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Lunchbreak: Goessling Analyzes Vikings Roster for 2020

It's a known fact that there is roster turnover among every NFL team each offseason.

New players are brought in through free agency and the draft, others are let go, and rosters then begin to take shape for the upcoming season.

As Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer mentioned earlier this week, the Vikings will scrutinize and evaluate their roster soon and begin taking a peek to the 2020 season.

Vikings beat writer Ben Goessling of the Star Tribune recently offered up his projections for which players will or won't be back this upcoming season, and indicated that a few changes could be on the horizon in Minnesota.

Goessling had the majority of Minnesota's offensive playmakers staying in Purple, including the likes of Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.

Goessling also wrote that Minnesota has a strong building block on the offensive line in Brian O'Neill:

The second-round pick in the 2018 draft has turned into a strong right tackle who seems to be the most solid piece of the Vikings' long-term line picture. The team could think about moving him to left tackle, but it'd seem to make as much sense to leave O'Neill where he is, given how many teams move their best pass rushers to different sides of the line.

Defensively, Goessling projected the Vikings could move on from numerous starters in the secondary, but he thinks Anthony Harris will be a Viking in 2020 and beyond, even as the safety's contract is set to expire at the start of the new league year.

Harris is an unrestricted free agent, and he'll be expensive to keep after a Pro Bowl-caliber season. The fact he'll be 29 this summer, though, could keep his contract in a range that allows the Vikings to retain the services of the safety, who's well-liked in the locker room and a key component of the defense.

And Goessling expects the Vikings to keep continuity among the special teams operation, even with kicker Dan Bailey and punter Britton Colquitt set to have their contracts expire, too.

Bailey will be a free agent, but a strong season should earn him a new deal for a team that has had its fair share of kicking issues in recent years. He hit 27 of his 29 field-goal attempts in 2019.

A strong season as a punter, and a solid year as a holder, should have Colquitt back on a new deal for 2020, which would be his 11th season in the NFL.

Goessling's full list of roster projections can be found here.

View the top photos of Vikings S Anthony Harris from the 2019 season.

Kendricks, Harris earn praise from PFF

A pair of key players on the 2019 Vikings defense recently earned some praise from the analytics website Pro Football Focus.

Eric Kendricks was named as PFF's top overall linebacker, while Harris was listed as the biggest surprise at his position.

PFF wrote that Kendricks should be in the running for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year after a stellar season that landed him First-Team All-Pro honors.

Kendricks quite literally did it all for Minnesota in 2019. He led all linebackers in overall grade thanks to his efforts in coverage, run defense and sure tackling. He missed nine of 121 total tackle attempts, while allowing no catch longer than 32 yards and making 36 total stops this year. He recorded 12 pass breakups and added 17 total pressures when he blitzed. It was an all-around dominant year.

Kendricks recorded 130 tackles in 2019 (according to coaches' stats), marking the fifth straight season he has led the team in tackles. Kendricks also recorded 12 passes defensed, four tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 0.5 sacks.

PFF also liked what it saw from Harris, who turned in his second strong season in a row.

Harris' performance this year didn't come as too much of a surprise after he earned an excellent 89.0 overall grade on limited snaps last year. However, over the offseason, the NFL was less enthused, as Harris signed a one-year deal to stay with Minnesota. All he's done for an encore is not allow a single touchdown in his coverage. He picked off seven passes and recorded five pass breakups on 18 targets.

Harris tied for the league-lead with six interceptions in 2019 and has nine picks in the past two seasons. He also had a forced fumble and 11 passes defensed in 2019.

He joined the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2015 and has blossomed. Harris has started 31 games for the Vikings, including 23 in the past two seasons.

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