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3 moves Minnesota Vikings should make after Sheldon Richardson signing

Andrew Buller-Russ

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The past few days have gone great for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. After renegotiating with star defensive end Danielle Hunter, Vikes GM Rick Spielman quickly moved to bring back another strong pass rusher.

After Sheldon Richardson spent a season in Mike Zimmer’s defense in 2018 and started all 16 games, he’s back for another year aboard the Viking ship, per ESPN’s Field Yates:

For a team looking for more pressure from the 3-technique, Richardson fits that mold to a T. 

Along with fellow free agency signees Dalvin Tomlinson and Michael Pierce, the Vikings will have a lot of beef among the interior of the D-line. In obvious passing situations, Pierce can come off the field and Richardson can take his place for better pass rush efficiency.

Combined with the return of Danielle Hunter, the Vikings should have a much stronger defense than in 2020. But Spielman shouldn’t rest yet.

Here are three more moves the Minnesota Vikings should make after signing Sheldon Richardson.

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Minnesota Vikings sign Everson Griffen

Minnesota Vikings sign Everson Griffen
Jan 11, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen (97) interacts with fans before the start of the game against the San Francisco 49ers in a NFC Divisional Round playoff football game at Levi’s Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Sheldon Richardson’s coming back, so why not get the band back together and sign Everson Griffen too? Somehow the veteran pass rusher remains available in free agency and likely wouldn’t cost too much in terms of salary.

Speaking of cap space, it appears the Vikings still have roughly $15 million to spend, should they choose to. Affording Griffen on what likely would be an incentive-based vet minimum contract would be no issue at all.

How much does Everson Griffen have left in the tank? That’s the big question.

In 2020, Griffen tallied six sacks across 14 games split between Dallas and Detroit while playing a career-low 528 snaps. Bringing down the QB six times may not seem extravagant, yet it’s more than any other Viking defender had last year.

Griffen ranks 4th all-time in Vikings franchise history with 74.5 sacks. With the defensive personnel largely staying the same since Griffen’s departure in 2019, there’s a good chance if a reunion was likely, it would have already happened.

Is it really worth bringing in a known commodity when the Vikings have so many other pass rushers with potential already on the roster? Probably not.

If Griffen, 33, were signed, his snaps would take away from four recently drafted defensive ends already on the roster. Perhaps that’s the biggest reason the Vikings have not already brought Griffen aboard.

But if co-defensive coordinators Adam Zimmer and Andre Patterson feel like bringing in someone who knows the system with plenty of game day intensity, Griffen is their guy. 

Or there’s always Melvin Ingram. You can never have enough edge rushers. 

Minnesota Vikings trade for Graham Glasgow

Minnesota Vikings trade for Graham Glasgow
Sep 14, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) behind offensive guard Graham Glasgow (61) and center Lloyd Cushenberry III (79) in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

While the Vikings front office made some progress addressing the O-line woes this offseason, is it enough?

Graham Glasgow may not be a household name, but the former Michigan Wolverine is an above-average interior offensive lineman. For the Minnesota Vikings, that alone should pique their interest.

Glasgow has started 71 out of a possible 75 games at both guard positions and center since being drafted in 2016. For the Vikings who value O-line positional versatility as much as any other team, Glasgow could be a great addition.

Across 2,712 snaps since 2018, Glasgow has allowed just two QB sacks. In pass protection, Glasgow would be an immediate upgrade over the Vikings’ current options.

The Vikings drafted Wyatt Davis in the third round to play right guard and will likely start Ezra Cleveland at left guard. But Glasgow would provide another option at either position or center if things don’t go according to plan.

Playing in a Bronco offense with Pat Shurmur as the coordinator, Glasgow would fit the Klint Kubiak scheme smoothly. While Glasgow seems like a great trade target who would benefit the Vikings greatly, there’s no indication he’s actually up for grabs.

But if the Broncos season starts out poorly, you never know who may become available.

Minnesota Vikings trade for Brandin Cooks

Minnesota Vikings trade for Brandin Cooks
Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans wide receiver Brandin Cooks (13) runs with the ball during the second quarter as Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) defends at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Stuck on the Houston Texans, possibly without Deshaun Watson, wide receiver Brandin Cooks may be looking at the roster, begging his agent for a trade. 

Amazingly, Cooks has five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his seven-year NFL career and will be just 28 when the season starts. Unfortunately for Cooks, he’s missed the playoffs his past two seasons.

Missing the playoffs comes after reaching the Super Bowl in 2017 and 2018 with different teams, losing both times. Do you think he’s itching to get back onto a contender? I do.

Are the Vikings a contender? They’re a lot closer than the Texans appear to be and with Kirk Cousins plus an offense full of weapons, it could be a fun atmosphere to arrive in.

Cooks is under contract through 2022 and would form a potent trio with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen for Cousins or Kellen Mond to throw to.

One facet of the scoring attack that may be lacking in the Twin Cities alongside Jefferson is the deep ball potential. Add the blazing speed of Cooks to the US Bank turf and you have a high-powered explosive punch few teams could stop.

What would a Brandin Cooks trade to the Minnesota Vikings look like?

Cooks has played on four different teams and has been traded for a future first-round pick twice. Though this time, it shouldn’t cost that much to make a deal. 

  • Vikings trade: 2022 second-round pick, 2022 sixth-round pick
  • Texans trade: Brandin Cooks

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