Not too long ago, the Vikings were awarded 6th– round pick after losing Taylor Conklin to the Jets last offseason.
If all goes as expected, Minnesota won’t be able to add any more picks for 2024. The Vikings’ approach to free agency was pretty aggressive, all things considered. Things were slow at times for Minnesota.
However, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah brought in four notable free agents: T.E. To Josh Oliver, EDGE Marcus Davenport, C Byron Murphy and Dean Lowry. True, the losses of Dalvin Tomlinson and Patrick Peterson are notable, but the team also retained Garrett Bradbury, Andrew DePaola, Greg Joseph and Alexander Mathison. With this, there are fewer opportunities to return the equity capital raised.
The Vikings’ approach to free agency and compensatory picks
Before the start of free agency, Over the hat wrote a piece looking at teams that have a strong chance of landing a 2024 compensatory pick. According to OTC, the Vikings had a “High” chance to bring in additional capital. Look:
The Vikings have a very solid contingent of pending UFAs. Garrett Bradbury, Alexander Mathison and Irv Smith Jr. are young players looking for their first bigger veteran contract. Dalvin Tomlinson continues to play well as he looks for his third contract. Chandon Sullivan was a surprise that could take the next step elsewhere, and Patrick Peterson can’t be expected to continue a stellar career.
The final line proved prophetic. Peterson went to the Steelers to help revitalize their secondary after Cameron Sutton, the Vikings’ top free agent, ended up signing with the Lions. Tomlinson will help Kevin Stefanski in Cleveland.
Now, before we get into anything else, a quick word on how these picks are sent.
A section on the NFL’s website provides some clarity on how these picks are distributed; more or better qualified free agents lost than acquired in a given year“. “Teams are awarded compensatory draft picks between the 3rd and 7th rounds based on the league’s formula, which takes into account a player’s average annual salary (APY), draft value and postseason awards.”
To be honest, the league works in a somewhat arcane way when it comes to these picks, preferring cryptic confusion over plain simplicity. Regardless, we know that when a team loses impact players in big trades, assuming they didn’t bring in an equal number of impact players, there’s a good chance compensatory picks will return.
Essentially, the league’s pursuit of parity involves providing additional picks to teams that lose big talent to free agents, thus helping to offset the sting of that loss.
Last week we learned that the 49ers landed a staggering 7 compensatory picks. Amazing thing, considering they were a powerhouse last year.
As the OTC quote above implies, the Vikings entered free agency with plenty of notable players available. Irv Smith, Patrick Peterson, Duke Shelley, Chandon Sullivan, Alexander Mathison, Garrett Bradbury and Greg Joseph were the team’s most notable domestic free agents.
Currently, Shelley stands out as a player who makes a lot of sense to return.
The first day of legal offense was painfully slow at times for Minnesota. TE Josh Oliver was the first addition, a surprise move that basically caught everyone off guard. News broke Monday night that EDGE Marcus Davenport will be bolstering the Minnesota Pass rush department. Partnering Oliver with TJ Hockenson and then Davenport with Daniel Hunter offers the offense and defense some interesting looks.
Since then, we’ve seen Murphy step onto the field, thus filling the team’s major flaw: the lack of a true CB1. We learned last night that the DL depth has been bolstered by bringing Dean Lowry on board. In total, Minnesota has 4 significant additions compared to just 2 departures, which means things aren’t looking great for a more compensable pick.
After all, the most important thing is to be able to compete in 2023, not to add late-round picks in 2024 (something that is attractive). Making a deep playoff run and, dare we say, ending the SB curse in the coming year will make everyone forget about compensatory picks.