The Minnesota Vikings, along with the rest of the league, essentially have all of their pieces in place for the 2018 season after the completion of the NFL Draft and the free agent frenzy that kicked off when the new league year began in mid-March. One NFL analyst believes that this could be one of the most wide open seasons in terms of championship contenders that we have ever seen.
NFL.com's Eliot Harrison put out his most recent batch of power rankings following the draft and actually bumped down the Vikings a bit, though it was not really a fault of their own. He just feels strongly about the Los Angeles Rams, who had their own crazy offseason and jumped up four spots, which is what pushed the Patriots, Jaguars, Vikings and Saints all down a single spot, respectively. The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles come in at the top spot on the list.
The Vikings have had one of the busiest offseasons in the NFL and it began before most did. Staring down a quarterback decision following a season that saw a breakout in Case Keenumand two other starting-caliber players in Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater, they elected to let each man walk out of the Twin Cities without a contract and make a run at Kirk Cousins. Cousins would sign a deal for a fully-guaranteed $84 million over three seasons, which makes him the highest-paid player in the NFL and gives them stability at the quarterback position for the first time in a long time.
The quarterback storyline did not end there, however, as the team also traded for a former starter in Trevor Siemian to be the backup to Cousins and battle it out with Kyle Sloter for depth chart positioning.
Minnesota was not done making a big splash, however, as they would also search for a much-needed upgrade on the league's No. 1 defense. They were able to find it in the form of defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a former Pro Bowler that agreed to a one-year deal to play next to Linval Joseph up front in hopes to compete for a Super Bowl and then cash in during free agency next offseason. Sticking to the theme of defense, Terence Newman is also back on a one-year deal as the elder statesman of the Vikings' cornerback room.
The Vikings also agreed to contracts with a pair of wide receivers in Kendall Wright and Tavarres King and made a depth signing on the offensive line in Tom Compton, who is expected to compete for a spot at guard.
The NFL Draft was another big boost to the team's depth and they were able to address the few holes that they did have with the selection of cornerback Mike Hughes out of UCF, offensive tackle Brian O'Neill and Ohio State defensive lineman Jalyn Holmes, among other picks and a class of 17 undrafted free agents, joining the mix.
The team is now in its offseason program to put the finishing touches on the roster heading into training camp, which is set to open up in late July. The preseason opener comes against the Denver Broncos on Aug. 11.