Aside from some fresh faces on the coaching staff, there hasn’t been a whole lot of news out of Vikings camp since the 2018 season ended six weeks ago.
That will change soon though, as the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, free agency and the 2019 NFL Draft are all on the horizon in the next 10 weeks.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN.com is going through each division to unveil five offseason moves for each team, and landed on the Vikings and the NFC North on Thursday.
Barnwell offered up a handful of ideas of how Minnesota could navigate the next few months, starting with re-signing defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
One player I wouldn't let go of, though, is Richardson. The 28-year-old had another above-average season as an interior disruptor in his debut with the Vikings, racking up 4.5 sacks and 16 knockdowns -- second on the team behind Danielle Hunter's 19. Hunter managed an unsustainable 14.5 sacks on his 19 knockdowns, so it would be reasonable to expect some regression from him in 2019.
Richardson had 63 total tackles (according to team stats) with 11 tackles for loss in his first season in Purple. The former first-round pick signed a 1-year deal as a free agent last March.
Barnwell also suggested that the Vikings front office could tinker with the offensive line, saying that “the line is going to look a lot different in May than it does in February.”
Barnwell wrote that while the Vikings have key players in place already, they could choose to add a few new members to the line.
One of the many spring pursuits we see as Minneapolis thaws out is GM Rick Spielman reconfiguring the Vikings' offensive line, a unit that has improved and declined in almost perfect harmony with the Vikings' broader success over the past five seasons.
Let's try to narrow down the game of musical chairs. Third-year center Pat Elflein is going to stay at the pivot. Brian O'Neill, a second-round pick in 2018 who impressed at right tackle in his rookie season, is penciled in to start there again in 2019. Rashod Hill started the season at right tackle, but he's probably Minnesota's swing tackle in 2019.
Minnesota started six different starting combinations along the offensive line in 2018. The Vikings ranked 30th at 93.3 rushing yards per game and were tied for 17th with 40 sacks allowed.
Barnwell’s full list of suggested offseason moves can be found here.
Bobby Bryant to be inducted into South Carolina Football Hall of Fame
One of the best defensive backs in Vikings history will soon be recognized in a big way for his outstanding college career.
The South Carolina Football Hall of Fame recently announced that Bryant will be one five inductees for the Class of 2019. Bryant and the four other honorees will be honored at a ceremony on April 23 in Greenville, South Carolina.
Bryant, who played all 13 of his professional seasons in Purple, was a star two-sport athlete for the University of South Carolina in the mid-1960s. A seventh-round pick in 1967, Bryant ranked second in Vikings franchise history with 51 career interceptions.
The South Carolina Football Hall of Fame put out a press release highlighting Bryant’s accomplishments during his college career for the Gamecocks.
While at [South] Carolina, Bryant lettered in both football and baseball for three years and was named the ACC Athlete of the Year in 1966 and 1967 (Anthony J. McKelvin Award). Bryant still holds the record for the longest punt return in Gamecocks history with a 98-yard punt return. The New York Daily News and the Detroit Sports Extra named him to their All-American teams.
Bryant’s upcoming accolade won’t be his first. He was inducted into the University of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in 1979, and is also a member of the state of South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame. Bryant, a Georgia native, has also been inducted into the Georgia and Macon Sports Hall of Fame.
Bryant, one of 11 people to play in all four of Minnesota’s Super Bowl appearances, was named as one of the 50 Greatest Vikings in 2010. He had four career defensive touchdowns with the Vikings.