With the NFL Offseason already in effect for 30 of the 32 teams, the Minnesota Vikings should will look to Free Agency to fill some of the holes along their roster.
Coming into the offseason, there are some obvious holes within the Minnesota Vikings roster. With no first round pick, the Vikings will have to be players in free agency to fill some of the holes on their roster. With the talent pool at some positions of need slim, will the Vikings be willing to overpay to get the players they want?
The main hole within the Vikings roster is along the offensive line. The Vikings offensive line was the main position group holding the team back in 2016. With the injuries that Vikings endured in 2016, their line was filled with a bunch of backups and project players.
In turn, the Vikings had one of the worst rushing attacks in the NFL, something that has been a key to their success for years now. In terms of the passing attack, that gave Sam Bradford less time to let plays develop and turned their passing game into a dink and dunk style attack.
With both of the 2016 Vikings starting tackles entering free agency, the Vikings will need to make some serious moves to put together a formidable offensive line for 2017, even if they have to “Over Pay.”
Winning starts up front, on both sides of the ball.
Now let’s look back at last year’s free agency period.
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Sources said that the Vikings were in on then Ravens offensive guard Kelechi Osemele. Osemele had spent most of his career at left guard, but spend a portion of the season at left tackle in 2015, proving that he could move around along the line if needed, in turn boosting his market value.
The Vikings eventually fell out of the race when Osemele was working a deal with the Raiders for 5 years/$58.5M. This made his the highest paid offensive guard in NFL history. Yes the numbers were a little high, and the Raiders overpaid.
The signing of Osemele was the final piece to make their line one of the best in the NFL. The stellar play of their line made their offense click, pushing the Raiders from young team to contenders before Derek Carr went down.
Also last season, then Browns All Pro Center Alex Mack was hitting the free agent market. He eventually signed a 5 year/$45M deal with the Atlanta Falcons.
The word on this signing was that the Falcons overpaid Mack. Adding Mack to the Falcons offensive line his what has pushed their offensive play over the top as they are competing in the Super Bowl in two weeks, after a .500 season last year. Mack came in third as PFF’s best run blocker this season.
With the NFL Salary Cap going up season after season, we will look back on these two game changing contracts as very smart moves for these teams. What we call “Over Paying” now, will not look like a bad deal in a year or two.
The NFL Salary Cap has increased $10M-$12M/year for the last three off seasons and is projected to go up another $11-$14M in 2017.
The point is, if you are paying a young proven commodity to sure up an important spot on your roster, paying the high price has paid dividends for the big name offensive line free agents of the last couple off seasons. Also those contracts are not looking so crazy now either.