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Lunchbreak: Football Outsiders Lists Daring Offseason Move for Vikings to Make

It's no secret the Vikings could look to revamp their defensive line this offseason.

And Scott Spratt of analytics website Football Outsiders has a way for Minnesota to do so.

Football Outsiders recently offered a daring move for each NFL team to make this offseason, with Spratt suggesting the Vikings add defensive tackle Leonard Williams.

He wrote that Williams could provide a formidable duo next to Michael Pierce, who did not play in 2020 after oping out due to COVID-19.

With the expectation that Pierce will play in 2021, and now that the team has escaped its cap nightmare, the Vikings could easily call it a day. Instead, we would love for them to double down with another signing of an expensive free-agent defensive tackle, Leonard Williams.

Even with their other cuts, the Vikings were remarkably complete in 2020 with the No. 11 passing offense, No. 6 rushing offense, and No. 14 pass defense by DVOA. But their run defense finished 30thin DVOA and dead last allowing 5.16 adjusted line yards per carry, and did so despite Eric Kendricks leading all linebackers (min. 50 tackles) with a 6.3 percent broken tackle rate based on Sports Info Solutions charting. That weakness may be more than Pierce can overcome on his own, but its correction could vault this version of the Vikings into Super Bowl contention. And thanks to their discipline last year, the team could free the space to make it happen by extending [quarterback Kirk] Cousins and avoid the alternative of a complete rebuild.

View throwback photos of Vikings players from their performances at the NFL Scouting Combine over the years.

Williams was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft by the Jets. He played 71 career games (70 starts) for the Jets, recording 17.0 sacks, 32 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles in four-plus seasons.

He was traded to the Giants midway through the 2019 season, and had 12 sacks with them in 24 games.

Williams was recently ranked as the No. 19 overall free agent by Pro Football Focus.

Frelund analyzes Vikings WR depth ahead of free agency

The Vikings are set at the top of the depth chart at wide receiver, as the duo of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson rival any pairing across the league.

But Cynthia Frelund, an Analytics Expert with NFL Network, recently wrote that she won't be surprised if Minnesota adds more depth at that spot in the coming months.

Frelund looked at the wide receiver situation of all 32 NFL teams and found the Vikings are in a good spot, even if they stand to add another player or two.

She wrote:

Jefferson earned 40 receptions on 60 targets of 10-plus air yards for 957 yards and five touchdowns, per Next Gen Stats. The rookie posted the highest reception percentage on passes of 10-plus air yards (66.7 percent) among 44 players with at least 40 such targets. Thielen's 13 red-zone touchdown receptions ranked second in the NFL (only behind Davante Adams' 14).

Jefferson (entering Year 2 of his rookie contract) and Thielen (signed through 2024) have the WR1 and WR2 spots on lock, but adding depth here will create increased efficiency and help keep play-action efficient.

Jefferson set a Super Bowl-era record with 1,400 receiving yards in his first season and additionally set a Vikings franchise mark for a rookie with 88 receptions. He also had seven touchdown receptions.

View the best wide receiver photos from the 2020 season from Vikings photographers.

Thielen's 14 touchdown catches ranked third in the league. He also had 74 receptions for 925 yards, marking the fourth season of his career with 900-plus yards.

Chad Beebe is slated to be a restricted free agent after catching 20 passes for 201 yards and a pair of scores in 2020.

Bisi Johnson, who had 14 catches for 189 yards, will enter his third NFL season in 2021.

Dan Chisena and K.J. Osborn primarily played special teams in their rookie seasons.

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