Skip to main content
Publish date:

5 takeaways from the Vikings' first week of free agency

The Vikings went an overhaul in just one week on the open market.
Mike Zimmer

With rumors of a full roster purge circulating and a team salary pushing the limits of the salary cap, it was almost certain that the 2020 version of the Vikings would look a lot different than last year's squad. It took just one week of free agency to confirm those thoughts. 

Several key cogs in the defense have left while others have been sent packing due. While there's still a large portion of the offseason left, it's a good time to look at what has changed and what it could mean in the future during a pivotal offseason in Minnesota.

The Vikings are entering a youth movement

The words rebuild and reload have been tossed around on Twitter when describing the Vikings and for good reason. After the trade that sent Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, the Vikings have 13 picks in this year's NFL Draft – the second-most selections behind the Miami Dolphins.

It remains to be seen if the Vikings will use all 13 picks or use some in leverage for a potential trade. Both would be quality decisions as this year's class is loaded at the Vikings' three biggest areas of need: wide receiver, offensive tackle, cornerback.

Mix in the acquisition of free agent nose tackle Michael Pierce and it's almost certain that this team will be a lot younger in 2020.

The Viking offense will still revolve around the run

Even with the departure of offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Zimmer has preached continuity to help Kirk Cousins reach another level to get the Vikings over the hump. Promoting Gary Kubiak to offensive coordinator was a start, but the Vikings quickly doubled down in free agency.

The Vikings gave Cousins a contract extension that locked him up until 2023. Then they gave $12 million to their fullback C.J. Ham before sending Diggs off to Buffalo.

With the news that Danielle Hunter renegotiated his contract this week, it wouldn't be shocking to see the Vikings sign Dalvin Cook to a lucrative extension to drive the point home.

Dru Samia is ready for an opportunity to start

In Zimmer's end of season press conference, he mentioned that there were several offensive linemen that didn't see the field, but improved as the 2019 season went along. A general assumption was one of those players was Samia and after cutting starting guard Josh Kline, it looks like he's ready for his NFL close up.

Samia was a fourth-round pick for the Vikings out of Oklahoma and was praised as a perfect fit for their zone-running scheme. Although Kline was decent at right guard, he reportedly refused to take a pay cut, leaving the Vikings with nearly $4 million in dead money.

For a team in a salary crunch, that's a significant number. But that's also an endorsement for Samia. If the second-year guard has a handle on the offense, the Vikings may have an upgrade on last year's line in their own back yard.

The Vikings are probably drafting a first-round corner

After releasing Xavier Rhodes, the Vikings saw Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander walk out the door, leaving them with Mike Hughes, Holton Hill and Kris Boyd on the roster.

That alone should scream that Zimmer will jump at the first cornerback he sees on the board, but in this draft, it's not exactly a bad thing.

Although Jeffrey Okudah could go in the top five, the Vikings should have a slew of big, fast and physical corners to choose from. Florida's C.J. Henderson or TCU's Jeff Gladney should be at the top of their list, but the Vikings could also double up and hope for LSU's Kristian Fulton or get another quality corner in the second round.

The tendency for Zimmer to select corners early in drafts has almost become a meme, but in their current situation, it may be the right thing to do.

Zimmer runs the show in Minnesota

Over the past year, there seems to have been signs of discontent with some players in the locker room. Diggs had his trade drama. Alexander seemed to be upset with having to play in a meaningless Week 17 game. Coaches seemed to want a bigger role and left. The seeds of chaos were being planted.

But a lot of the players who appeared to have some level of rift with Zimmer (Diggs, Alexander, Jayron Kearse) have been eliminated and the head coach is the last one standing.

Perhaps Zimmer's vision of how his team is run screams "Old Man Yells at Cloud," but it's the way he's going to do it. With a run first-team and a defense that needs to be rebuilt on the fly, Zimmer's word is the law. It just remains to be seen if it will translate into a successful offseason.

Next Up

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov gets into the holiday spirit to rout Jets

Kirill Kaprizov's four points led the Wild to a 7-1 victory.

Kirk Cousins

Coller: Cure to Vikings' disrupted season lies in an explosive passing game

The Vikings go to San Francisco knowing that a win would be a huge boost to their playoff hopes.

unsplash football helmet ground

Judge upholds star QBs suspension for state championship game

Sam Backer, of Chatfield Senior High, won't be allowed to play in Friday's title game.

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.


Anthony Barr

5 takeaways from the Vikings preseason loss to the Colts

The Vikings looked better on Saturday but still have a ways to go.

Mike Zimmer

Vikings-Panthers: 5 things you can count on happening

The Vikings will look to open things up in Carolina.

Kris Boyd

5 takeaways from the Vikings' preseason opener vs. Denver

What can the Vikings take away from their loss to the Broncos?


Offseason preview: How can the Vikings fix the offensive line?

They were better in 2019, but still need some retooling this offseason.

Kirk Cousins

5 questions for Vikings-Bears on 'Monday Night Football'

The Vikings will look to get back into the NFC playoff picture in Chicago

Rick Spielman

Coller: Vikings must tread lightly in free agency

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.