Affordable young players will make the defense faster and better
The Vikings parted ways with a number of notable defensive names this offseason that included Linval Joseph, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Xavier Rhodes, Stephen Weatherly, Andrew Sendejo, and Jayron Kearse. As for Everson Griffen, the verdict is still weirdly not yet known on his 2020 destination.
Four of the players mentioned above are old or appeared old with their 2019 performances. Joseph played just 51 percent of Minnesota’s defensive snaps in 2019 and he was slated to make a boatload of 2020 contract cash. The Vikings indirectly swapped him for a younger version of himself in free agent Michael Pierce. The team saved money and got younger at the position.
Rhodes’ skill set appeared severely diminished last season and he was also scheduled to earn top cornerback dollars in 2020. Waynes is not old, but he was not worth the money the Cincinnati Bengals put in his piggy bank this year while Sendejo was only kept around to start in case of emergency.
Losing these aging personalities should not be considered a detriment. At the very least, their exoduses should be in the “cost of doing business” discussions as opposed to “we lost all of this irreplaceable talent” chatter.
In every depth chart spot mentioned above, a younger, hungrier, and affordable player waits for his chance. From Ifeadi Odenigbo, Jeff Gladney, Mike Hughes, Cameron Dantzler, to Michael Pierce, the suitors await.
Furthermore, neither Joseph, Rhodes, Griffen, Waynes, nor Sendejo were otherworldly in 2019. A coherent case can be presented that it would have been foolish to pay any of them top dollar to return in 2020.
On age, this all goes without mentioning that some staples of the Vikings defense like Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, and Anthony Harris are either in their prime or entering their prime physical years.