Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski is entering his 20th season with the Vikings, and maintaining Minnesota's current roster of talented players is turning out to be somewhat of a balancing act.
Brzezinski and Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman have planned ahead, as demonstrated by signing Harrison Smith, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph and Eric Kendricks to extensions over the past two years.
There are still other players on the horizon that the team hopes to retain, however.
Chip Scoggins of the *Star Tribune *wrote that Brzezinski, who has "earned a reputation in league circles as a shrewd negotiator who is skilled at tap dancing around the restraints of the salary cap," will be praised once again if he "pulls off this magic trick."
Scoggins said that Brzezinski compared the balancing act "to keeping a family budget."
"I'm you're going to spend more money on vacation this year, then there might be less money to go to the movies or other recreational things," Brzezinski told Scoggins, who wrote the following:
The Vikings are vacationing in the Maldives and Maui, which stretches the budget awfully tight. Brzezinski never tells Spielman he shouldn't pursue a player because of cost. He only lays out the cause-effect on the roster in each case.
*Brzezinski learned high-stakes business on the job, not in a textbook. *
Scoggins quoted Brzezinski who said "you're learning in the real world" when you get into the career field.
Over two decades in Minnesota, Brzezinski has helped the Vikings sign top-tier players, including most recently quarterback Kirk Cousins. Scoggins pointed out that Cousins was a "vital" signing but that the large contract "complicates the picture" in fitting all the other puzzle pieces together.
Both Spielman and Brzezinski credit the Wilf ownership for allowing them to spend to the limit.
The salary cap doesn't bend, though. And that creates a real challenge when trying to reward a large group of players who have established themselves as premier performers.
All things considered, however, Brzezinski reminded Scoggins that the challenge he currently faces is "a good problem to have."
Diggs Included on PFF's '25 Under 25' List
Stefon Diggs has proven to be a steal of a deal for the Vikings, who snagged the receiver in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.
Diggs, who will turn 25 on Nov. 29, was recently highlighted by analytics site Pro Football Focus on its list of "25 Under 25."* *
PFF's Brett Whitefield wrote the following about the lineup:
This is our opportunity to display where the future of the NFL is heading and acknowledge both the young stars of the NFL and its emerging talents. This list is based on the cumulative body of work for each player to date, factoring in grades, signature stats and team impact. In some situations, players with multiple seasons of "good" play were viewed favorably as opposed to players with a mixed bag or just one great season under their belt.
Whitefield tabbed Diggs at No. 15.
Diggs has been nothing but solid during his first three years in the NFL. In 2017, he elevated his game into "very good" territory by earning the eighth-highest wide receiver grade at 85.4 overall, which landed him on the PFF Top 101 for the first time. For a smaller receiver, Diggs sure has a knack for helping out his quarterback, leading all receivers in contested catch rate in 2017 (64.9 percent).
Diggs was the only NFC North player included on Whitefield's list.
Topping the lineup were five defensive players: DE Joey Bosa (Chargers), CB Jalen Ramsey (Jaguars) and S Landon Collins (Giants), DT DeForest Buckner (49ers) and LB Deion Jones (Falcons).