The work Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and the front office did this offseason continues to impress across the web.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com handed out offseason grades for each NFL team and had Minnesota high on his list.
Barnwell gave the Vikings an 'A-,' while no other NFC North team received higher than a 'B.'
Barnwell pointed to a significant amount of depth added on the offensive line as a key reason to Minnesota's strong offseason.
The Vikings were the only NFL team to start the same five players for all 16 games in 2015. All of those players are back, and veterans John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt are scheduled to come back from injuries. Minnesota also signed linemen Alex Boone and Andre Smith as free agents.
While Vikings general manager Rick Spielman didn't come away with any stars in free agency, he has built one of the league's deepest lines. Sullivan and Loadholt are both back, with Loadholt taking a pay cut to return. In addition, the Vikings signed Alex Boone away from the 49ers to start at guard before adding Andre Smith at tackle from the Bengals … With Berger also returning to the fold as a utility lineman, Minnesota goes eight-deep with useful players up front. Nobody else in the league can say that.
Barnwell also said the Vikings have an unusual amount of depth in the secondary.
Minnesota drafted cornerback Mackensie Alexander to go along with a deep stable of defensive backs on the roster.
*The Vikes can and will bring Alexander along slowly, given the depth they have at the position and Zimmer's habit (both in Cincinnati and Minnesota) of letting his cornerbacks work their way into starting roles. *
Barnwell also mentioned Spielman's third-round trade as a positive move. The Vikings sent the 86th pick of the 2016 NFL Draft to Miami for a sixth-round pick used to select tight end David Morgan this year plus 2017 third- and fourth-round selections next year.
If Miami is a league-average team and the fourth-rounder manages to be a compensatory pick (which is in the terms of the deal), the Vikings would be getting $1.89 on the dollar to make that trade. That's thievery.
Vikings lauded for 2015 draft trades
Chris Burke of *Sports Illustrated *recently took a look back at the 2015 trades surrounding the NFL draft.
The Vikings, who made three trades during last year's draft, were big winners in Burke's eyes.
Minnesota first trade sent the No. 76 pick to Kansas City for the 80th overall selection and pick No. 193, which they later used to select defensive lineman B.J. DuBose in the sixth round.
But Burke said the critical move was sending the 80th pick to Detroit in exchange for picks No. 88 and No. 143.
The Vikings used the 88th pick to nab defensive end Danielle Hunter before later selecting tight end MyCole Pruitt at No. 143. To recap, the Vikings essentially turned the 76th pick into three players.
The Lions used the 80th pick to get cornerback Alex Carter, who missed the entire 2015 season due to an injury.
Burke didn't dock the Lions because of the injury, but he did notice the immediate impact made by Hunter, who ranked second among rookies with 6.0 sacks.
Minnesota also sent the 137th pick to Atlanta for picks No. 146 and No. 185.
The Vikings used the 146th pick to get wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who led the team in catches (52) and yards (720) as a rookie last season.