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Which of ESPN’s top-50 free agents could the Vikings pursue?

While the official opening of free agency in the NFL isn’t until March 13, it’s never too early to speculate on the Minnesota Vikings’ offseason approach to key positions. This week ESPN’s Kevin Seifert released his top 50 free agents and a number of players on the list could interest the Vikings. So let’s have a look at all the top 50 players at positions the Vikings could plausibly be interested in…

10. Tampa Bay, LB, Kwon Alexander

If the Vikings lose Anthony Barr to free agency, they may look outside the building for a replacement. Alexander will be coming off an ACL injury, which could lower the asking price. In four years with the Bucs, the blazing-fast linebacker was an asset in coverage at times and rushed the passer only situationally. At 24, there could still be room to grow.

12. Atlanta, DT, Grady Jarrett

The 2015 fifth-round pick has been absolutely fantastic for the Falcons over the last two years, ranking as an elite run stuffer by Pro Football Focus and putting 43 pressures on the QB in 2017 and 53 in 2018 to go along with six sacks. Jarrett and Linval Joseph in the middle would be like the Williams Wall.

13. Houston, DB, Tyrann Mathieu

If the Vikings decide to move on from Andrew Sendejo, who has a $5.1 million cap hit and zero dead money if he’s released, they could seek another dynamic defensive back to play alongside Harrison Smith. Mathieu might never again reach his 2015 level, but he’s been solid in back-to-back years, grading above average against the run and in coverage this season with Houston. Mathieu has not yet turned 27.

15. Minnesota, DT, Sheldon Richardson

The Vikings turned a low-risk one-year deal into solid production from Richardson, who pressured opposing QBs 47 times according to PFF and played a part in one of the NFL’s best teams against the run. Considering how well Richardson fit with Mike Zimmer’s defense, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Vikings tried to bring him back. But the price tag for three-technique defensive tackles isn’t often cheap.

16. Cleveland, QB, Tyrod Taylor

Backup quarterback Trevor Siemian is a free agent, giving the Vikings options. New assistant coach/offensive advisor Gary Kubiak has history with Siemian, so he might prefer to have the former Bronco back. If not, the Vikings could consider Taylor, who’s unlikely to get offers as a starter. He played for Kubiak in 2014 and would be capable of stepping into a starting role if needed.

18. Minnesota, LB, Anthony Barr

By PFF standards, Barr had his best season since 2015 and was especially effective as a pass rusher, putting 23 pressures on opposing QBs in just 103 pass rush snaps. Per PFF, he only allowed 77 yards in coverage after a rough night in Los Angeles in Week 4. Barr’s value isn’t always easy to quantify because he’s fluent in Zimmer’s defense and capable of being used in many different ways. The Vikings have made it clear they would like to keep him.

20. Los Angeles Chargers, WR, Tyrell Williams

As the Vikings look to add weapons, they may seek a deep threat. The 6-foot-4 receiver has become just that for the Chargers over the last three seasons, averaging 16.3 yards per catch.

23. Atlanta, RB, Tevin Coleman

A dual threat out of the backfield, Coleman has caught more than 30 passes for the Falcons each of the last three years while splitting time with Devonta Freeman. If Latavius Murray isn’t back, the Vikings could attempt to recreate that threat with Coleman and Dalvin Cook. However, if Jerick McKinnon’s contract last offseason says anything, it’s that quality pass catchers are a sought-after commodity.

30. New York Jets, DT, Henry Anderson

The 27-year-old defensive lineman had a breakout year with seven sacks and 48 pressures in 459 pass rushing snaps. During his time with the Colts, his high in pass rush snaps was just 255 and Anderson totaled just three sacks. Teams will have to decide whether the strong production can be repeated going forward.

31. Indianapolis, G, Mark Glowinski

Played a role in the resurgence of the Colts’ offensive line, giving up just one sack in 431 pass blocking snaps — though Andrew Luck got rid of the ball quickly in Frank Reich’s system this year. Glowinski, 27, ranked 10th among guards by PFF, would offer an immediate upgrade for the Vikings. Los Angeles guard Roger Saffold and Pittsburgh’s Ramon Foster were left off the top 50 list.

32. Los Angeles Rams. S, LaMarcus Joyner

Joyner isn’t very big, but he packs a punch. At only 5-foot-8, he has ranked by PFF as a top tackling safety for the last two years. After giving up just a 27.4 rating into his coverage in 2017, things evened out this year but opposing teams only tested him 23 times in coverage.

33. Baltimore, WR, John Brown

Another deep threat receiver, Brown had a solid season in Baltimore with 44 catches at 16.6 yards per grab.

35. Tampa Bay, WR, Adam Humphries

Largely a slot receiver, Humphries has put up impressive numbers with 61 and 76 receptions over the last two years, respectively, and had a 108.7 rating on throws in his direction last season. He will start next season as a 26-year-old.

36. Philadelphia, WR, Golden Tate

The veteran receiver has put up at least 80 catches each season since 2014 and is consistently one of the most dangerous playmaking receivers with the ball in his hands. He would seem to be a good fit with Thielen and Diggs, but at 30, the question will be the length of contract and the price tag.

37. Dallas, DT, David Irving

In stints between injuries Irving has been effective as a rotational player, picking up 14 sacks and 83 pressures over 772 career pass rushing snaps. Whether he could be reliable as a Richardson replacement is questionable.

40. Los Angeles Rams, DT, Ndamukong Suh

With 52 pressures in 591 pass rush snaps, Suh was a strong pass rusher at age 32. PFF also graded him as one of the best run-stuffing DTs in the league. Will his name carry too high a price tag for the Vikings to be in the mix or would he look for a short-term deal with big guaranteed money? Either way that could be tough for the Vikings to figure into their equation, but he’d be a scary fit with Joseph.

43. Chicago, S, Adrian Amos

An underrated player on the league’s top defense, Amos graded as the 10th best safety by PFF. The Vikings’ secondary would be outrageously good with him next to Smith.

48. Jacksonville, WR, Donte Moncrief

The 25-year-old speedster had the unfortunate task of playing receiver for Blake Bortles. His 48 catches on 85 targets may drive down the price, which could be good for the Vikings, who should be in search of a No. 3 without massive contract demands. But in an offense-first league, we might see other teams go all-in on so-so receivers.

50. San Francisco, K, Robbie Gould

At 36, he made 33 of 34 field goal attempts. The Vikings absolutely need t figure out their kicking situation.


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