— Josh (@Luckydragon84) January 6, 2015
It all starts with the future of running back Adrian Peterson. The earliest he can be reinstated from his suspension is April 15, which would be nearly a month after free agency begins. There’s so many “ifs” with Peterson to make it a fluid situation — if he completes everything the NFL has asked for him to do to be reinstated on April 15, if he still has a desire to play for the Vikings, if the Vikings still have a desire to keep him, if the two sides agree upon either keeping his currently salary or restructuring his contract. As we’ve learned throughout this entire ordeal, I’m not going to assume anything regarding Peterson leaving or staying in the offseason, but the Vikings would definitely become a better team with his services next year.
The second biggest concern is the offensive line. The Vikings will get right guard Brandon Fusco and right tackle Phil Loadholt back from injury, but they’ll need to work on quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s blind side. Maybe unrestricted free agents Mike Lupati and Orlando Franklin could be immediately options to start at left guard for the Vikings, but I’d also look to bring a veteran to compete with Matt Kalil at left tackle. He needs competition at the position in training camp.
Finally, I’d look for multiple upgrades at linebacker. It’s a fairly young group with Jasper Brinkley slated to become an unrestricted free agent and the uncertainty surrounding Chad Greenway’s future with an $8.8 million cap hit in the final year of his deal. Someone like Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga, who is an unrestricted free agent. It could be appealing for Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, who has worked with Maualuga before serving as the Bengals defensive coordinator.
— Nick Robinson (@RobinsoNick2013) January 6, 2015
Well, there are a lot of big names at wide receiver that are expected to become free agents in the offseason. Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Jeremy Maclin and Michael Crabtree are among the top names available, but I can’t see the Vikings making a run at those guys. If they do, it would mean they’ve given up on Cordarelle Patterson. That doesn’t appear to be the case yet. They’re lacking a true No. 1 receiver, but I don’t think the Vikings need to hand out blank checks to these big names considering how Bridgewater showed the ability to make everyone around him better. They could use another veteran though, along with Greg Jennings. (I just teed up every comment to be about Larry Fitzgerald with that last sentence.)
— Ligeia H. (@LAHfreya23) January 6, 2015
I don’t think the Vikings will have three quarterbacks on the roster next season. Bridgewater is the starting quarterback, while Matt Cassel will be a capable backup option if Bridgewater gets hurt. The NFL expanded practice squad rosters last year, so it’s likely that the Vikings will just keep a third quarterback on the practice squad and use the extra roster spot for depth at another position.
— Harut (@Harut728) January 6, 2015
I’m not sure whether he’ll receive a pay cut, which could be justified, but I don’t see the Vikings parting ways with Robison. The 31-year-old had a dip in production during his first season in Zimmer’s defense that emphasized on stopping the run, but I think Robison still carries enough value on the field and in the locker room to bring him back. I do think the Vikings will need to find a better veteran backup than Corey Wootton, however. That’d be the only change I’d make at defensive end.