With the NFL combine among us and Carson Wentz, Bobby Wagner and other players being cut, we have officially begun the NFL off season. If you are a big NFL fan, here are some key dates to look out for in the next few weeks:
February 28-March 6: NFL Scouting Combine — Held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, players from all around the country come together to compete, hoping to raise their draft stock for the upcoming NFL draft.
Players to watch for as a Vikings fan: Kelee Ringo, CB, Georgia, Joey Porter, Jr., CB, Penn State, Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa, Jordan Addison, WR, USC, Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina, B.J. Ojulari, EDGE, LSU, John Michael Schmitz, IOL, Minnesota.
There are so many players the Vikings could be looking at taking at #23, I mean, we all know how terrible the defense was, so if you do tune into the NFL Combine, just watch the defensive activities, see who you like the most.
March 7: Tag Destination — Teams must submit their final decisions to either franchise tag a player, where they are bound to a team under certain conditions. One extremely interesting franchise tag candidate to watch this year is QB Lamar Jackson, I just have a feeling all of this drama is going to build up to nothing. The other tag in question is the transition tag, where a team can bind a player to their team for a short period of time while they try to figure out a trade destination.
As for the Vikings, I can’t see them franchise tagging or transition tagging anyone, our biggest free agents are Garrett Bradbury, Alex Mattison, Patrick Peterson, and of course, Duke Shelley. (Irv Smith and Dalvin Tomlinson do not matter.)
March 13-15: Legal tampering period for free agency — This is where teams are allowed to reach out to 2023 free agents’ agents inquiring about contract details and anything else they may need to supply in order to sign their client. From 12 p.m. ET, March 13 to 3:59 p.m., March 15, these agents will be busy, but no deal can be finalized until 4 p.m. March 15.
I don’t know how this will really impact the Vikings, I guess we will find out; follow Adam Schefter and Ian Rapoport on Twitter to find out as things keep moving.
March 15: Happy League New Year! The new league year begins at 4 p.m. March 15, where the free agency period begins as well. The trading period also begins on this day, after all 2022 contracts expire.
This Vikings’ off-season could go a few different ways, and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has a big few months ahead of him. There seems to be some tension building already with players like Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen. It remains to be seen how Adofo-Mensah will handle a passing of the torch, if there needs to be one. For me, I want to see Thielen finish his career here, but I couldn’t care less about Dalvin; his shelf life might be up, we need to start fresh.
As for players we could realistically sign, there are players like IOL Connor McGovern and RB Darrell Henderson Jr., who are not exactly high-profile players, but will do a fine job replacing Bradbury and Cook if they go.
Cameron Sutton, CB. New defensive coordinator Brian Flores worked with Sutton in Pittsburgh this season, and with the Vikings abysmal CB room, the 28-year-old Sutton would be a welcome addition to the team.
QB Jacoby Brissett and WR Odell Beckham Jr. Both of these players are kind of longshots, but if Thielen and backup QB Nick Mullens are on the way out, both of these players would fill in nicely. However, they are both likely to get decently sized contracts from other teams, so I doubt the Vikings would shell out a lot of cash to these guys.
K Matt Gay. Greg Joseph is a free agent and he sucks. We need a new Kicker.
S Eric Rowe. Rowe has played for new DC Brian Flores in both Miami and New England as a versatile secondary player and would be very valuable in a Cam Bynum-esque role.
LB Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds has been a good linebacker in Buffalo for a couple of years now, but he is still only 24 years old and has been connected to the Vikings recently. He, Eric Kendricks, and Brian Asamoah II would form a great trio of linebackers.
No matter what happens in the coming weeks, I’m sure the Vikings will find a creative way to let us down. However, I am optimistic. Skol.
Write to Hayden Lee at Hayden.Lee@mnsu.edu