It was another meh year for the Minnesota Vikings. They weren’t so bad as to be unwatchable week after week, but as their 8-9 record makes obvious, the team certainly had its problems. It was enough to prompt a coaching change. Mike Zimmer got his walking papers, and he was replaced by Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell. They brought in Kwesi Adofo-Mensah from the Browns to replace ousted general manager Rick Spielman. And with the offseason underway, the Vikings have officially begun yet another quest to unseat the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North title. That’s going to require some smart moves in free agency, so here’s a look at what the Vikings have done so far.
Vikings players added
Early on, Minnesota made a couple moves aimed at shoring up a defense ranked in among the bottom third of the league. They signed linebacker Jordan Hicks, who was cut by the Cardinals, to a two-year, $10 million deal, and added beefy run stuffer Harrison Phillips on a three-year, $19.5 million contract.
The Vikings’ biggest move of the offseason so far was the re-sign quarterback Kirk Cousins to a one-year, $35 million extension that slims his cap hit this year and keeps around through 2023.
Vikings players lost
Free safety Xavier Woods left for the Panthers after one year in Minnesota. Defensive tackle Michael Pierce went back to the Ravens, where he played from 2016 through 2019, following two years in Minnesota that included an injury-riddled season and a COVID opt-out in 2020. They also lost center Mason Cole, who left for the Steelers.
Grade so far
C: So far, it’s mostly a push for Minnesota. Their two additions are clearly aimed at shoring up the league’s 26th worst run defense last season, in terms of yards allowed. Phillips is an upgrade over Pierce, and a better fit for their new defensive scheme. Hicks is a solid starter who had 116 tackles, four sacks and seven tackles for a loss with Arizona last year.
The Vikings’ running game wasn’t very effective last season, thanks in part to Dalvin Cook missing four games with an injury, but losing Coles leaves a void they’ll have to fill. The team obviously feels second-year safety Camryn Bynum can replace Woods. They need to be right considering Minnesota was one of the worst pass defenses in the league last season. They still need help at corner.