Vikings mailbag: Coordinator shuffle, free agency and more

Every Friday, Andrew Krammer answers readers' questions about the Vikings. The team spent the week evaluating its 7-9 season, and Andrew had a batch of offseason queries to address. Here's a sample.

Q: Who's the best candidate for the offensive coordinator job? Will they promote from within? Or hire someone from the outside? — @kaidahju

Considering Zimmer doesn't want much to change about the NFL's fourth-ranked offense in yardage and 11th in scoring from last year, there's a lot of speculation an internal candidate like quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu or offensive line coach Rick Dennison could replace Gary Kubiak, should he retire from coaching.Beyond Zimmer's affinity for the running game, he likes how Kubiak's passing concepts mesh with quarterback Kirk Cousins. So, the new coordinator will be expected to run the same system, and if it's an outside hire, it'd likely have to be someone familiar. Former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn's name has been thrown around because he worked with Zimmer in Dallas and played for Kubiak in Denver.

Q: How much gets blown up due to a lack of salary cap space? — @reitan77

Certainly not as much as last year's exodus. But the Vikings will need some more financial maneuvers to lower their current commitments north of $185 million for 2021. There are many ways to get under, if necessary, the NFL's 2021 salary cap floor established at $175 million. They can do it by extending players – safety Harrison Smith enters a contract year, and his $10.25 million cap figure can theoretically be lowered in a new deal. Same goes for Riley Reiff, who is on the books at $13.95 million. Tight end Kyle Rudolph's future is obscured by a rising salary and emergence of Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin. Rudolph and defensive tackle Shamar Stephen, if released, would free up about an additional $9 million. The Vikings will need the space with Zimmer's wish list including more pass rushers on defense.

You can read the rest of Andrew's mailbag here, or watch Andrew, Ben Goessling and Michael Rand answer reader inquiries on Strib Sports Live. Thank you for submitting questions this season. Keep your eyes out for opportunities to ask Vikings questions during the offseason.

More highlights from our season-ending analysis:

Ben Goessling's roster predictions: Who's in? Who's out?

Film review: How pending free agents performed

Listen: New Access Vikings podcast

Looking ahead? Here are the Vikings' 2021 opponents

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