The Minnesota Vikings don’t have a lot of money right now to sign free agents, but the team has about nine days to clear some space before free agency begins.
It’s unclear exactly how new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will do this, but he has an array of options. First and foremost, he could trade Kirk Cousins, instantly freeing up $35 million. Adofo-Mensah could release players like Michael Pierce, Anthony Barr or Eric Kendricks. Or the team can play cap gymnastics and backload deals like Adofo-Mensah’s predecessor, Rick Spielman, who was always able to find cap space even in the darkest of situations. .
If Vikings can pull a rabbit out of a hat for ceiling space, dire roster needs exist for spending.
And perhaps the most important of potential free agent signings could finally solve Minnesota’s pass protection issues – Brandon Scherff of the Washington Commanders.
Scherff turned 30 last December and is a five-time Pro Bowler. A former teammate of Kirk Cousins, Scherff is among the best guards and offensive linemen in the NFL. What’s more, he’s already rumored to have an interest in joining the Vikings, according to a report by SKOR North this week.
There is a problem, however – especially for a cash-strapped team – as Scherff is expensive. He won’t join the Vikings on any kind of team-friendly deal. Do not even think about it.
According to Focus on professional football, Scherff is definitely an NFL Top 10 guard, and he will be rewarded as such. On the open market, Scherff is expected to command around $16-17 million per season. And ironically, that’s about how much the Vikings are more than the ceiling from March 4.
This is Scherff’s CV by PFF to note:
- 2015 : 74.6
- 2016: 77.2
- 2017: 79.8
- 2018: 72.5
- 2019: 75.4
- 2020: 84.1
- 2021: 73.6
Minnesota has selected offensive linemen ad nauseam in the last four NFL Drafts – Brian O’Neill, Garrett Bradbury, Ezra Cleveland and Christian Darrisaw. Indeed, the Vikings are the only team in the league to have spent 2nd round draft capital or higher in the last four drafts. However, here is the result for pass protection:
Minnesota also needs cornerbacks, an edge rusher, linebackers and a backup tight end in free agency and the draft. It’s not like the franchise is one “Scherff away” from Super Bowl contenders.
However, if the leadership group ultimately understood the longstanding nastiness regarding the offensive line, spending top dollar on an infallible star would formally solve the problem.
Otherwise, the new offensive coaching staff will rely on new tricks to somehow bring the current squad up to proficiency. We have already seen this film.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His YouTube channel, VikesNowdebuts in March 2022. It host a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, airing every Wednesday with Raun Saw and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Guilty pleasures listed: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, “The Sopranos” and The Doors (the band).