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NFL Offseason Outlook: Vikings Have 15 Free Agents To Decide On As They Look To Rebound From Tough 2020

A season after making it to the NFC Divisional round before falling to the eventual NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, the Minnesota Vikings went backwards in their progress in 2020, going 7-9 and missing the playoffs.

Since Mike Zimmer has taken over as Vikings head coach in 2014 the team has made three playoff runs, and it seems like they are the NFL’s ‘every other season’ team – good one year, not so good the next.

They lost in the wild card round back in 2015, losing the NFC Title game to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2017, and last year lost to San Francisco in the NFC Divisional playoff game.

Now after a 7-9 season they have to again regroup, as they don’t have a ton to work with as they will enter the offseason projected to be over the salary cap by $11.628 million.

The team does have some playmakers, most notably in running back Delvin Cook, who signed a five-year contract back in September 2020 worth a reported $63 million.

Cook had his biggest season as a pro in 2020, rushing for 1557 in 14 games to go along with 16 rushing touchdowns.

Minnesota dealt unhappy receiver Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, and it seems both sides made out in the deal.

The Bills got a playmaker on offense, while the Vikings were able to find a new superstar at receiver in Justin Jefferson.

In 2020 Jefferson went over 1,400 receiving yards, a total that set rookie records in both the Super Bowl era and Vikings franchise history.

As the Vikings get set to make some tough offseason decisions, here’s a list of their free agents for 2020:

RB Ameer Abdullah, 28
WR Chad Beebe, 27
RB Mike Boone, 26
LT Dakota Dozier, 30
G Rashod HIll, 29
G Kyle Hinton, 23
C Brett Jones, 30
QB Sean Mannion, 29
LB Todd Davis, 31
S Anthony Harris, 30
S George Iloka, 31
DT Jaleel Johnson, 27
CB Chris Jones, 26
DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, 27
LB Eric Wilson, 27

Of the Vikings 15 free agents, 10 are unrestricted free agents, four are restricted free agents, and one is an exclusive rights free agent.

Offseason Outlook: There’s a couple players that right away likely won’t be a fit to return in 2021 for the Vikings, one being tight end mainstay Kyle Rudolph.

The long time Viking likely won’t be around come June 1st, that’s because the club could save $5.1 million in 2021 cap space if they cut him before that time.

Another player that many feel won’t be back is that of free safety Anthony Harris, who was slapped with the franchise tag prior to the 2020 season.

The 29-year-old didn’t pick off a pass after intercepting six passes in 2019. He did put up 104 tackles playing in all 16 games, but it would be a surprise to see him on the roster opening day.

This team could use at least one more playmaker on offense to combine with Cook, Jefferson, and spotty quarterback Kirk Cousins, who has been up and down since inking a massive deal with the Vikings prior to the 2018 season.

The Vikings will have 10 draft picks coming up in April, as they will pick 14th overall, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them use some of their top draft picks to shore up their offensive line, as well as try and improve an invisible pass rush.

In a division dominated by the Packers who have their own questions this offseason, the Vikings are due for an ‘upswing’ in 2021, but have work to do to get back to where they were just a season ago.

Written by Matt Loede

Matt has been a part of the Cleveland Sports landscape working in the media since 1994 when he graduated from broadcasting school. His coverage beats include the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Browns and Cleveland Cavaliers. He's written three books, and won the "2020 AP Sports Stringer Lifetime Service Award."

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