Vikings offseason
The Minnesota Vikings had a terrible defense in 2020 and an offense that was loaded with weapons. It’s time to bring the defense back and content in 2020 (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images).

Vikings Offseason Needs 2021- Make Defense Great Again!

The Minnesota Vikings were a disappointment in 2020, especially by Mike Zimmer standards. Having the 27th ranked total defense and 29th ranked points defense with a defensive head coach is pitiful, sad, and downright embarrassing. The combination of Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson put up points, the defense just couldn’t keep up and it’s time to fix that. Although the Vikings have found themselves about nine million dollars over the salary cap (With a roughly projected $184 Million cap in 2021, per overthecap.com), that’s a very easy situation to maneuver. The Minnesota Vikings should have one mission on their mind this offseason, “Make Defense Great Again.”

Roster Needs: IOL, IDL, EDGE, S

Offense
Vikings offseason
Dalvin Cook played extremely well in 2020 despite having a crummy offensive line, specifically on the interior, improve there and BOOM. Fireworks part two. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

In all honesty, it’s difficult to point out major holes in the Minnesota Vikings’ offense. Kirk Cousins is a fine quarterback, he may not be Top Ten but you could be in a worse situation. Although people may be tired of him, the Vikings are tied to him for a few more years unless they’re able to find a trade partner. I’m going to go ahead and guess that no one wants to trade for Cousins, so he’s still here whether you like it or not. They’ve got a pair of stud wide receivers in Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, the weapons are clearly there.

Now the issue presents itself in the trenches. The tackles are fine, I don’t have much of an issue with Brian O’Neill or Riley Reiff being a team’s starting tackles in the NFL. I do have issues with the interior of their offensive line. Whenever I watched a Minnesota Vikings game, pressure up the middle in the face of Kirk Cousins was an issue more often than not. In the run game, it was difficult to walk away from a game and say that the Vikings were able to impose their will on the interior, they need to find an upgrade at guard.

I am willing to be more patient with 2019 first-round pick Garrett Bradbury, but the same can’t be said with Dakota Dozier. He’s been in the league since 2014, we know who he is right now and he’s not good enough. I’m a firm believer that games are won and lost in the trenches, take a look at this year’s Super Bowl as proof. Brandon Scherff of the Washington Football Team and Joe Thuney of the New England Patriots are set to become free agents, Minnesota should definitely make a call or two.

Another change that needs to be made with the Vikings this offseason is Kyle Rudolph. He either has to go, or take less money. Whether he’s cut or traded, I don’t care he’s clearly not part of the plan in Minnesota. In 2019 Rudolph saw 48 targets compared to 2018’s 82 targets. In 2020 that number dropped to 37 targets. He’s being phased out, and he’s not worth a cap hit of over nine million dollars. If he gets cut or traded before June first, the Vikings save just over five million dollars. Send him to New England or another tight end needy team, I don’t care just get rid of him and save some money.

Defense
Vikings offseason
Danielle Hunter missed the entire 2020 season, and the Vikings took a major step back. They had the fifth-fewest sacks in the NFL as a team without the veteran. (John Autey/Pioneer Press)

A Mike Zimmer team with a bad defense? That’s not something you ever want to say. As a team, this defense just stunk. They ranked 29th in points and 27th overall, something needs to be done about that. Sure, they were without Danielle Hunter for the entire year and I’ll give you that. However, that just revealed that the Vikings have done a terrible job constructing this defensive line. If they want to address this in free agency, Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson are options to help the interior. Carl Lawson, Shaq Barrett, Jadeveon Clowney, and Bud Dupree are out there to help on the edge. If the Minnesota Vikings want to look at the draft to fill this major offseason need, Alabama’s Christian Barmore would be a fine selection in the first round.

The safety position also requires attention. Anthony Harris is an upcoming free agent and Harrison Smith is entering the final year of his deal.

As the Vikings enter the 2021 NFL Offseason, there should only be one thing on their mind. That thing has to be, “Make Defense Great Again.” Put it on a hat, a t-shirt, I don’t care. This has to be their mission. They’ve done a great job collecting offensive weapons. Now it’s time to put a top 16 defense together to be a true playoff team.