Minnesota has had an interesting offseason, to say the least. They have traded or lost many of their veteran starters and didn’t acquire much veteran help to replace them. They are preparing to move forward with their younger players. The Future is now in Minnesota.
Free Agency Recap
As stated earlier, there are many players on the team that is going to need to prove their worth and show they can be an NFL starter. A big name is a familiar one in Adam Thielen. Thielen has proven to be a starter, despite being an undrafted free agent. Number 19 is the obvious number one receiver and will be looking to show he doesn’t need his partner in crime Stefon Diggs to get the job done. Thielen will no doubt prove he can handle any defender thrown at him.
All Vikings fans are desperate for Mike Hughes to take the next step. The former 1st round pick had a promising start to his career, but it was unfortunately cut short after he tore his ACL in week 6 of his rookie season. Hughes seemed to get beat last year in one on one matchups. That could be due to him not being fully recovered and with another offseason, he could become the Vikings number one corner. Only the future will tell if Minnesota wasted another 1st round pick…aka Laquon Treadwell.
Ifeadi Odenigbo took Minnesota fans by storm last year after his 56-yard touchdown after recovering a fumble. Odenigbo is a defensive end who Minnesota let go and thankfully got back before last season. We didn’t get to see much of Odenigbo, but what we saw was potential, and lots of it. With Everson Griffen becoming a free agent, Odenigbo has a chance to take over and make a name for himself.
Hercules Mata’afa is another name to look out for. The young defensive tackle has shown flashes of promise in his short playing time. With the addition of Michael Pierce in the trenches, Minnesota needs another player to count on. Shemar Stephan proved he is an average player who lacks on putting pressure on the QB. Mata’afa recently noted he put on some serious weight/muscle and now weighs 289 pounds. He was not taken seriously as he was too small to be a tackle, but with the recent weight gain, he could be the future player Minnesota needs to help Pierce in the trenches.
Tajae Sharpe is a fresh face in Minnesota. The fifth-year receiver joined the Vikings looking to prove himself and show his potential. Sharpe and Bisi Johnson will be competing for the number 3 and 2 spot. I believe Minnesota will be looking to the draft to get another receiver to be the number 2 spot.
Holton Hill has yet to prove why he is on the 53 man roster. Joining the team as an undrafted free agent in 2018, not much was expected of Hill. Standing at 6ft 2 and weighing 196 pounds, Hill is an average size corner who has decent speed. Hill has one recorded interception from his rookie year and he had fans intrigued by his play, unfortunately, ran into trouble before last season and got suspended for the first 8 games. Hill never received the chance to prove himself last season due to being so low on the depth chart. This season, Hill has a chance to finally prove himself due to him and Hughes being the only corners on the team.
With these new and familiar faces, Minnesota fans should be excited to start the new season. We have seen many loved faces leave, but that is not always a bad thing. The Vikings are trying to accomplish a quick rebuild and if they manage to achieve some decent young talent in the draft, they can do just that.
Minnesota has found themselves closing in on the NFL draft in a different position than they thought they would be just over a month ago. They have managed to get 12 picks due to three compensatory picks and three more from Buffalo due to the Stefon Diggs trade. Minnesota gets the 22nd and 25th pick in the first round and fans are excited (and nervous) to see what they do with the pair of picks.
Minnesota once had arguably the most feared defense in the league. That all changed after 2017. They are lacking in a few positions and if they want to get back on top, they will have to make some hard decisions in the draft.
Minnesota once had a top cornerback unit. Rhodes closed and Trae Waynes put fear into opposing players. Rhodes was a shutdown corner who took on the best of the best and made them seem human. While Rhodes did his job, Waynes took care of the number 2 receiver with ease. You never had to worry about teams picking up huge chunks of yards through the air. Now with Mike Hughes being the top guy, people have to be worried where this unit will stand in the future. Minnesota will be looking to take a big body corner in this year’s draft.
Read why the Vikings should draft Justin Jefferson here
The offensive line has always been a glaring need in Minnesota. This season is no different. With the release of Josh Kline, the only linemen worth noting is Brian O’Neill and Garret Bradbury. O’Neill has proven to be a top offensive lineman and is still growing in his potential. Bradbury is only heading into his second year, but he showed promise his rookie year and should be an even more improved version of himself.
Pat Elflein has proven to be a disappointment. Elflein was once thought to be the next future for Minnesota. He is a big tough guy and once moved back to his natural spot at guard, he was supposed to be alive more than ever. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Game after game Elflein is pushed around and got penalty after penalty. This season will be a prove-it year for Elflein or he might not be dressing in the purple and gold next season.
Minnesota will need to find major success in the draft to pull off their quick rebuild. They will be a young team next year that is pulled by their veteran players. Mike Zimmer and Gary Kubiak are great experienced coaches. If your team is made up of young players, they are the best coaches to have out there training in the rookies to reach their full potential. Let’s see how they pull this one off! The future is now! SKOL!
Writer on the Minnesota Vikings and writer for timeskewed.com. Professional Music instructor.