2019 NFL free agency: Possible fits for the Vikings
FOX Sports North
Last year, the Minnesota Vikings made just a small splash in free agency -- giving quarterback Kirk Cousins a huge, guaranteed contract. Don't expect anything that big, or even close, in 2019. According to OverTheCap.com, Minnesota has just over $5 million in cap space -- one of the lowest amounts in the entire NFL. Here's a few players which might interest Minnesota once the league year begins on March 13. (Note: We took a look at Minnesota's own free agents back in February.)
Deone Bucannon, linebacker
The Vikings didn't place a franchise tag on Anthony Barr, allowing him to become a free agent and likely price himself away from the Vikings. A converted safety, Bucannon didn't play as much for Arizona last year as it converted to a 3-4 defense, but he was a tackling machine for the Cardinals when they were in a 4-3. Bucannon also can cover receivers, which was a criticism of Barr in 2018.
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Mike Davis, running back
It appears as though Latavius Murray won't be brought back so Minnesota will need a No. 2 RB behind Dalvin Cook. Like Murray, Davis is a tough runner who can catch a pass out of the backfield when needed. He's also just 26 and only has 234 career NFL carries, so there's a lot of tread on his tires, so to speak. Last season with Seattle, Davis split time with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, gaining 514 yards on 112 carries (4.6 average). He'd make a nice complement with Cook, but also someone who could start and carry the brunt of the load if needed.
Thomas Davis, linebacker
Davis, who turns 36 on March 22, was let go by Carolina after playing there since 2005, with 176 career games. He posted five straight seasons with 100+ tackles from 2012-16. Injuries have limited him some, but he still had 79 tackles in 12 games last season. Yes, he's a bit long in the tooth and he wouldn’t be around long, but Davis still get the job done. And he really seems like a player Mike Zimmer would love.
David Fales or Ryan Griffin, quarterback
The Vikings could bring back Trevor Siemian, who they traded for last year but never played a snap and who is also a free agent, or be happy with Kyle Sloter to be Kirk Cousins' backup. But it seems probable that a veteran will be brought in to be the No. 2 or at least compete for the job. However, there are not a lot of choices out there. It seems doubtful they'd bring in Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh McCown (no reason to give fans someone to pine for to start) and we can forget Teddy Bridgewater, who wasn't eschewed in favor of Cousins. Fales or Griffin would be a "safe" choice.
Malik Jackson, defensive tackle
If the Vikings don't bring back Richardson and/or Tom Johnson, they will need help in the defensive middle (note: the draft is deep at this position as well). Grady Jarrett was given the franchise tag by Atlanta. Jackson, who was cut by Jacksonville in a salary-cap move, is probably the best DT on the market. He's not just a run-plugger on the inside, but like Richardson he can get to the quarterback. Jackson has 32.5 sacks since 2013, including eight in 2017. But he only had 3.5 last season, along with 12 quarterback hits. He might command top dollar and Minnesota doesn't exactly have a lot cap room.
UPDATE: signing with Eagles
Matt StameyMatt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports
Andy Levitre, guard
This just in: Minnesota's offensive line play recently has been shaky. The Vikings will be looking to better protect Cousins this offseason. Levitre is a solid, 10-year veteran, so he might be too costly. However, he's coming off a year in which he played just two games after tearing his triceps, so perhaps his market won't be as robust and he'll sign more of a prove-it deal. Either way, he'd be a big upgrade.
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Jordan Matthews, wide receiver
The Vikings have a strong 1-2 combination at wide receiver in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Finding a No. 3 has been a struggle. Former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell hasn't exactly stepped up, Chad Beebe and Brandon Zylstra are nice stories but very inexperienced and Aldrick Robinson, who is probably better suited to a role as a No. 4 or 5, is a free agent. Matthews seems like he'd be a good fit for Minnesota. He can play both inside and outside, has had productive seasons (three straight years over 800 yards from 2014-16) and is looking to rebound, meaning he'd probably be inexpensive. A trade to Buffalo and injuries slowed Matthews up, but returning to Philadelphia in 2018 he had 20 catches for 300 yards (15.0 average). He'd be a solid addition, but if not him there are a plethora of wide receivers available.
Jason Myers, kicker
Let's face it, Minnesota needs to find someone who can consistently make kicks. We don't need to go over the recent tortured history of the team, but Dan Bailey seemed like he'd be that guy in 2018 … but he wasn't, making just 4 of 9 attempts from 40-49 yards. Myers was so-so with Jacksonville in his first three seasons, but made the Pro Bowl in 2018 with the Jets, connecting 33 of 36 field-goal attempts, including 11 of 12 from 40-49 yards and 6 of 7 from 50+. There are only a handful of unrestricted free-agent kickers available. When you take into consideration quality, age and potential salary, Myers could be the guy. Besides, we have a feeling the Vikings won't rely on a rookie in 2019.
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Billy Turner, guard
As we've mentioned, the Vikings could use offensive line help and also don't have a lot of salary-cap room. Turner is a younger OL, he'll turn 28 in October, and started 11 games for Denver last year as well as 12 for Miami in 2015. New Minnesota offensive advisor Gary Kubiak was the head coach in Denver when the Broncos acquired Turner off waivers and a personnel advisor with the team when Turner moved into the starting lineup.
T.J. Yeldon, running back
Like Murray, Yeldon is a taller running back (6-foot-1). Yeldon has plenty of experience, with 30 career starts, yet hasn't been used that much, with 465 carries for 1,872 yards (4.0) average in his four-year career. He's another back with good hands, owning 171 career catches, including a career-high 55 in 2018. He's another RB who could be a nice complement for Cook with the ability to step in and start if needed.