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Offseason Mock 1.0

By: Tanishka Mhaskar and Preet Shah
February 24th, 2019

Another Sunday goes by, and still no football. I honestly don’t know how to survive the offseason. AAF all the way, I guess. We still have a couple of weeks till free agency starts, so why don’t we do a random full offseason mock just to go through some possible scenarios.

The Vikings aren’t expected to use the franchise tag or transition tag on anybody, so we’ll go straight into free agency. 

We currently have 13 unrestricted free agents and there’s some pretty key names that I would love to have back for 2019. In my mock, I start off by creating some cap space.

I used to do this, and according to them, the Vikings have around -2 million dollars in cap space right now. Tough. 

To fix this, I start off by cutting some players that have majorly underwhelmed—guys I’m sure the fans wouldn’t mind getting rid of. 

Let’s start with tackle converted guard Mike Remmers, who had an atrocious 2018 campaign. Needless to say the switch to guard did not work out. By getting rid of him, the cap increases to 2 million.  

I also cut Andrew Sendejo, whose backup Anthony Harris shined in his replacement role. Laquon Treadwell was cut too, as a disappointment that most fans are sick of giving extra chances. 

The final cut was Kyle Rudolph, who I brought back on a cheaper deal because of his age and also so he can mentor the younger tight ends in the building. 

This ended the Vikings with 15 million dollars in cap space. I didn’t think this was enough because of the players I had in mind to sign. To do this, I restructured two players: Everson Griffen—who I wouldn’t be surprised to see take a backup role this season after the outstanding play of Stephen Weatherly in his absence, and Linval Joseph. 

Going into free agency, I had 29 million dollars.

I started off by resigning Vikings players to these deals: 

  • Latavius Murray, 3 years 9,000,000
  • Aldrick Robinson, 2 years 2,400,000
  • Nick Easton, 1 year 1,000,000
  • Tom Compton, 1 year 1,000,000
  • Tom Johnson, 3 years 9,000,000
  • Marcus Sherels, 2 years 4,000,000
  • Dan Bailey, 3 years 6,000,000
  • Kyle Rudolph, 3 years 6,000,000
  • Anthony Barr, 5 years 55,000,000

Murray has been a reliable back for two seasons now and it would be hard to see him in anything other than purple. Also due to the fact that he is turning 29 which is typically when running backs start to age, I don’t think he will have that many offers.

Robinson is the perfect WR4/deep threat for this team. He hauled in five impressive touchdowns last season. Many fans argue that Robinson should be the WR3 but I don’t think he has shown enough on shallow routes to entail that role. However, he is a great one-trick pony.

I also brought back Nick Easton and Tom Compton on minor deals to be backups and compete in training camp. Easton’s deal mostly relies on his health but I think both are solid depth players. I also like Easton’s zone blocking prowess which was on full display in the 2017-2018 season.

Tom Johnson has proved to be a great player in the Vikings defensive line rotation and in this mock I didn’t bring back Richardson so it’s vital to have Johnson in the rotation with sophomore Jalyn Holmes, along with Jaleel Johnson, potentially Ifeadi Odenigbo or a possible rookie.

Special teams are known to make huge differences in close games—differences the Vikings have been on the wrong side of. Marcus Sherels, though, has been old reliable as a special teams ace. Sherels never muffs, rarely makes bad decisions and gives the occasional jolt the offense needs. So I decided to reward his loyalty with a bit larger of a contract then what he has previously received. This is also in anticipation of the Browns trying to pry him away from Minnesota.

To finish off special teams, I also resigned Dan Bailey because he’s gonna be our guy. No other argument. Yes, 2018 was a down year for him but keep in mind his holder was a guy who has never held before. 

More questionable choices by slick Rick. 

Anyways, I believe, especially with our new Special Teams Coordinator Maalouf, Bailey can kick it and go back to his NFL record setting days.

Finally, the one all of you are waiting for: Anthony Barr. I signed him to a massive five year deal where he accumulates 11 million per year. 

Barr didn’t have the most impressive 2018 campaign and he even missed a couple of games due to injury, but he’s a key part of the Mike Zimmer defense and games without him have been tough on this team.

I get that a lot of fans don’t like him after that Rams game, but once the scheme issues were fixed, Barr got to rush the passer more, and we got even more output from him. 

Next up: free agency. 

Last year, Thielen and Diggs went off for the beginning part, but as the season wore on, opposing defenses adjusted to them. 

To help Cousins, it would be nice to bring in another reliable receiver because Laquon Treadwell is gone in this mock—not that he was ever reliable. 

When in Washington, Cousins played with WR Pierre Garcon and they had good chemistry. Garcon will likely be a free agent, having spent the last two seasons as a 49er. This signing would also be more preferable to the rumors of Cole Beasley as Garcon does not play in the slot and wouldn't take any reps away from where Adam Thielen who primarily plays through the slot.

Bringing in another seasoned veteran should also help develop the likes of Chad Bebe, Brandon Zylstra and Jeff Badet. 

Finally, I went all out as I feel like Spielman will. I offered a ginormous deal to Rams G Rodger Saffold who is set to be a FA. It was for 4 years, 36 million. 

With Saffold, I feel like the left part of the Vikings offensive line solidifies. Saffold was one of the best guards in football last season, and, although older, he still has a couple of good years left in him.

