6 free agents the Vikings should already be thinking about for 2021

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Ryan Fitzpatrick
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Ryan Fitzpatrick /
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Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Sheldon Rankins /

Sheldon Rankins – DT

Earlier this year, the Vikings were able to reach a deal with free-agent nose tackle, Michael Pierce. Unfortunately, Minnesota hasn’t been able to utilize Pierce in their defense this season since he opted out of the year due to COVID-19 concerns.

Pierce should be back out on the field in 2021 and then the Vikings will need to figure out who to line up next to him at their three-technique defensive tackle spot.

Sheldon Rankins will be one of the top three-techniques available in free agency next year and he would be a great addition to Minnesota’s defensive line. As a member of the New Orleans Saints since 2016, Rankins has racked up a total of 17.5 sacks, 25 tackles for a loss, and 42 quarterback hits.

The Vikings haven’t had much of an interior pass rush since Sheldon Richardson left in 2019 and Rankins could be someone who could help in that department.

The 26-year-old defensive tackle has dealt with some injuries in each of the last two seasons and he’s currently on the Saints injured reserve list with an MCL sprain in his left knee, but it’s not expected to be something that keeps him out of action for the rest of the year.

If Minnesota doesn’t believe Rankins’ recent injuries are a concern, then he is definitely someone they should pursue in free agency during the 2021 offseason.