After following up a trip to the NFC Championship Game by going 8-7-1 and missing the playoffs, the Vikings will have another offseason of key decisions to ensure their 2018 season was merely a hiccup. Their offensive line will again demand attention after a subpar year, and they’ll have to determine if they have the cap space to re-sign players such as Anthony Barr and Sheldon Richardson. Here is a position-by-position, player-by-player breakdown of the 2018 team, with beat writer Ben Goessling’s educated guesses about who stays and who goes in 2019.
Kirk Cousins In
He’ll make $27.5M in the second season of his three-year, fully guaranteed deal. He’s not going anywhere; now the Vikings have to figure out how to win big with him.
Trevor Siemian In
He’ll be a free agent in March, but unless the Vikings feel confident Kyle Sloter is ready for the No. 2 job, it makes sense for them to bring Siemian back.
Kyle Sloter In
Sloter is under contract for the 2019 and doesn’t turn 25 until February. The Vikings should be looking for a step forward from their developmental QB.
Dalvin Cook In
After producing 920 all-purpose yards in 11 games, Cook can take off in Year 3 and have a breakout season in 2019. But first, he needs to stay healthy.
Mike Boone In
The Vikings could look for more from the 23-year-old, who showed flashes of being a slippery runner and receiver in 2018.
Ameer Abdullah In
He landed in Minnesota because the Vikings thought highly of him as a kick returner. If he’s back, it’ll be because of his potential to contribute on special teams.
C.J. Ham In
He’s carved out a niche for himself as a selfless blocker who can occasionally contribute out of the backfield or carry the ball in short-yardage situations.
Latavius Murray Out
Murray wants a substantive role, turns 29 later this month and will be a free agent in March. He might find a better fit elsewhere.
RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS
Stefon Diggs, WR In
Improved health led to his first 100-catch and 1,000-yard seasons. He’s still only 25, and figures to be a fixture in the offense for a long time.
Adam Thielen, WR In
There are two years left on Thielen’s contract, but will the Vikings rework it to reward him after a 113-catch season? Thielen turns 29 in August.
Aldrick Robinson, WR In
The free agent-to-be provided a nice downfield threat. He wants to be back, and should be affordable, given that he turns 31 in September.
Brandon Zylstra, WR In
The Vikings liked his upside when they signed him out of the CFL, and though he didn’t make a major contribution in Year 1, there’s room to grow in 2019.
Chad Beebe, WR In
A pleasant surprise the Vikings signed after a rookie camp tryout should return in 2019. Injuries curtailed his season after an impressive debut.
Kyle Rudolph, TE In
He’ll be back, but likely after restructuring his contract; Rudolph has a salary cap figure of $7.625 million in the final year of his deal, and turns 30 in November.
David Morgan, TE In
Morgan’s monthlong absence because of a knee injury reinforced how valuable he is as a blocker. The Vikings missed his presence.
Tyler Conklin, TE In
The Vikings talked to the Rams about Tyler Higbee before last season, in their search for an athletic tight end. Conklin, a rookie this year, could grow into the role.
Laquon Treadwell, WR Out
The Vikings would absorb $2.5 million in dead money, and save only $600K, by cutting him, but it might be time for a fresh start for the 2016 first-round pick.
Riley Reiff, T In
Nagging injuries contributed to a disappointing season. He turned 30 in December, and carries a cap figure of $11.4 million, but left tackles are hard to find.
Pat Elflein, C In
Elflein missed the first three games and often struggled against top-end tackles. The Vikings need him healthy enough to get stronger this offseason.
Brian O’Neill, T In
Showed flashes as a rookie in 2018. Talk of moving the second-round pick to the left side should wait until O’Neill shows more consistency.
Rashod Hill, T In
The question will be whether the Vikings decide he’s worth a right-of-first-refusal tender, which figures to be north of $2 million.
Danny Isidora, G In
He worked at center at the end of the preseason and could find himself there in 2019, as a backup to Elflein who can also play guard.
Aviante Collins, T In
If he recovers from the elbow surgery he had in September, he could return as an athletic young tackle that should continue to develop.
Nick Easton, G In
The Vikings will have a tough call here, as Easton hits free agency after surgery to repair a bulging disc in his neck in August.
Mike Remmers, G Out
With O’Neill asserting himself, Remmers likely wouldn’t bump back out to tackle. He turns 30 in April, and the Vikings would save $4.55 million by cutting him.
Tom Compton, G Out
The Vikings signed the Rosemount native to be a swing lineman, not their starting left guard. Compton struggled in that role and will be a free agent in March.
