th quarter analysis but this will do.

I expected the defense to have troubles. The young corners grew and the young guys made some plays but otherwise it was a weak unit besides Harrison Smith and Eric Kendricks. With Hunter and Pierce likely ready for next season its a boost but we need a lot of help. Will Barr or Wilson be back? What do we do with Anthony Harris? Can Wonnum or Mata'afa take the next step? Will Mike Hughes ever be healthy?

The offense was a lot of fun! Bradbury did take a step forward but still only average. The right side of the line was awesome, Reiff did well but might not be back and Dozier shouldn't start. Its unfortunate things didn't work out for Elflein who apparently was not bad with the Jets. OL still needs prioritized. The receivers were great. Bisi Johnson did well when he played but he was mostly on the bench. Chad Beebe finally stayed healthy and looks like he belongs. Rudolph is done but Irv Smith and Tyler Conklin are a nice duo. Cook is a top back in the league, the backups are all good and even CJ Ham is a nice weapon. 

The biggest thing is Cousins. The stats are nice and he's not the problem with our team but he's not going to elevate the team like Brady or Rodgers will. I'll take a top 15 QB though!

The special teams was a disaster. Bailey took a massive step back, Colquitt wasn't good, Osborn never stepped up, Dan Chisena nearly got cut, but was okay for a pure ST guy. It was a mess.

The coaching didn't mesh at times. I think Zimmer is a good coach but wants to do too much. I fear we don't have much time left with him. Things need to turn around in 2021 or we could end up blowing everything up.

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1 hour ago, Cearbhall said:

WIlson's net loss in the run game if the team moves away from Barr and towards Wilson will be greatly mitigated by having a pair of DTs that should be starting in the league. I would focus my money at DT before paying Barr's contract or Wilson's contract. Fwiw, Wilson is the younger of the two and also would likely come a lot cheaper than what Barr is set to cost the Vikings next year.

Overall, I hope the Vikings can keep Barr. I just wouldn't prioritize it over either line. The biggest area of emphasis this year should be the offensive line followed closely by the defensive line. I wouldn't pay Harris huge to come back. If that means going into next season with an untested safety, that is too bad. I would rather have an untested safety than the line play that we had to watch this season.

Not sure what more they can do along the OL, outside of upgrading one OG spot. Just don’t see Reiff, Bradbury, Cleveland or O’Neill losing their jobs. Maybe if Reiff is a cap cut, wouldn’t count on it though. 

DL needs to be top priority. I’d even throw CB in there too. Zimmer’s defense was always best when he was four deep with starting caliber CBs. We’ve got two in Gladney and Dantzler. I’d hope to add a quality FA who can be a third CB, moving Gladney to the slot in nickel. Would still spend early draft capital if it was best value. Hughes shouldn’t be relied on, he’s had plenty of chances. 

 

Edited by vikingsrule
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My order of positions that need to be addressed

1. LG/3T
2. DE
3. S

Build up the middle on both sides.  If the line remains static (Reiff, Bradbury, Cleveland, and O'Neill) LG needs a massive upgrade.  Just as important on the defensive side of the ball is getting some interior pass rush and run disruption.  Outside of Danielle Hunter, there's no outside pass rush on this team.  Wonnum showed well in his first year, but you can never have too many pass rushers.  Safety slides in third due to the multiple nature of the position within the defense, and us having no definitive current option on the roster with Harris likely departing.

4. Continued OL/DL
5. CB
6. LB
7. WR

Again, building through the middle.  There's some developmental possibilities in Hinton and Udoh (running out of time), but we are very thin.  I have high hopes for James Lynch and Armon Watts, but the defensive line is a heavily rotated position group.  Cornerback, I have high hopes for Gladney and Dantzler, Harrison Hand showed there might be something there, and Mike Hughes has one more year left on his deal.  A piece or two could be added to help push the top three youngsters.  Linebacker depth is an issue, and while the team may like Dye and Lynch we are likely losing Wilson or/and Barr.  Finally, I put WR on the board.  Beebe and Bisi showed they can step up occasionally when called upon, but there's no high end developmental talent in the group.  In the current scheme, there isn't really room for high productivity at the position beyond the top two; we also lack that tall go up and get it presence (though, both Thielen and Jefferson are solid at the catch point, if not spectacular) that we may miss if/when Kyle Rudolph departs.

