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3 free agents the Vikings could sign instead of Kirk Cousins

Signing Cousins will limit Minnesota's flexibility in free agency.
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Kirk Cousins is the talk of NFL free agency, and with the Vikings' roster featuring three quarterbacks – Case Keenum, Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Bradford – all about to become unrestricted free agents, it makes perfect sense to consider Cousins as a viable option in Minnesota. 

But according to ESPN's Bill Barnwell, it won't be surprising if Cousins rakes in $90+ million in the first three of years of wherever he signs – and that's not including a likely massive guaranteed signing bonus (Alex Smith's reported deal with Washington includes $71 million in guarantees). 

The Vikings could get into a bidding war for Cousins with other potential suitors, including teams like the Jaguars who have a lot of cap space and were one win from reaching the Super Bowl, or they could use their money ($56 million) on improving the offensive line and making the NFL's No. 1 defense even better. 

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Such a scenario would likely mean the Vikings bring back Teddy Bridgewater, whom could be a 10-year starter at a bare minimum price or a less mobile version of the player he was in 2015. Going with Bridgewater carries more risk, but spending less on a quarterback means the Vikings could realistically get a couple of other top free agents. Here are three that we really like. 

Andrew Norwell, guard

At just 26 years old Norwell was named an All-Pro and Pro Bowl guard for the Carolina Panthers this season. He's the best guard available and likely to command a five-year deal worth more than $60 million, according to NFL reporter Kevin Seifert

The Vikings had some issues at guard last season and those issues are only magnified with the expected retirement of right guard Joe Berger.

Nate Solder, left tackle

Solder is hitting the open market after he protects Tom Brady in Super Bowl LII. 

Minnesota looked lost at right tackle late in the season after moving Mike Remmers inside to replace injured left guard Nick Easton. That paved the way for Rashod Hill to start – and get burned routinely – at right tackle. Signing Solder would give the Vikings the ability to move Riley Reiff back to the right side while keeping Remmers inside as a guard.

From left to right, the Vikings offensive line next season could feature Nate Solder, Nick Easton, Pat Elflein, Mike Remmers and Riley Rieff. That's tasty. 

Sheldon Richardson, defensive tackle

Remember how Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox wreaked havoc on the Vikings in the NFC title game? Cox is that rare interior lineman who can put tons of pressure on the quarterback while also dominating against the run. 

Richardson might be the closest thing to Cox in free agency, and the Vikings could use a guy like him to improve their already league-leading defense. 

According to Pro Football Focus, Richardson was the 13th most productive d-lineman in the league in pass-rush productivity, and his 36 QB pressures ranked ninth among defensive tackles this season. 

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