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Vikings free agency top 30 countdown, Part 3 (20-16)

By Matthew Coller

With nearly $60 million in salary cap space, the Minnesota Vikings could be active in free agency this year. In the weeks leading up to the free agent period beginning on March 14, we will look at the 30 best available players who would fit the Vikings’ needs.

Read part 1

Read part 2

20 – Bashaud Breeland

Key stat: 75.6 passer rating when targeted

Why he fits:

At just 26 years old, Breeland is the type of player who could fill a starting spot playing nickel corner and continue to improve. Last year was his best in coverage by QB rating against, completion percentage allowed (49.3%) and passes defended (19). His experience playing both nickel and outside corner would give the Vikings a little more versatility if they were forced to shuffled the DBs due to an injury.

19 – Kyle Williams

Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Kyle Williams (95) against the New York Jets at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Key stat: 24 QB hurries last season

Why he fits:

If the Vikings are looking for an experienced defensive tackle to fill a hole for one year or rotate in with a rookie (or pass rush specialist like Tom Johnson), Williams might be a good fit. The 12-year veteran doesn’t have quite the pop that he did a few years ago, but he still was effective pressuring the quarterback. Cutting his snap count down from over 750 the last two years might sustain Williams’ career another year or two. He may elect to retire rather than changing teams, but he wouldn’t be the first ex-Bills defensive player to join the Vikings at the end of their career .

18 – WR, Kendall Wright

Dec 10, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Kendall Wright (13) makes a catch against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Key stat: Caught 41 of 51 passes when targeted out of the slot

Why he fits:

The Chicago Bears weren’t all that good on offenses, but Kendall Wright had a solid year, grabbing 59 passes for 614 yards. The Vikings gave opponents fits by moving Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen around from outside to the slot last season. Wright would offer another threat from the slot position to give the Vikings’ offense even more firepower. Finding a “deep threat” outside receiver did not work last year, so it’s possible they will go a different route this time around.

17 – Rex Burkhead

Aug 19, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; New England Patriots running back Rex Burkhead (34) makes a reception during the second quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Key stat: 4.3 yards per carry over the past three years, career 8.5 yards per catch

Why he fits:

Burkhead has been very effective over the last two seasons as the third wheel in a rotation. With Jerick McKinnon likely heading elsewhere, the Vikings could use a No. 3 who can be effective receiving out of the backfield and occasionally provide a burst in the running game. Burkhead can also contribute on special teams.

16 – Terence Newman

Sep 17, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Minnesota Vikings cornerback Terence Newman (23) breaks up a pass intended for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) during the second quarter of a game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Key stat: 76.7 passer rating against in 2017

Why he fits:

Age does not seem to matter to the 39-year-old cornerback – even when it comes to switching positions. Newman moved from outside to slot this season and even played a handful of plays at safety. He was largely effective, even ranking 11th in the PFF stat Run Stop Percentage. At 40, it might make sense to have Newman play a DB role, mixing in situationally with another free agent signing or draft pick.

The post Vikings free agency top 30 countdown, Part 3 (20-16) appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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