News | Minnesota Vikings – vikings.com

Presented by

Lunchbreak: 4 Vikings Land on PFF's Rankings of Top Potential Free Agents

The NFL's new league year opens in exactly four weeks, as the official 2020 season gets underway at 3 p.m. (CT) on March 18.

At that time, all teams must be under the salary cap, and players whose contracts are set to expire will also become free agents.

While it remains to be seen what roster moves the Vikings will make in the next month, the team does have a dozen-plus players who could potentially become free agents on the afternoon of March 18.

Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo of the analytics website Pro Football Focus recently took a look at the rosters of each team and compiled the 100 best free agents who could be available in 2020, with four Vikings landing on the list.

Anthony Harris was the highest-ranked Viking, as the safety came in at No. 8 on PFF's list.

One of the league's most underrated players, Harris has been a playmaker on the back end of the Minnesota defense since seeing extended playing time in 2018. Harris has the top regular-season coverage grade among safeties at 91.6 after ranking sixth last season.

He's played the majority of his snaps at free safety, but this season has seen him play about 40% of his snaps in the box or over the slot, showing that he can play a more versatile role in a defense. Harris has nine interceptions and seven pass breakups over the last two years, all while missing just four of his 100 tackle attempts. Playmaking, sure-tackling safeties are of immense value in the NFL, and Harris has shown both traits as much as any safety in the league over the last two seasons.

Harris had made 31 starts since joining the Vikings as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia in the spring of 2015. He has nine interceptions in that timeframe, including six in 2019, which tied for the league lead.

According to PFF's list, Harris is the top safety and the second-best defensive player available.

PFF had Trae Waynes ranked 45th overall, ranking him as the fourth-best cornerback who could become available.

As a former first-round draft pick, Trae Waynes hasn't become the star that the Minnesota Vikings would have been hoping for, but he has developed into a consistently viable starter who excels in the run game while showing enough glimpses of coverage ability to keep teams buying into his overall potential. Waynes has impressive speed, but he has never been able to consistently avoid getting beaten enough to rank among the better corners in the game. He's given up 16 touchdowns over the last four seasons.

Waynes was a first-round pick in 2015 out of Michigan State who has tallied seven total interceptions in 53 starts for the Vikings. A full-time starter for the past three seasons, Waynes was also one of Minnesota's top run defenders on the outside.

Cornerback Mackensie Alexander (No. 65) and safety Jayron Kearse (No. 89) were also mentioned on PFF's list.

It's worth noting that a player who is on this list might not even make it to free agency, as teams can re-sign their own players at any time.

Drew Brees, for example, is the top-ranked player on PFF's list, but the quarterback announced Tuesday that he will not retire and will play for the Saints again in 2020.

Looking at target times by position for combine drills

The eyes of the football world will be focused on Indianapolis next week as a collection of general managers, coaches, scouts and other front-office personnel will gather for the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine.

The week is long and grueling for everyone involved, including players who are looking to impress teams with their on-field workouts.

Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports recently looked at key drills that players will go through, and broke down each one by position group, too.

The majority of recent mock drafts have projected offensive tackles, defensive tackles and cornerbacks to the Vikings. For the sake of space, we will focus on the offensive line.

Trapasso noted target time for an offensive lineman in certain drills, and then researched how often recent draft prospects had hit those marks.

In the 40-yard dash, for example, Trapasso wrote the target time is 5.20 seconds. He noted that over the past three years, 41 of 115 (35.6 percent) participants in this drill timed faster than the threshold.

Trapasso also wrote that 57 of 110 (56.2 percent) participants bested the target time of 7.85 seconds in the three-cone drill, while 77 of 119 (64.7 percent) participants met the mark of 102 inches [8 feet, 6 inches] in the broad jump.

Trapasso noted that while the offensive line drills don't get as much buzz or fanfare as the skill positions, they still give teams a strong idea of a player will fare going forward.

Trapasso wrote:

It's easy and seemingly logical to completely overlook offensive linemen's workouts at the combine. While one drill doesn't necessarily stand out at this position, the workouts as a whole paint a pretty vivid picture of how athletic a blocker is, and just like any other non-QB spot on the field, the best players tend to be the best athletes.

This is a loaded offensive tackle class, and the interior position isn't nearly as top-heavy or deep. It will be interesting to see how gargantuan blockers like Louisville's Mekhi Becton and Georgia's Isaiah Wilson compared to some of the "smaller" tackles and if an under-the-radar guard or center jump into the Day 2 conversation with an impressive showing (potentially Charlotte's Cameron Clark or TCU's Cordel Iwuagwu).

Trapasso's breakdown on drills for each position can be found here.

Advertising