The Vikings made a quick splash in free agency by signing Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson, who were considered among the top 10 free agents available.
Minnesota isn't the only team making significant moves, however.
NFL.com's Adam Schein **took a look at the activity of nine teams** over the past 14 days and determined whether he "loved, liked or loathed" the transactions – or, in some cases, the lack thereof.
Schein listed the Vikings at No. 2 and gave his vote of confidence in their approach to free agency this year after finishing 13-3 and playing in the NFC title game in 2017. Schein wrote:
[It] certainly didn't surprise me when Minnesota ended up with the crown jewel of free agency [Kirk Cousins]. But it confirmed my suspicion all along: The Vikings will enter next season as bona fide Super Bowl contenders.
Cousins is on the second tier of franchise quarterbacks. And that's no slight whatsoever. A second-tier franchise QB carries immense value in this league – and makes Mike Zimmer's group even scarier. You gotta love a team that doesn't rest on making a run. Minnesota fell one game shy of a home Super Bowl last season. Without Cousins, I think they would've fallen back into the wild-card mix. With him? This is a force to be reckoned with.
The Vikings were listed behind the Rams, who are making "Super Bowl-caliber moves" according to Schein. Marquee additions by the West Coast squad include cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib and, most recently, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.
Schein said the following of the Rams, who will host the Vikings in 2018:
*I'm completely obsessed with the thought of Suh playing on the same defensive line as reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Two defensive tackles with three first-team All-Pros apiece? Good grief – talk about a dynamic duo. *
Third and fourth in Schein's "Love It" category were the division-rival Bears and the Browns, respectively.
The Packers and Jets ended up in the "Like It" category for their respective transactions, and Schein then had critiques on the approach of the Giants, Patriots, and the NFC North Lions, who he said have been "hibernating through free agency."
Yotter: What will Vikings offense look like in 2018?
Besides having a new name under center, the Vikings offense also will be under new guidance after Minnesota signed Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo.
Tim Yotter of *Viking Update ***posed the question**, "What will the offensive look like under DeFilippo?"
While acknowledging that the "easy answer" would be to look at DeFilippo's last stop, as the Eagles quarterbacks coach, Yotter said "that's not necessarily the case."
Yotter quoted Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman, who spoke to media members last month about the team's mindset in adding DeFilippo:
"What we talked about was when you go look for a new offensive coordinator, do you just blow the whole thing up and start a whole new system? Or do you go out and find someone who is familiar with the system and add to that?" Spielman said. "As we talked with John, he is familiar with the West Coast and familiar with the Chip Kelly stuff still implemented in Philadelphia. With [offensive line coach] Tony Sparano, the rest of our staff and what we do in the run game, it'll keep evolving as we go forward instead of starting over from scratch."
So where will the biggest learning curve be? Yotter wrote:
*The biggest adjustment will be at the quarterback position. Unlike [Sam] Bradford in 2016, Cousins will have a full offseason working within the Vikings modified system (terming it a "new" system might be overstating the case). Unlike [Case] Keenum in 2017, Cousins will be getting most of the offseason reps with the starting offensive weapons. *
Many of the concepts will be the same from the offense that Shurmur left behind, but DeFilippo will supplement with plays he likes and ones he believes suit the strengths of Cousins.