The hope for every NFL team is that the moves they make in the spring pay off during the fall.
The Vikings certainly endured the annual revolving door of the offseason by adding players in free agency and watching others leave, while also bringing in new coaches and a dozen draft picks.
A panel of ESPN writers recently went through the most underrated moves from the 2019 offseason, and two of them had ties to the Vikings.
ESPN NFL writer Mike Sando wrote that the addition of Gary Kubiak to the coaching staff should help improve Minnesota’s offensive output.
Denver subsequently hired difference-making offensive line coach Mike Munchak to maximize big investments up front. Kubiak landed with the Minnesota Vikings, where his schematic influence could help them maximize their investment in Kirk Cousins.
Kubiak was hired as Minnesota’s assistant head coach/offensive advisor in mid-January, and his presence might have played a part in the next underrated move tied to the Vikings.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert said the focus on centers this offseason was something that stood out to him.
Minnesota, of course, was included in that bunch as they drafted North Carolina State’s Garrett Bradbury with the 18th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Rarely are there top-end tackles available in free agency, or even after the top of the draft. So, smart teams that need to elevate their offensive lines take the next-best step: spending relatively big to grab a difference-making center. The Panthers signed Matt Paradis. The Bills signed Mitch Morse. The Vikings used the No. 18 overall pick to draft Garrett Bradbury. And the Saints traded up in the draft to select Erik McCoy. All four moves will make big impacts.
Bradbury was a First-Team All-ACC selection in 2019 before showing off his athleticism at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine.
With Kubiak now on board as a sounding board for Vikings Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski, Minnesota drafted Bradbury and believe he fits the offensive scheme the Vikings will run in 2019.
CBS Sports ranks Vikings offensive triplets at 13th in NFL
The Vikings offense will need contributions from throughout the lineup if the unit wants to be successful in 2019, but it’s a safe bet that Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen will play a big role.
Jared Dubin of CBS Sports recently went through each NFL roster and listed out his top offensive triplets for 2019, which Dubin described as “the NFL's best QB-RB-WR trios among the expected starters at quarterback and running back, and their presumed top pass-catcher throughout the league.”
Dubin, who had Minnesota’s trio ranked 13th out of 32 teams, wrote:
Thielen is awesome, and it seems like he’s propping up this ranking, but Cousins was decidedly meh during his first season in Minnesota after signing a record-setting contract, and Cook has largely proven unable to stay on the field. The ceiling is really high for this group, but the floor is also pretty low.
Thielen set career highs with 113 receptions for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns. Cousins threw for 4,000-plus yards and 30 touchdowns, but the Vikings missed the postseason in Year 1 of a three-year contract.
Cook has played in 15 games in two seasons since being a second-round pick, and rushed for 615 yards and two touchdowns on 133 carries in 2019.