Bucky Brooks Gives Vikings 2015 Rookie Class an ‘A’
In preparation for the 2016 NFL Combine, NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks handed out letter grades to each of the NFC North teams’ rookie classes. Brooks gave the Vikings an “A” grade, saying the following:
[Vikings Head] Coach Mike Zimmer has engineered a quick turnaround in Minnesota behind a homegrown group of players who have developed rapidly under the gruff taskmaster. He worked his magic with 2014 rookies
Brooks went on to speculate the types of players that Minnesota could look at for the 2016 NFL Draft. The Vikings have the 23rd pick in the first round. Brooks called the Vikings a “team that looks like a rock-solid contender.” He wrote:
Finding help for Bridgewater in the passing game could prompt the team to spend more time studying the likes of Mississippi's Laquon Treadwell, Baylor's Corey Coleman, Ohio State's Mike Thomas and Pittsburgh's Tyler Boyd as WR1 options. The team also could explore the running back market to see if there's a big-bodied runner capable of stepping in for
Brooks also graded the Packers highly, giving them an A-minus. The Bears and Lions received “B” and “C” grades, respectively.
Review of 2015 defensive line
As part of his offseason review, Star Tribune writer Matt Vensel recapped the Vikings defensive line and assessed where the unit stands heading into 2016. As a group, the defensive line totaled 30 sacks during the 2015 season and proved a strong area for the Vikings.
Vensel wrote that nose tackle
While defensive end
Next to Joseph on the inside, both
Vensel also gave kudos to veteran defensive end
The Vikings are in good shape here, but they could look to bolster their depth in the draft, especially at nose tackle.
Will the Vikings place a franchise tag in 2016?
Starting today, NFL teams can use their franchise tag designation on a pending free agent to essentially limit that player from hitting the open market. The window for franchise tag placement goes through March 1.
As Viking Update writer John Holler explains, the franchise tag player is guaranteed to receive a salary of the top five players at his position, or 120 percent of his current salary – whichever number is higher. Players can be identified as “exclusive” or “non-exclusive,” the latter being free to negotiate with other teams and sign an offer sheet that his current team can then match.
If his current team doesn’t match it, the signing team must give up two first-round draft picks as compensation, something that has never been done in the history of the salary cap era because of the value associated with first-round draft picks.
There is also the transition tag, which pays a player the average of the top 10 salaries at his position and if another teams signs that player to an offer sheet, the original team has the right match the offer, but receives no compensation if that player signs with another team.
Holler pointed out that, because the franchise tag delays the player’s chances for a signing bonus and perks of a long-term contract, it’s not a move teams make flippantly. Holler speculated it’s not a move the Vikings will jump on.
With the franchise tag established in 1993, the Minnesota Vikings have made a point to avoid getting players into a contract squabble by placing the franchise tag on him. The Vikings have only done it twice in the 23 years of the tag system, on tight end Jim Kleinsasser in 2003 and linebacker