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Bleacher Report – Vikings

7 moves the Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t make this offseason

By Matthew Coller

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For teams desperate to make a playoff run in their “window to win,” the offseason is often a time where huge mistakes are made. Contrary to what might work in Madden, spending big in NFL free agency doesn’t exactly equate to winning.

Warren Sharp of the website Outkick the Coverage made this chart showing that being No. 1 in the offseason doesn’t mean you’ll hold the Lombardi Trophy at the end.

With all sorts of cap flexibility and a number of needs, the Minnesota Vikings are at risk of throwing money in the wrong places and making errors that could prove costly down the line.

Free agency mistakes aren’t the only kind that can sink a team. Keeping the wrong players, drafting the wrong positions or undervaluing assets can all be the difference between a playoff run and sitting at home in January.

With that said, let’s have a look at some of the potentially-detrimental moves the Vikings should avoid (H/T to Turn on the Jets blog for the idea):

Re-signing Adrian Peterson

As we count down to the deadline for the Vikings to cut Peterson before his roster bonus kicks in, the future Hall of Fame running back and the team are both posturing in the media, with A.P. shouting out names of teams he might join and reports coming that he shouldn’t expect big money. Even if the price is $500,000, the Vikings should move on. Not just because Peterson is 32, but he also doesn’t fit in an offense that requires running backs to double as receivers. His need to be the centerpiece of the Vikings’ offense could be distracting to a team ready to make Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen its stars.

Extending Sam Bradford’s contract

Bradford is coming off the best year of his career and the Vikings are expecting even more next season, assuming they can add some semblance of a running game and a few offensive linemen to protect him. Now that he’s had back-to-back healthy seasons and some continuity, the former No. 1 overall pick will see his career take off. Or maybe he will regress. Over the larger sample, he has been a below average quarterback – excuses about team quality etc. aside. It would be a huge risk to put all eggs into the Bradford basket without a proper sample. There is also the fact that Teddy Bridgewater could recover and be healthy for 2018. Washington let Kirk Cousins play out his free agency year and the Vikings should do the same with Bradford.

Signing a long-shot offensive linemen

Offensive linemen are like furniture: You get what you pay for. Last year, the Vikings signed a high-risk tackle for cheap and the move blew up in their face. Andre Smith played just 182 snaps and performed very poorly in that period. This time around, the front office shouldn’t bother with older players like Ryan Clady who have been released or former high draft picks who have struggled like Mike Adams. Reliability is needed up front in 2017.

Re-signing Matt Kalil to a long-term contract

Last offseason, Russell Okung signed a five-year contract worth $53 million with the Denver Broncos with no guaranteed money, allowing the team to walk away whenever they pleased. That type of deal might be attractive to the Vikings if they are interested in bringing Kalil back. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be one of the top options to fill the left tackle position. Kalil’s performance dropped off significantly after his rookie year and never recovered. Even if he is fully healthy for the first time in awhile, there is no guarantee that the former No. 4 overall pick will ever perform at even an average level again.

Paying Tavon Austin money to Cordarrelle Patterson

Tavon Austin signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension with the Rams in 2016 with $28.5 million in total guarantees, making him one of the highest paid receivers in the league. There are quite a few similarities between Austin and Patterson in their respective stat lines, which could lead the Patterson camp to seek out a similar contract. Maybe someone will pay him that type of money, but it shouldn’t be the Vikings. While Patterson showed his playmaking ability last year and could be used in even more unique ways next season, his limitations make him replaceable in free agency or the draft.

Cutting Sharrif Floyd

Not unless you’ve got a better plan. Floyd’s injury history has clearly been annoying to head coach Mike Zimmer, but it isn’t easy to find a defensive tackle that can stuff the run and pressure the quarterback as well as Floyd does. Releasing the 25 year old would create $6.75 million in cap space, but it would also create a big hole to fill. His ceiling is so high that the Vikings should let his deal play out this year and decide next offseason whether to offer him a long-term contract. One key to the Floyd conversation: The Vikings must find a backup who has the capability to play full time, just in case Floyd gets hurt again.

Drafting a guard or tackle to start

Many teams have found long-term starting guards and tackles in the second round or later, but rarely are they exceptional in their rookie seasons. Yes, the Vikings should be thinking about the long term future of their offensive line, but expecting a young player to successfully make the jump is a big ask in a win-now season. Picking a guard or tackle in the second round would be a fine idea, but the Vikings better have other starting options already in mind if they want to successfully improve the O-line next year.

The post 7 moves the Minnesota Vikings shouldn’t make this offseason appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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