The Vikings started the offseason off relatively mildly by getting rid of some fan favorites and restructuring the contracts of others. However, things have picked up over the last few days, and they have picked up TE Josh Oliver, DE Marcus Davenport, and CB Byron Murphy Jr. How can the Vikings slay the competition?
Even with these guys that have come over, the Vikings could make an even bigger splash in the free agent market by bringing a familiar face back to the NFC North.
His name? Darius Slay. He was just released by the Eagles and could be a great addition to this secondary that has lost a couple of starters in Patrick Peterson (who went to the Steelers) and Cam Dantzler Sr. (who was released).
Byron Murphy Jr. seems to be all but a lock for one starting corner; depending on Andrew Booth‘s health, he could be the other starter outside. Akayleb Evans is also a viable option that played well in Booth and Dantzler’s absences last year.
This team is getting younger and faster, but that does not mean it would be a bad idea to bring in Big Play Slay. He is 32 years old this season, but he still could amass 55 tackles, 14 passes defended, and three interceptions.
So while he is getting older, he is still productive in this league and could be a great mentor to these younger players. He could also be a viable option for one of the safety spots if the Vikings decide to release Harrison Smith or if they keep him.
This Vikings’ defense, ranked 28th overall last season needed to make some changes, and they have indeed done that. They were able to restructure Jordan Hicks’ contract to save some cap space and released a fan favorite in Eric Kendricks. Brian Flores is known to employ an aggressive defensive scheme and is doing what he can to get players that fit within that scheme.
It is hard to say if it was just because of a new scheme and coordinator that Kendricks struggled last season. However, it was his worst season in recent memory, and he seemed lost more often than not. He made decisions on the field when he should have relied on his instincts. It was wise to cut him, even if it hurt some fans’ feelings.
Cam Dantzler’s Replacement/Upgrade?
By releasing Cam Dantzler Sr. as well, GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and HC Kevin O’Connell showed they are unwilling to settle for mediocrity or okay players.
Dantzler showed promise of being an above-average CB in this league after previous head coach Mike Zimmer let him play. His main flaw/issue this season was his availability. He was injured during the vast majority of it.
He only played 10 of 17 games this past season, with ankle and neck injuries keeping him off the field. However, Darius Slay has been incredibly reliable throughout the league. He has played 151 games over his ten-year career.
He would be a significant upgrade if they could sign him for a reasonable price.
After having Patrick Peterson starting on one side and you never knew who would start on the other side, having Byron Murphy Jr. and Darius Slay as the starting cornerbacks would be a significant upgrade.