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Should Vikings search for trade options with Elliott suspended, Bills selling?

Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of U.S. Bank Stadium during the third quarter between the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Texans 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past 365 days, the Minnesota Vikings indicated that they were fully in win-now mode.

Not only did they trade a first-round pick for Sam Bradford after Teddy Bridgewater went down with a severe knee injury, the Vikings also spent big on two starting tackles, signed high-risk receiver Michael Floyd and traded up several times in the draft to pick potential starters Dalvin Cook and Pat Elflein.

Opportunity may be knocking for the Vikings to make another splash move to improve their roster.

On Friday, the NFL announced that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for six games due to a domestic violence issue over the summer.

Assuming Elliott doesn’t win his appeal, the Cowboys will be left thin at the running back position for a big chunk of the season. Dallas is still the favorite to win the NFC East, but Philadelphia, Washington and the New York Giants are all competitive teams. Losing Elliott, who rushed for 1,631 yards last season, is a huge hit. Especially when his backups are NFL washups Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris.

With the emergence of Dalvin Cook and versatility of Jerick McKinnon, the Vikings could look into whether Dallas would be willing to deal for Latavius Murray.

Not that the Vikings should be desperate to give away the 2015 Pro Bowl running back. Murray is still a terrific pass blocker who can punch the ball in at the goal line, but his value to the Vikings is diminished by Cook’s presence.

Figuring out what the Vikings could get back is tricky because they’re not desperate for draft picks – it would have to be a player-for-player swap. The Vikings could use more cornerback depth, another experienced receiver, another defensive tackle or a backup offensive lineman.

McKinnon might be more attractive to the Cowboys because he can line up in the slot and catch out of the backfield, but the Vikings should value his role in this year’s offense.

If the Vikings are purely looking to add to their roster, they might consider sifting over the Buffalo Bills’ group of veterans. The Bills made a pair of sell-everything moves on Friday by trading away receiver Sammy Watkins and cornerback Ron Darby.

The player who would best fit the Vikings’ needs is Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams.

While Tom Johnson can handle pass rushing duties from the DT spot, Williams would be a better replacement for Sharrif Floyd’s position. It appears Floyd won’t be playing any time soon. He hasn’t practiced or played since Week 1 of 2016 and reports have suggested that his career could be in jeopardy because of a mistake during knee surgery.

Guard Richie Incognito, also a Pro Bowler, could help the Vikings’ interior offensive line go from serviceable to dominant. Over his two years in Buffalo, Incognito has changed the narrative from being known as the guy who was cut for bullying to a key player on Buffalo’s strong offensive line.

Whether the Vikings could put together the right deal is questionable with their tight salary cap situation, but they should be making every phone call possible to improve a win-now roster.

  • warrian

    Murray would only be marginally better for the Cowboys than Morris, and only because of his expanded skill set. As an inside power runner, I see them as a wash. Cognito is a terrible human being. I wouldn’t spend even a fraction of any draft capital on him, but I am still open to us picking up some line help either from the street or after cut downs.

  • Chip Toof

    Maybe we could get an update on Trae Waynes instead if this hypothetical tripe.

    • Finchy74

      Nice thought but it’s no fault of Coller’s. Remember how we heard absolutely nothing about Riley Reiff’s injury? NFL teams are under no obligation to share injury info before the season.

      Or perhaps Coller should lurk in the shadows of the training room, overhearing private conversations and jotting it all down in his notepad in order to satiate your need for info on Wayne’s sore shoulder.

  • NJR

    Cowboys are fine at RB with McFadden and Morris. I am intrigued by Kyle Williams for a 6th rounder if the Bills bite.

    I agree with the other poster though, a Waynes update would be nice.

    • MarkWattsMN

      I had to laugh at the “McKinnon might be more attractive to the Cowboys” comment above.

      McKinnon has had plenty of chances to emerge as a decent back, he’s failed every time. If McKinnon was looked at as a quality player, the Vikings aren’t drafting Cook and aren’t signing Murray this offseason.

  • linus

    Sure… and if they trade Murray, the next column Coller writes will be about what a huge mistake it is to count on an unproven rookie and a guy who only averaged 3.4 yards per carry last year…

  • linus

    And I still don’t understand why Coller keeps insisting that the Vikings need to find a “replacement” for a player who was only on the field for part of one game last year.

  • Gordon Guffey

    I talked about this a month ago or more ~ Depending on how Cook looks and while I liked what I saw of him as a receiver his running wasn’t so impressive ~ Now he is learning a new offense and the OL is trying to gel and those factors do come into play ~

    Counting on McKinnon is risky at best ~ Maybe he makes it through a season and maybe he doesn’t ~ He is not 100% now nor has he made it through a whole season ~

    When I talked about trading Murray was when Sankey was making to good runs in OTA’s and at the start of TC ~ With him down and out I wouldn’t trust a CookMcKinnon combo just year ~ Not unless they fell CJ Ham has something to offer and we haven’t really seen that yet ~

    Its a risk to trade Murray now that Sankey hurt his knee ~ I haven’t seen anything on how bad it is yet ~ And even if Sankey wasn’t hurt I dont know that I would do it even though I talked about it ~ Bradford is going to need that big work horse kind of RB who is a great pass protection ~ So I think I have changed my mind ~

  • Gordon Guffey

    Vikings RB Bishop Sankey is out for the season with a torn right ACL.
    It’s not a surprise if you saw the injury live in Thursday night’s preseason opener. The NFL simply hasn’t been meant to be for the former Titans second-rounder, who never played to his college measurables in the pros. Sankey had been trying to hang on as a third- or fourth-stringer on the Vikings.
    Source: Ian Rapoport on Twitter Aug 11 – 5:24 PM

  • Lester Stkl

    vikes doomed. Speilman is the blind leading the blind. Poor Zim. Gone by game 10.

    • Wilbur One

      Zim isn’t going anywhere, but you are. Off you go to the Pessimism Hall of Shame where you’ll be encased in copper and lead after you’ve been hermetically sealed in a thousand dirty baby diapers. You’ll be mist. (Misspell intended).

  • Trade him and get Secondary help from Dallas.

  • Talltales08

    A steady OT would be nice.

  • Topgunn

    Kyle Williams is a very good player. Not sure what it would take to get him, but I think we have enough depth at DT with Jaleel Johnson and Sutton. Picking up more talent for the O-Line should be at the top of Slick Rick’s shopping list, whether thru a trade or waiver wire pickups.

  • Carl

    I heard that the Vikings were triing out a offensive lineman by the last name of Albert today.

    • Jeeves

      Fat Albert? Do buck-buck skills translate well to football?

  • Mark

    O-lIne help

  • cka2nd

    The Bills are hunting for draft picks, and Spielman only parts with them in extraordinary circumstances.

  • YonVonDuperclay

    Until the Vikings Offensive line issues get better they won’t be any better than a 500 team. Good defense/ poor offense which is expected when you hire a defensive coordinator to be your head coach.

  • Andre Esters

    D.McFadden is a dart throw, no dancing around that. But calling A.Morris washed up is straight cold-blooded, Coller. Have a heart dude, imagine how dumb he feels joining a team he was sure to be the #1 until they drafted a rookie phenom. Eerily similar deal in Minnesota with our RB’s when you think about it. As for shopping around for a CB or OL before things really get thick would be extremely wise of Slick Rick and the Vikings front office… how quick promising prospects and “depth” evaporate once things heat up…

    Not so sure about pitching RB Murray to anyone though. That would not only be a huge admission to a so-far poor investment, but that could also be considered a major disrespect pawning off a player with a bum ankle for something Minnesota obviously needs.


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