Thank you for submitting questions for this week’s Vikings mailbag. More questions can be sent to @Andrew_Krammer on Twitter or firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s get to it.
From @JoelStegman: With COVID-19 potentially knocking out players for multiple weeks during the season, where would the Vikings be in the most danger if a starter had to miss time due to getting the virus? (aside from QB)
AK: I’d say even with Justin Jefferson falling to No. 22 in the draft, Adam Thielen’s health feels important this season. Trading Stefon Diggs to Buffalo furthers an experience gap in the receiver room, which added the ex-Titan Tajae Sharpe in free agency. Mike Zimmer’s defense appears thinner at end, where the departures of Everson Griffen and Stephen Weatherly were replaced with Anthony Zettel and rookie D.J. Wonnum. Ifeadi Odenigbo will take another step forward, but put bubble wrap on Danielle Hunter until Sept. 13 against Green Bay.
From Elliott (email): What’s the holdup with Dalvin’s extension? And what do you expect from a market perspective?
AK: Currently, Tuesday is the deadline for Dalvin Cook to report to training camp, or risk not becoming an unrestricted free agent next spring. Cook understandably wants to be rewarded after what was really a 10-game tear atop the NFL before injuries. But the prudent move might be reporting to camp and then continuing negotiations. The most recent move to note is Derrick Henry’s four-year, $50 million deal ($12.5 million/year) in Tennessee, which had to make the Vikings happy. Henry’s deal is closer to the team’s preference than Christian McCaffery’s $16 million per year in Carolina. The Vikings can structure a Cook extension without eating a huge chunk of this year’s salary cap, but it’s also worth noting future caps are expected to shrink due to this year’s revenue shortfall. With that said, Minnesota currently has $12,231,013 in cap space, according to NFLPA data.
From @jtlaurie: Who do you see as the front runners for the starting offensive line? Any chance you think the Vikings try to swing a deal to add another player to the roster?
AK: As the roster sits now, left tackle Riley Reiff, left guard Pat Elflein, center Garrett Bradbury, right guard Dakota Dozier and right tackle Brian O’Neill. But the Vikings have seven weeks to change the roster before the scheduled season opener, and it’s possible as guards Larry Warford, Ronald Leary and Josh Kline, cut this spring for cap purposes, are still free agents.
From Ryan (email): What does your Vikings Mount Rushmore look like?
AK: Randy Moss. It has to start with the most electric player in NFL history. The 21-year-old rookie Moss had 17 touchdowns in 1998 (next closest are 12 TDs at age 21 by Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and … Mike Ditka, according to Pro Football Reference). The next obvious choice is Alan Page, the 1971 NFL MVP and first defensive player to win the award. Page has achieved even more off the field. Next is Randall McDaniel, the only Vikings player with more Pro Bowl selections than Page (9) with 11. The stalwart left guard was among the rarest of athletes and someone Vikings fans today could appreciate for holding down a vital position to near perfection. The final spot is tough, but the nod goes to Carl Eller, the other Purple People Eater in the Hall of Fame. That defense remains historically great, with three of the top four seasons in NFL history in ratio of touchdowns allowed to punts/turnovers.
From @ornelas_edward: From a fan’s perspective, it feels like Spielman and Zimmer are entering a prove-it year. Is that the same feeling in the organization? Also, If they are in a prove-it year, what would be considered a good enough year for them to be extended?
AK: Just as Zimmer and the Vikings are finalizing a multi-year contract extension this week, the safe bet is the same will happen for general manager Rick Spielman, whose contract is set to expire after 2020 without a new deal. If Zimmer signed a three-year deal, expect the same for Spielman, too, for the Wilfs to keep the organization in lockstep. But as anybody in the NFL world knows, that doesn’t mean changes can’t be made if progress isn’t continued. Spielman and the front office have had their chance to remake the roster this offseason, and now Zimmer and his coaching staff get their shot under the most unique circumstances.