ESPN grades the Minnesota Vikings’ 2018 offseason moves

LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Kirk Cousins
LANDOVER, MD - NOVEMBER 20: Quarterback Kirk Cousins /

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin recently evaluated the moves made in free agency so far by the Minnesota Vikings since the new league year began in March.

It has been awhile since the Minnesota Vikings made a big splash in free agency. They have had a few significant signings in the recent past (Greg Jennings, Riley Reiff, Linval Joseph, Captain Munnerlyn), but the Vikings have mostly been able to build their ideal roster through the draft and by signing low-cost, role players.

After finishing last year one game short of playing in the Super Bowl, Minnesota clearly felt the need to do whatever they could this offseason to take the next step in 2018 and improve upon last season’s success.

Their commitment to winning a championship was made loud and clear when they signed free-agent quarterback Kirk Cousins to a fully guaranteed $84 million contract. And if that wasn’t enough already, the Vikings also added free-agent defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to their 2018 roster just a day after signing Cousins.

As is normally the case, a number of publications have evaluated Minnesota’s roster moves so far this offseason and some have even assigned a letter grade to the work the front office has done. One of those to already grade the Vikings’ decisions so far this year was ESPN’s Courtney Cronin.

Cronin covers Minnesota for ESPN and recently provided what she believed to be the correct letter grade for the team’s transactions so far in 2018.

Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings /

Minnesota Vikings

"“A.It took two years of strategic planning for Minnesota to enter free agency with $53 million in salary-cap space. The Vikings set themselves up to be able to get any quarterback they wanted this offseason, and that’s exactly what they did in offering Kirk Cousins — 2018’s top free agent — an unprecedented fully-guaranteed contract. The Minnesota brass felt the franchise was a quarterback away from a Super Bowl and secured their man — and then some — with the acquisition of Cousins and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. These two signings alone put the Vikings among the NFL’s biggest offseason winners. Now it’s up to these players, along with the rest of this loaded roster, to win this season.”"

It’s hard to disagree with her when the Vikings did sign two of the NFL’s top free-agents this offseason. Some could even argue that Cousins and Richardson were the top two players available in free agency this year.

Next: Which remaining 2018 free-agents could the Vikings sign?

These two signings alone made it very clear what Minnesota’s goal is for next season. The Vikings are going after the Vince Lombardi trophy in 2018 and anything less will likely be a huge disappointment.