Here are the final signings: 

  • Pierre Garcon, 2 years 6,000,000
  • Rodger Saffold, 4 years 36,000,000

After free agency, we have the draft. Entering the draft, the Vikings have eight picks. Usually, Spielman tries to end the draft with ten picks so I tried to mimic his aggressive strategy. 

In round one, when we got to the eighteenth pick, none of the players I really wanted were there, so I decided to call Indianapolis. I offered the Colts the 18th pick for the 26th pick in the first and second round.

They accepted.

Then, at 26 I was on the clock. I drafted Noah Fant. 

The rationale to this is that Kyle Rudolph is getting older, and Fant is a playmaker. He can learn under old reliable Rudy before eventually assuming that starting role. Fant is a great flex who runs like a receiver and leaps like a basketball pro. Cousins has been known to be very tight end friendly. Makes for a good combo at a good value. The newfound versatility within the tight end group can also prove useful as Fant is more mobile and can make men miss when he possess the ball—something which Rudolph lacks. 

With my first pick in the second round, I grab Zach Allen. I think that Allen is a diamond in the rough, and had a very productive college career. He is powerhouse defense end who does well to stack up blockers and hold his ground at the line of scrimmage. Allen isn’t the best against the run, but some more physicality with development by DL coach Andre Patterson could help and let him emerge as a starter. Another thing that Allen has is coverage skills, much like Weatherly he possesses great coverage skills and can drop back into coverage when called upon.  

With the 26th pick in round two, I realized that we need to get younger on the offensive line. So I took teammate of Zach Allen, Chris Lindstrom. He is one of the best interior offensive linemen in this draft. He’ll take over as right guard and solidify the offensive line for this season. I like the fact that Lindstrom is also very NFL ready. 

The o-line projects to look like: 


With the backups being Easton, Compton, and Rashod Hill

I, for one, love the look of that. 

Round three comes around and with the departures of Andrew Sendejo and George Iloka, the Vikings need more safety depth. I really like what Chauncey Gardner-Johnson showed in college with the exception for consistency which he will have to develop to start in the Zimmer scheme. Gardner-Johnson can be game changing by creating a ton of splash plays by driving forward and playing in attack mode. 

In round four, I get on the clock and don’t see anyone of need. The Denver Broncos propose a trade to me: 4.18 for 4.23 and 5.18. I currently do not have a fifth round pick due to a trade for backup QB Trevor Siemian last year, so I am essentially getting this pick back. I accept. 

When I’m on the clock, I address another offensive need: running back. In this mock the Vikings resigned Latavius Murray, but a reliable third guy is necessary in case of injury to either Murray or Cook. 

Last year’s two rookies Boone and Thomas haven’t shown enough, so I pick up Elijah Holyfield. He is a huge sleeper in this draft who hardly loses yardage and can catch defenders off guard with his quickness in space. Some say he could be a day one starter. I get him for good value right now. I see his patient style and quick cuts being perfect for the Kubiak-Stefanski zone blocking system.  

In round five, I turn back to defense. Although the Vikings signed Barr long term, I think it’s always good to get younger. Khalil Hodge is a natural ballhawk who has no issues covering any type of player. Hodge NEVER misses tackles and has unbelievable vision. To have him get coached by Zimmer would be huge for the Vikings and Hodge. 

With the first pick in round six, I grabbed a corner. As we saw last season, you can never have enough corners. Iman Marshall “Biggie” is a great downhill player who can cover distances in an instance. Getting mentored by Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes, Mack Alexander, etc. should just help. 

With the first compensatory pick received in the sixth round I took Chuma Edoga, an Offensive tackle out of USC. Though I don’t believe he is ready to start on a team just yet but I definitely love his upside. He is very athletic and able to get to the second level but he definitely needs time to add muscle. If he develops well enough, he could be the potential Riley Reiff successor.
The next pick that I was another compensatory pick, this time in round 7. With this pick number 33, I selected Terry Beckner Jr. a defensive tackle out of the Missouri. Though being extremely talented he has some on and off the field issues. On the field issues would be the injuries that he has had. In 2015 he had his freshman season cut short when he tore his ACL and MCL vs BYU. Then again in 2016 he had his season cut short when he tore his ACL vs Middle Tennessee. In 2016 Beckner was arrested in Columbia, Missouri when he was caught with under 35 grams of marijuana. I believe that if he is given a chance to develop under DL coach Andre Patterson, along with maybe a year or two on the practice squad, Beckner will be back to his ways of attacking the opposing offensive line.

With the last pick of this mock draft, I selected Easton Stick, quarterback out of NDSU. Former backup quarterback to Carson Wentz, Easton Stick mirrors a bit of what you can see in Wentz’s game. In 2015, when Carson Wentz had gone down 6 weeks into the season with a broken wrist, Stick had lead the previously 4-2 Bison to a 13-2 record and a spot in the FCS championship where he then gracefully stepped down and allowed the senior to finish what he had started. Stick is very mobile and often uses his mobility to pick up yardage and extended plays when all other options are covered. He also over the years has become much more efficient as a thrower though he is not quite there yet. Another thing which Sick will need to improve upon is being a consistently better decision maker. Stick in this scenario, would take over the QB three spot on the roster elevating Sloter to the backup role. 

And there you have it. A potential Vikings offseason. Love it or hate it, let me know in the comments below and keep you eye out for more!