Despite the rest of the sports world shutting down over Coronavirus concerns, the NFL will forge forward with the beginning of free agency. The Minnesota Vikings enter the period to sign players with more needs than cap space, so they will need to look toward bargain players rather than the biggest names on the market. Here are 40 players who could fill spots without requiring the Vikings to break the bank…
1. Safety, Tre Boston
A ball-hawking safety with 11 interceptions over the past three seasons and consistently solid grades from Pro Football Focus (76.4, 74.1 and 80.6 over the last three years), Boston hasn’t commanded top dollar in free agency. He signed deals of $900,000 and $1.5 million the last two years.
2. Wide receiver, Breshad Perriman
On his fourth team things clicked for Perriman as he became a deep threat for the Bucs, grabbing 36 catches at 17.9 yards per reception. The Vikings haven’t had a pure deep threat in the Zimmer era, though they tried by signing Michael Floyd in 2017.
3. Defensive tackle, Shelby Harris
A successful interior rotational rusher for the Broncos, Harris picked up 28 QB pressures on 346 pass rush snaps last season. He has 15 sacks over the last three years despite never playing 700 snaps in a single season.
4. Safety, Karl Joseph
Oakland’s former first-round pick has graded favorable by PFF as a run defender and allowed just three touchdowns into his coverage over four seasons. His 2019 season was derailed by a foot injury.
5. Safety, Adrian Phillips
A broken arm cost Phillips most of his 2019 season but he has been a solid player over his six years with the Chargers, grading above average in coverage by PFF each of the last three seasons.
6. Safety, Rodney McLeod
While most of the Eagles’ secondary struggled last year, McCleod stood out, giving up a 49.3 rating into his coverage.
7. Defensive end, Shaq Lawson
Considered a first-round bust, Lawson still has a solid pressure rate for a rotational rusher. He picked up 40 QB pressures on 298 pass rush snaps last season and might still have room to grow.
UPDATE: Lawson signed with the Dolphins
8. Defensive tackle, David Onyemata
Last year the 27-year-old’s sack numbers went down but Onyemata continued to pressure the QB with 31 total pressures on 407 rushing snaps.
UPDATE: Onyemata re-signed with New Orleans
9. Defensive tackle, Andrew Billings
At 325 pounds, Billings can stuff the run effectively and can occasionally get after the passer with 19 pressures on 291 pass snaps last season.
10. Cornerback, Ron Darby
Darby had an extremely tough 2019 but he was a solid performer from 2015-2018 between Buffalo and Philadelphia. Allowed just a 72.3 rating into his coverage in 2017.
11. Cornerback, Jimmy Smith
The veteran has battled injuries recently, playing under 500 snaps last season. When healthy, however, he was terrific, allowing just a 49% completion percentage on throws into his coverage.
12. Defensive tackle, A’Shawn Robinson
The former Alabama DT has been up and down during his career in Detroit and hasn’t become the dominant player the Lions hoped for. Still he has the size at 322 pounds to take over a nose tackle role.
13. OL, Connor McGovern
Playing mostly at center last season, McGovern had by far his best season, giving up just one sack. Garrett Bradbury is likely locked into playing center but the Vikings should be on the lookout for any interior O-linemen who can protect Kirk Cousins.
14. Cornerback, Darqueze Dennard
Cincinnati’s former first-round pick allowed just a 79.6 rating into his coverage in 2019. He graded y PFF as an elite tackler three of the last four years.
15. Safety, Tavon Wilson
The former Patriots draft pick developed into a solid player for the Lions, grading a 71.2 (out of 100) against the run and 73.7 in coverage by PFF’s system.
16. Defensive tackle, Maliek Collins
Collins was a monster pass rusher in 2019, picking up 48 QB pressures on 492 pass rush snaps. He’s posted 30-plus pressures each season with the Cowboys.
17. Cornerback, Tramon Williams
He may be long in the tooth but Williams still only gave up a 86.5 rating into his coverage in 2019.
18. Defensive tackle, Derek Wolfe
The long-time Bronco picked up seven sacks last season, his third highest career total. By PFF metrics he’s consistently been a strong run defender as well.
19. Cornerback, Johnathan Joseph
A former Zimmer corner, Joseph showed some signs of aging last year but still had 11 PBUs and gave up a 90.1 rating into his coverage — better than all three Vikings outside corners.
20. Tackle, Demar Dotson
At 34 and 6-foot-9, he doesn’t exactly fit the Vikings’ O-line profile in the zone scheme but Dotson has been a consistently strong pass protector over his long career.
21. Cornerback, Kevin Johnson
Plenty of bumps along the road as a former first-round pick of the Texans but rebooted his career with the Bills last season, giving up an 84.6 rating into his coverage.
22. Defensive tackle, Danny Shelton
At 345 pounds, Shelton has held down the nose tackle spot for the Patriots over the last two years. He posted his best pass rushing season with 18 pressures in 2019.
23. Defensive tackle, Quinton Jefferson
The quick interior rusher had a breakout season last year with 44 pressures and six sacks.
24. Defensive end, Emmanuel Ogbah
Before tearing his pectoral, Ogbah was showing signs of progress as a pass rusher for the Chiefs, picking up six sacks and 27 pressures in just 251 pass rush snaps.
25. Defensive end, Carl Nassib
Another Cleveland bust who made it elsewhere, Nassib posted 12 sacks over the last two seasons for Tampa Bay and excelled against the run.
26. Guard, Greg Van Roten
Veteran guard with solid pass blocking grades.
27. Cornerback, Ross Cockrell
A journeyman corner has allowed ratings under 70 the last two seasons.
28. Guard, Ben Garland
Veteran fill-in who has played in the Shanahan zone scheme.
29. Defensive end, Vinny Curry
Curry continued to be a dominant rotational rusher with 44 pressures on just 275 pass rush snaps.
30. Defensive tackle, Beau Allen
Hefty run stuffer who played a key role with the Eagles in 2017.
31. Defensive end, Adrian Clayborn
The 31-year-old is still trucking as a rotational rusher, putting 48 pressures on opposing QBs on 322 snaps.
32. Guard, Stefan Wisniewski
A veteran backup, he played significant time for the Eagles and Chiefs recently.
33. Defensive tackle, John Jenkins
The journeyman DT performed well on a struggling Miami team in the most duty he’s seen since 2015.
34. Defensive tackle, Nick Williams
Vikings got a close look at Williams in Week 4 when he filled in for Akiem Hicks. Managed six sacks and 21 pressures in 292 pass rush snaps.
35. Tackle, Kelvin Beachum
Veteran tackle who has consistently been a solid pass blocker, though he’s struggled with run blocking by PFF metrics.
36. Defensive tackle, Marcell Dareus
Fell off the face of the earth with Jags last year but was still a mountain to handle in years prior.
37. Receiver, Tavon Austin
Has never become the player the Rams/Cowboys hoped for, still may have enough playmaking skill to make a difference.
38. Safety, Tony Jefferson
Once considered a top-notch safety, might turn into one again aside Smith.
39. Cornerback, Javien Elliott
Still inexperienced Panthers corner that might be a project for Zimmer.
40. Cornerback, Daryl Worley
Veteran journeyman who’s largely been average.