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Hey there. What is the thought process on how we approach the rest of free agency? Are there any solid O-line choices we are looking at? [We] need some protection for Kirk [Cousins] and Dalvin [Cook]. Is there more of a lean to draft skill positions and beef up the core through free agency? Having a hard time following while out on deployment.
— Ian in Jacksonville, North Carolina
View photos of WR Tajaé Sharpe who the Vikings agreed to terms on Wednesday.
Hi Ian, thanks for the email. And more importantly, thank you for your brave service for our country.
Free agency is almost two weeks old now, and the Vikings have certainly addressed some needs with the signings of defensive tackle Michael Pierce, wide receiver Tajae' Sharpe and defensive end Anthony Zettel among others.
But as we look ahead to the rest of free agency and the draft, there are a few positions that come to mind that could still be addressed. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, Jr., recently said that he has wide receiver, offensive tackle and defensive end at the top of list for the Vikings. Those make sense, as does adding more bodies at cornerback, especially since the Vikings have lost multiple free agents at that position over the past week or so.
Remember, the Vikings can still make some moves in free agency, and also have a pair of first-round picks (and five total picks in the first 105 selections). That could mean a number of areas get addressed in the first few rounds of the draft.
Is there anyone in the early first round the Vikings may [value] enough to package those two first rounders to move up?
— Robert Mielke
The Vikings certainly have the means to do that with a pair of first-rounders. Perhaps they only need to package one of them and a later pick (or picks) to move up into the top half of the first round.
As for players to watch, perhaps a top-tier offensive lineman makes sense, or a game-breaking wide receiver? Offensive tackles such as Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills and Mehki Becton are expected to be gone by the 22nd pick, as are wide receivers such as Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III.
If the Vikings like someone enough, they have the ability to move up the board. Or, they could choose to use their current draft capital to snag five solid players in the first three rounds and build depth.
Please explain dead money to me. I am reading a lot about this recently.
— Gerald Goblirsch
We'll get a bit technical with this one. Dead money is where a team eats part of a player's salary if they release him before his contract is up.
So, let's say you have me, wide receiver Eric Smith, and I'm scheduled to make $10 million in 2020, with $2 million of that fully guaranteed. But the team makes the decision to release me.
That means I still get my $2 million the team still owes me, but it's dead money on their books. However, the team just freed up $8 million in cap space to sign another wide receiver. One who is probably better than me because I can't jump and have hands of stone.
Thank you for all the time you spend answering our questions. If Denzel Mims (from Baylor) and Justin Jefferson (from LSU) are available at picks 22 and 25, should the Vikings draft both and take care of the offensive line in the second and third rounds? I do realize we need defensive backs.
— Rodger in Sacramento, California
Rodger, you're in luck. We actually began our series of looking at draft prospects with the WR position, mainly because it's such a talking point right now after the Diggs trade. You can check out that info and analysis here, with help from former NFL WR Ron Johnson.
Mims and Jefferson were also popular names in our most-recent Mock Draft Tracker, which also came out last week. Feel free to give that a read … it matches up with your thought process here.
Remember, the Vikings can still make some moves in free agency, and also have a pair of first-round picks (and five overall picks in the first 105 selections). That could mean a number of areas get addressed in the first few rounds of the draft.