For those who had green running through them, Saturday was a lost cause. For those of us who didn’t imbibe just because Amateur Night came calling, we’ve got a six-pack ready for watching NCAA games today (Wild fans have double that on reserve, with green on the outside and inside).
In Winter Park, there’s a six-pack of a different kind, six questions that remain unanswered deep enough into free agency that the back burner issues need to move forward.
The Minnesota Vikings are well into the free agency period and a lot of the top free agents that were on the market have been snapped up.
Whether interested or not, those tall ships have sailed out of the harbor.
Yet it would seem the Vikings have a lot more questions than answers at a time when other teams are finding themselves under much more solid footing after filling holes and vacancies. Here are the top-of-the-list questions that will need to get answered in the coming weeks and months.
1. Who’s backing up Sam Bradford? There has been no indication that Teddy Bridgewater is close to returning to action after his devastating knee injury and the team hasn’t re-signed Shaun Hill, giving the clear indication he’s not a priority. A young QB is sure to fill one of the available spots, but who will be the primary backup? Can Taylor Heinicke ascend or will a veteran still be signed?
2. What is the backfield room going to look like? Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon are the only two occupants with experience right now. Is Matt Asiata coming back? Could C.J. Ham or Bishop Sankey be contributors making the jump from the practice squad to the active roster? Is the new offense going to need fullback Zach Line? The Vikings need to fill a couple of spots here and there is no certainty as to how they’re going to do that.
3. How is the wide receiver room going to get filled? With Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson gone, the only sure things heading into next year are Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and 2016 first-rounder Laquon Treadwell. For a team expected to pass, there are spots open for a training camp fight.
4. Who is the other guard to start opposite Alex Boone? The Vikings brought in two outside guys to take over the tackle spots, but parted ways with two tackles and two guards in the process. Matt Kalil and Andre Smith have been replaced with Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers. But what about the guard spot – both starter and backup?
5. Who replaces Chad Greenway? Given the way the Mike Zimmer defense operates, five defensive backs are on the field more times than not, so this isn’t a catastrophic loss to the defense as a whole. Nobody will replace Greenway’s role as locker room conduit to Zimmer, but his production needs to be replicated or improved on. Is that player already on the roster?
6. Is Mike Priefer going to be gray at training camp? When the Vikings left their truncated Mankato training camp last year, they had Blair Walsh as their kicker, Jeff Locke as their punter and Cordarrelle Patterson as their electrifying, game-changing return man. Now? All three of them are gone and who exactly are going to be the players filling those positions? Special teams in Mankato this year is are going to be more muddled than they have been in more than a decade.
These are the current six-pack of questions being asked by Day 2 hangover St. Patrick’s Day revelers who vow they will never do that again – a vow they made last year and will likely break (again) next year. Unfortunately, for those who didn’t hit the Amateur Night pseudo-holiday circuit Friday, these are legitimate questions. Don’t take away that six-pack. Vikings Nation could use it about now.