The Minnesota Vikings have been extremely active since the start of free agency, making a significant splash in upgrading the roster for new head coach Mike Zimmer. As expected, the emphasis has been on a defense that finished dead last in the NFL in scoring against and 31st against the pass.
General manager Rick Spielman, who has preferred to build the team through the draft with 29 picks the last three years, has addressed every need the Vikings had heading into the offseason. From the transcript of a conference call Spielman had with the media on Friday on TwinCities.com, he had this to say about the recent moves made by the Vikings:
We are trying to be aggressive as we can, trying to hone in on specific guys that we know can come in and help our ball club and I think by the activity that we’ve done so far it’s by no means the end of what we’re going to do. We’re going to continue to monitor the market and work through the next couple of weeks, but it gives us the flexibility that we’ll need heading into the draft where you have to hone in and say you have to take this position. It’ll give us an opportunity as we develop our draft board to take the best available player
By plugging many of the holes the team had through free agency, the Vikings can really focus on adding depth through the draft. There won't be as much pressure for this year's draftees to become instant contributors. It also gives Spielman a lot more room to maneuver in the draft with the ability to trade down and receive some extra draft picks.
Here's a ranking of the moves the Vikings have made since they could negotiate with their own free agents. The order was determined by how each move either, improved the current roster by addressing their most pressing needs, or helped to set up other moves.
Note: All references to player contracts and cap hits are from Spotrac.com unless noted otherwise.