Danielle Hunter, DE In
He’ll play on the first season of the five-year, $72 million deal he signed last spring, after posting a career-high 14 ½ sacks.
Everson Griffen, DE In
It’s a cold business, and if Griffen is back, the Vikings could try to restructure his deal to clear several million of cap room. Griffen will be 32 in December.
Linval Joseph, DT In
The behemoth nose tackle remains a force as he heads into his age-31 season. He’ll carry a $10.7 million cap number in the first season of the four-year extension.
Sheldon Richardson, DT In
It could come down to a decision between Richardson and Anthony Barr, as the Vikings try to figure out if they can squeeze in one more long-term contract.
Stephen Weatherly, DE In
He’ll play in the final season of his rookie deal, after posting a career-high three sacks in 2018 and filling in capably at left end while Griffen was out.
Tashawn Bower, DE In
It’ll be an important year for the former undrafted free agent, who battled some injuries and lost out to Weatherly for playing time.
Jaleel Johnson, DT In
With Joseph turning 31 this fall, the Vikings could try to get Johnson, their third-year man from Iowa, into a larger workload.
Jalyn Holmes, DE In
The rookie had a sack in five games last season; he could battle with Bower for more playing time at defensive end.
Tom Johnson, DT In
He turns 35 in September, but the Vikings love him and he still contributes enough as an inside pass rusher to come back on a new deal.
Eric Kendricks, ILB In
Kendricks led the Vikings with 108 tackles despite missing two games. He’ll count for $6.6 million against the cap while starting his new five-year deal.
Eric Wilson, OLB In
The former undrafted free agent had a pair of sacks in four starts this season. He could play a bigger role in 2019, especially if Anthony Barr is gone.
Ben Gedeon, ILB In
He’s not flashy, and he mostly plays in the base defense, but the sturdy linebacker figures to be back in a similar role for his third season.
Kentrell Brothers, ILB In
Brothers has made his mark on special teams during his first three years in Minnesota; he’ll be in the final season of his rookie deal in 2019.
Devante Downs, OLB In
Lightly used as a rookie, the seventh-round pick will likely have to fight for a roster spot against another addition to the position group this spring.
Anthony Barr, OLB Out
It’ll be hard for the Vikings to sign both Barr and Richardson, with enough room to take care of their other needs, and Barr could price himself out of the Vikings’ range.
Xavier Rhodes, CB In
Injuries, penalties and some shaky performances contributed to a subpar year. Rhodes will look to bounce back while counting for $13.4 million against the cap.
Trae Waynes, CB In
He’d make $9.069 million on his fifth-year option, but Waynes figures to be back with one more shot to show he’s worth a long-term deal.
Harrison Smith, S In
Smith, who turns 30 next month, remains the gold standard at his position, after a three-sack, three-interception season that sent him to another Pro Bowl.
Anthony Harris, S In
The Vikings will have to place a tender on the restricted free agent; a second-round tender worth more than $3 million could secure his services after a strong season.
Mackensie Alexander, CB In
Alexander still had some rough moments in coverage, but he showed steady improvement as a cover corner and posted four sacks. He’ll be a FA after 2019.
Mike Hughes, CB In
The first-round pick will try to make a speedy recovery from the torn left ACL. If he is back in time for the season, he could be a big factor on defense and special teams.
Holton Hill, CB In
Hill could be among the players that make the Vikings feel comfortable enough to eventually part ways with Waynes, if they decide he’s too expensive.
Craig James, CB In
He was elevated to the active roster at the end of the season and would only cost $570,000 to keep on the roster in 2019.
Marcus Sherels, CB In
It would take Sherels’ ninth contract in Minnesota to return for a 10th season, but his continued reliability as a punt returner should bring him back.
Jayron Kearse, S In
The 6-4 safety beat out George Iloka for a role in the Vikings’ big nickel page, and he should get more opportunities after earning Zimmer’s trust in 2017.
George Iloka, S Out
Iloka largely disappeared after a coverage mistake got him benched against the Saints on Oct. 28. He’s a free agent who figures to move on.
Andrew Sendejo, S Out
Age, injuries and a style of play that’s become disfavored in the modern NFL make it tough to see Sendejo, who turns 32 this year, back on a $5.5M team option.
Dan Bailey, K In
Bailey missed seven field-goal attempts in his first 10 games with the team. But he made his last five of the season, and only missed one extra point.
Matt Wile, P In
Wile turned in a solid season, ranking 10th in the league in net punting yards. He’s likely to return as an exclusive rights free agent.
Kevin McDermott, LS In
He’s signed for two more years and should return for the 2019 season on a deal that counts for $960,000 against the salary cap.