The Minnesota Vikings haven’t yet made it official, but by all reports they are well on their way to signing quarterback Kirk Cousins to a three-year contract. Once the ink is dry and the introductory press conference is over, the Vikings will still have work to do. Here’s what’s next:
Make a decision on Latavius Murray
Murray is set to carry a $6.3 million cap hit in 2018, but the Vikings can release him with only $1.2 dead cap money. With Dalvin Cook very likely to take back the No. 1 running back spot, there isn’t much reason for the Vikings to pay that much for a No. 2. However, Murray was a quality running back last season and Cook is coming off an ACL tear, so it would make sense to find a way to keep him around. Restructuring his contract would make the most sense. If he does not want to redo the deal, the Vikings might have to let him go and then look to other RBs on the market or in the draft.
Sign a proven nickel corner
The Star Tribune reported the Vikings have interest in Bears CB Bryce Callahan, a restricted free agent. That indicates that they will be on the hunt for a nickel corner to replace Terence Newman. The door may still be open for Newman to return, but possibly more as a rotational player. Former second-round pick Mackensie Alexander played well in limited duty last year, but lost the job to Newman in camp, which could force the Vikings to hesitate about giving him a full-time role. There are plenty of good nickel corners on the market including Patrick Robinson of the Eagles, Washington’s Bashaud Breeland and Nickel Robey-Coleman of the Rams.
Add another playmaker
The market’s top wide receivers and tight ends are starting to find homes – and not at a cheap price. Philadelphia’s Trey Burton signed a four-year, $32 million contract with the Chicago Bears and Seattle receiver Paul Richardson nabbed a five-year, $40 million contract. Players like Atlanta’s Taylor Gabriel or former Cincinnati tight end Tyler Eifert may be much cheaper options. With Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in place, the Vikings don’t have to be desperate, but they should aim to find the role player that was missing on last year’s offense. The Vikings signed Michael Floyd and drafted two receivers, but neither Floyd, Rodney Adams or Stacy Coley had much impact.
Draft offensive line
There are some excellent guards on the free agent market, but it’s going to be difficult for the Vikings to sign the likes of Justin Pugh after they dolled out top dollar for Cousins. Luckily for Minnesota, this year’s guard class is especially strong. Players like Will Hernandez from UTEP and Isaiah Wynn of Georgia could be available at the bottom of the first round. Several tackles could be there at No. 30 as well if the Vikings plan to move Mike Remmers to guard. There remains the chance the Vikings could bring back Joe Berger, who was solid right guard last year.