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25 minutes ago, vikingsrule said:

Not sure what more they can do along the OL, outside of upgrading one OG spot.

The best thing the team can do along the OL is to get a new GM.

Since that is not going to happen, Wilf needs to tell Spielman he can't give Reiff his walking papers, as he did this year. Giving Reiff the pay cut or be cut treatment speaks volumes of how little Rick Spielman values the offensive line. The most important thing the team should do for the offensive line this year, since they won't fire Spielman, is to give Brian O'Neill a nice extension. Secondly, keep Reiff. The $11.65M for him next year is a good value. They may have to do something to patch up the hard feelings of the pay cut. That could happen in the form of a short extension. Thirdly, the team needs to sign a respectable free agent guard. If they can't do that, they need to trade for one. Forth, the team needs to sign a center with starting experience that can handle the DTs of division rivals Green Bay and Chicago. Finally, the team needs draft an OG. They need to be willing to use a premium pick on OG if a premium talent is available when it is their turn to draft.

That is my take on what the team can do along the OL.

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How does everyone see them getting under the cap? Perhaps this is better suited in an offseason thread?

Cutting Reiff: $2.2M in dead money ($11.75M cap gained) Are they comfortable with Hill starting?

Cutting Rudy (post 6/1): $1.45M in dead money ($8M cap gained) Irv and Conklin played well in his absence.

Cutting Stephen: $1.33M in dead money ($3.75M cap gained) Pierce returning in 2021 but Zimmer seems to like him.

Cutting Bailey (post 6/1): $1.05 in dead money ($2.75M cap gained) Zimmer said a new STC is coming. Will they want to work with Bailey?

Cutting Colquitt (post 6/1): $716k in dead money ($2.5M cap gained) Zimmer said a new STC is coming. Will they want to work with Colquitt?

If all of these moves were done the Vikings would have ~$19.6M in cap space.

WILDCARD

Cutting Barr (post 6/1): $2.6M in dead money ($12.5M cap gained) Don't think this happens but worth pointing out from a pure dollars and cents standpoint.

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13 minutes ago, VikeManDan said:

Cutting Reiff: $2.2M in dead money ($11.75M cap gained) Are they comfortable with Hill starting?

Hill is also a free agent. Signing him to a starters contract isn’t going to save you much. 

 

14 minutes ago, VikeManDan said:

Cutting Stephen: $1.33M in dead money ($3.75M cap gained) Pierce returning in 2021 but Zimmer seems to like him.

With Johnson already a free agent, and no one else behind him, cutting Stephen and completely cutting any depth at the position for a minimal gain isn’t likely a great move. 

21 minutes ago, VikeManDan said:

Cutting Rudy (post 6/1): $1.45M in dead money ($8M cap gained) Irv and Conklin played well in his absence.

Cutting Bailey (post 6/1): $1.05 in dead money ($2.75M cap gained) Zimmer said a new STC is coming. Will they want to work with Bailey?

Cutting Colquitt (post 6/1): $716k in dead money ($2.5M cap gained) Zimmer said a new STC is coming. Will they want to work with Colquitt?

Cutting Barr (post 6/1): $2.6M in dead money ($12.5M cap gained) Don't think this happens but worth pointing out from a pure dollars and cents standpoint

Post 6/1 cuts don’t really work the way you’re expecting them to here. Designating a player a post 6/1 cut doesn’t drop their cap hit until 6/1. And in fact, their accelerated bonuses actually count against the cap until 6/1. So, it’s not the cap space finder that you think it is. 

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