The Minnesota Vikings had a remarkable season, and stunned most by qualifying for the playoffs, but they have been eliminated by the Green Bay Packers. This article is a look at what is next on their agenda…
Head coach Leslie Frazier is signed through the 2013 season, but word is that an extension is en route. The Vikings are 16-23 under Frazier (0-1 in playoffs) and despite a pedestrian (if not downright poor) roster he has improved their play annually.
Money is available for the 2013 Vikings. In fact they may even need to spend some bucks to get up to the NFL Salary Cap floor which is something that makes its debut in 2013. It looks like Minny could have anywhere in the 20′s (millions) to spend this off-season.
Their defense was ranked #11 overall vs the run this season, but that is one area where they could lose a valuable contributor as Erin Henderson is a free-agent.
This team was just #24 overall vs the pass so we know they will look to draft/add players to their secondary, but they will have in-house decisions for that defense first.
In 2013 the Vikings will play the Washington Redskins (#1 running game in the NFL this season) Seattle Seahawks (#3), Carolina Panthers (#9), plus they will see Ray Rice and Trent Richardson. They will also play the Pittsburgh Steelers who will be looking to get back to being a team with a legit running game. The Vikes should likely look to re-sign Henderson, plus look for depth in the free-agent market/draft as their run-D will be tested next season.
Christian Ponder is terrible. He was never going to be a legit NFL quarterback. The free-agent market for quarterbacks is as bad as I have ever seen so a replacement for him may require a trade or draft. Joe Flacco headlines the free-agent list, but there is a massive drop-off after him. Jason Campbell and Matt Moore are the next best things after Flacco (yikes). If I were Minny I would see what it would cost to trade for Alex Smith or Kirk Cousins.
I am very intrigued by what Minny will do to address their #31 ranked passing game. Jerome Simpson may be a one-and-done as he came over from the Cincinnati Bengals this season but provided very little production. He is a free-agent, as is Devin Aromashodu who is a human incomplete-pass. Aromashodu has been in the NFL for five season, the last two in Minny. As a Viking he has been targeted 106 times, but just a putrid 37 of those were caught (yikes).
With such poor in-house options to improve their passing game I would expect Minny to draft wide receivers, and in addition look to add them via free-agency. I think they will target Greg Jennings amongst others.
Clearly the Vikings running game is spoken for. Teams know Adrian Peterson is getting the ball on pretty much an every-snap basis, yet he still thrashes opposing defenses. He is wonderful, and by far their best player.