NFL.com Writer Not Sold on the 2021 Vikings


NFL.com ”s Marc Sessler considers the 2021 Minnesota Vikings to be a “work in progress”. It is surely not a insult, but it lacks the hard-hitting punch of naming a team as a “contender” or something like that.

Instead, the Vikings are joined in the work in progress category by teams like the Detroit Lions and the Carolina Panthers – not exactly a noble company. Sessler wrote:

“Maybe I’m unfair to Mike Zimmer’s Vikings. Last year’s 7-9 outing was marked by a transition in defense. I see a team that has fallen apart against the Bucs, Bears and Saints and I ask: how have they improved? A quiet foray into free agency brought the cornerback Patrick peterson, but also the start of productive security Anthony harris. I like the Vikings situation better than Chicago, after the Bears sniffed on Wilson end up with Andy dalton at quarterback. Wideout franchisee (trapped) Allen Robinsoncan’t take a break at a club mired in a confusing team-building process.

This doesn’t mean the 2021 Vikings are destined for mediocrity or ruin, but it does infer that Minnesota isn’t as hot for others as the team might be for Vikings fans or insiders. .

Oddly enough, Sessler singularly mentioned the arrival of Patrick Peterson – and that’s it. A reader of his snippet assumes Minnesota signed a free agent and called him a good one.

It’s wrong.

Free agent additions

General manager Rick Spielman spent the first five weeks of free agency focusing on defense. It was a solo trip. Minnesota added six defensemen and no attacking free agents. These men have joined the team: Stephen Weatherly (DE), Dalvin Tomlinson (DT), Nick Vigil (LB), Patrick Peterson (CB), Mackensie Alexander (CB) and Xavier Woods (FS).

It’s almost understandable that Sessler thinks these additions are lackluster, but ignoring them altogether – suggesting instead that Peterson was a standalone signing – is slightly irresponsible.

Minnesota defense ranked 29e in the NFL via points last year, and the franchise has taken steps to address this issue. They “did nothing”.

Back to health

Spielman called Danielle Hunter, Michael Pierce, Anthony Barr, Mike Hughes and Eric Kendricks’ healthier recovery a free agency in and of itself. He’s not wrong. These men have missed 63 games combined. It is difficult to qualify the effect of their collective absence as subordinate.

Hunter is a game-changer who rushes for passes. Pierce was signed by the Baltimore Ravens to mold the race into the mold of the late Linval Joseph. Barr is a mainstay of the Vikings’ defense, leading the defense as captain and main tackle. Hughes is uncertain due to lingering injuries. And Kendricks is a first-team All-Pro.

Welcoming this huge number of players again won’t feel like an “oh by the way”. These men are the fabric of a defense – especially Hunter and Kendricks. When Kendricks was lost in the home stretch, the Vikings’ playoff hopes were also gone.

OL a work in progress

The main complaint against the Vikings during the 2021 offseason is the perceived lack of attention to the offensive line. It is more or less that.

As for the brand, the top five have struggled a lot in 2020 with pass protection, and the solution to that has yet to be announced. Mason Cole joined the team in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals for a 6e-Round project choice. But this is not a mic drop solution. So far, the offensive line is not that exciting. In fact, it should be moved like worst because Riley Reiff visited the Cincinnati Bengals. Brian O’Neill is great, Ezra Cleveland showed promise as a rookie and Garrett Bradbury is facing a pivotal season. Still, this offensive line needs two more well-known names.

The off-season is not over. Spielman still has about $ 7 million of ceiling space available – and an entire draft to use. He could trade the Ravens for Orlando Brown Jr. – an oft-rumored scenario. The top two picks in the draft could be day one starters scheduled for offensive line service. Eric Fisher, a Kansas City Chiefs left tackle, may be in the plans to protect Kirk Cousins’ blind side.

Sessler didn’t mention the offensive line in his article. This cannot be reasonably identified as an explanation for his 2021 Vikings craziness.

So Sessler is wrong, which means Vikings are indeed better than a work in progress. Or – he’s right, and it takes a stranger to judge the truth.

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