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Lunchbreak: ESPN Predicts Elements of Vikings 2018 Offense

There has been plenty of speculation over what the 2018 Vikings offense will look like under new coordinator John DeFilippo and with quarterback Kirk Cousins, who signed with Minnesota last month.

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer told reporters during the League Owners Meeting in Orlando last week that the offense will revolve around "what Cousins does best."

ESPN's Courtney Cronin, along with analyst Matt Bowen, recently delved into what Minnesota's offense might look like during the upcoming season, based on Zimmer's statement. Cronin emphasized the stability that Cousins brings to the position, which will allow DeFilippo to "lay the groundwork for a long-term relationship" with the Vikings newest QB. She wrote:

*The basis of what DeFilippo brings to Minnesota from Philadelphia is a modernized West Coast scheme with some added college spread-offense concepts, pre-snap movement and play-action. *

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Barring injury or a blockbuster trade, Cousins will be the Vikings quarterback for a long time. It's what he referred to as the potential for a "lifetime deal" during his introductory news conference in March. The basis of that is building a system around what the 29-year-old quarterback has demonstrated he can do well while finding ways to improve areas in which he has struggled.

Cronin highlighted a number of Cousins' strengths, starting with play-action passes. She said the signal caller has "built a reputation as one of the best" in the league in play-action, which Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden "dialed up on 20 percent" of Washington's plays in 2017.

Cronin added that DeFilippo could "bring a staple of the Eagles offense" to the Vikings.

Philadelphia dismantled teams all year, including the Vikings in the NFC Championship, with the use of the run-pass option. Why? Because its RPOs are made to look like play-action. And very rarely did [Nick] Foles run the ball. The play calls were dialed up for the Eagles QB to get the ball out on a quick slant – another version of a play-action pass with a harder sell on the play fake.

Cousins excels at getting the ball out quickly in a rhythm passing game and making accurate throws to his receivers.

In addition to play-action, Cronin took a look at Cousins' deep ball – he ranked third in completion percentage (48.9) over the past three seasons – and what additional weapons the Vikings offense provides Cousins, including Dalvin Cook and recent free-agent signing Kendall Wright.

What the Vikings are missing is an athletic, hybrid tight end to complement Kyle Rudolph – another big-framed body who can shield defenders at the point of attack and also go up and get the ball. […] Finding a move tight end, someone with speed who can make tough catches, would be the perfect addition for Cousins.

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NFL analysts Brooks, Jeremiah opine offensive lineman to Vikings at No. 30

The 2018 NFL Draft is fast approaching.

In the wake of blockbuster signings and trades across the league, NFL Media analysts Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah turned their attention to the draft during their Move the Sticks podcast. They looked at five playoff teams from the 2017 season and opined a "missing piece" that could "put them over the top" in 2018.

For the Vikings, who are currently slated to have the 30th overall pick, Jeremiah said that adding an offensive lineman could complete the team.

The Vikings were one win away from a Super Bowl appearance last season, and last month they signed Kirk Cousins, the crown jewel of free agency. Now they need to add the finishing touches to a championship-caliber roster. The offensive line was vastly improved last season, but there is still a need for an upgrade at the guard position. UTEP [guard] Will Hernandez is a mauling run blocker, and he's surprisingly nimble in pass protection. His physicality is a perfect fit for a team looking to close out wins with the running game.

Jeremiah predicted the following fits for four other teams: Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch to the Patriots at 31, Maryland WR D.J. Moore to the Jaguars at 29, Alabama LB Rashaan Evans to the Steelers at 28 and South Carolina TE Hayden Hurst to the Saints at 27.

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