Welcome to today's Vikings Live Chat with Matt Vensel. He'll be here at noon to answer questions and respond to your comments. You can start leaving them now. Thanks for joining us, today and throughout the season.
Good afternoon, everyone. I plan on going 90 minutes today. I'll get going in a minute here.
Brad, I'll lump both the draft and free agency together when discussing their needs. I think offensive line is first, second and fourth on the list of needs. They have to find a big, physical wide receiver who can make contested catches down the field. Safety is a need, though I'm not sure the Vikings see it as a major concern. They could need a middle linebacker if they move Eric Kendricks to outside linebacker. Competition is needed at punter and maybe at kicker, too. And they might want to find a nickel cornerback to replace Captain Munnerlyn a season from now, when he becomes a free agent.
Pete, he had an up-and-down season for sure. I was surprised to see him struggle as much as he did in coverage, but growing pains are to be expected when a rookie becomes an every-down player. There's no question that he is a talented kid and I think he is going to be a good player. I wrote about him a little yesterday in my blog about Chad Greenway. The Vikings after drafting Kendricks said that he could be moved to outside linebacker. If they move on from Greenway, they could slide Kendricks over to his weak-side linebacker spot and look for a thumper at middle linebacker.
I don't need 50. He'll be on the team in 2016.
Yes, I think they are aware that they went 11-5 and won the NFC North. But you do raise a good question. They have built this team through the draft and have not made a marquee signing in free agency since Greg Jennings, which, well, didn't quite work out. Since they appear to be so close to becoming a legitimate contender, will they sign a big free agent or two to try to get over the hump? I don't have the answer to that question right now, but it's something to think about.
I assume you are referring to Terence Newman. I thought he played pretty well this year, which suggests he can probably hang around in the league for at least another year or two. Zimmer has talked about how he could see Newman shifting to safety for the final couple years of his career. I advocated for them giving him an extended look there late in the season, but believe it or not I don't have much sway in personnel decisions here. I think it makes sense to bring Newman back and see where he fits in. I think Newman would be receptive to remaining with Zimmer.
I think it is going to look different. I could see maybe two or three new starters. A lot of those linemen are going to be back, but the Vikings seem serious about bringing in legit competition. I think they have to. It was their glaring need last offseason and they ignored it. As a result, we didn't see Teddy Bridgewater take a big step forward this season.
It all depends on who is on the board at pick No. 23 and what happened in free agency, but if the draft were today, I would be hoping that an impact wide receiver or good offensive line prospect was on the board when the Vikings were on the clock. I don't think you need a first-round pick to find a solid second safety.
Possibly. It would make more sense to do it with a younger guy like that who will be getting his second contract. Then you move on from Kalil. In their long-term planning, they were operating as if Kalil was going to be a quality left tackle and kept room in their budget to pay him. So yeah, theoretically they could just give that contract to a free agent.
The player who stands out is Alshon Jeffery. He's far and away the best available wide receiver, assuming the Bears don't tag him or re-sign him. He is a big, physical downfield pass-catcher, which is exactly what this offense is lacking. Plus, he has killed the Vikings over the years, so they would weaken a rival while strengthening their team. That being said, Jeffery has proved to be injury-prone, which is probably why the Bears haven't signed him to a huge contract extension.
I think they have to. They were so reliant on Adrian last year because they played in so many close games where they needed him to carry the load. That meant that he ended up getting a ton of carries. I think they have to get McKinnon more involved next season, both as a traditional runner but also as a jet-sweep guy and as a pass-catcher out of the backfield or split out wide. He's a talent.
Mopsy, without having the numbers in front of me, he will be playing under the fifth-year option that the Vikings exercised last offseason. Since 2012, teams have been able to keep first-round picks an extra year with that. It is only guaranteed for injury, not for skill, which means they could cut him now without out any repercussions. I think his cap number is around $10 million, which is high.
He's under contract, so I'm sure he will be around in camp to compete for a roster spot.
He played much better this year, yes. Less freelancing. He has one year left on his contract.
It has been their M.O. to sign mid-tier free agents. But a case can be made for making a splashy signing given how close the Vikings are to becoming legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
As I said earlier in the chat, I do think the Vikings need to bring in a receiver with size. Charles Johnson is their biggest wide receiver, and he's 6-foot-2.
Achilles' tears are tough to come back from, especially when you are 30 and weigh 330-plus pounds. My guess is he will be a cap casualty, unless he agrees to a restructure.
He is under contract through 2017 with what amounts to team options every year.
Based on what Peterson said after the season, it sounds like that is the direction the Vikings want to go, yes.
I think Kendricks could be the replacement for Greenway and Kendricks and Barr would be the linebackers in the nickel. That means the Vikings would need a middle-linebacker who can come in and stop the run for about 40-50 percent of the snaps. Not a huge priority, IMO.
I can't say for sure if he will be improved, but deep ball accuracy is the biggest flaw in his game.
I have a feeling I'm going to get this question a lot, especially because many of these questions were submitted before the chat started. For the answer to this one, please scroll back in the chat.