3 Vikings players must be re-signed next season
December 12, 2020
The Minnesota Vikings are in a difficult preseason situation. Their inevitable wage-cap woes will escalate as a result of the lack of sales associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Vikings have so many 2021 NFL Draft picks that it’s easy to see where they’re going to look for replacements.
Here are 3 players that Vikings will have to re-sign in the next few years beginning with the role-players.
Hercules Mata’afa, DL
Hercules Mata’afa may be a way off the norm of the star Vikings pass-rusher, Danielle Hunter. But there is nothing to say that a young defensive liner cannot become a valuable contingency choice to go forward.
The former Washington State star worked tirelessly to make its way up from an undiscovered prospect to secure a spot in Minnesota’s plans, and shows the kind of effort and energy that is hard to root against.
Holding him around is not going to smash the bank, which is another major plus considering the Vikings’ expected financial troubles in 2021. So having Mata’afa re-signed to further improve his skill set would be a smart decision.
Eric Wilson, LB
Eric Wilson did a good job for the Vikings this season. Minnesota’s defense dropped some important names this year and Danielle Hunter and linebacker Anthony Barr were both without a stud defensive end for almost the entire 2020 campaign to further confuse matters.
Wilson may only be considered a Minnesota roleplayer despite the names of the stars elsewhere on the team. But it could not be the case for much longer if he maintains his eye-catching upward trajectory.
Cincinnati’s unrecognized commodity has 90 shots (five for loss), three sacks, five throws defended, and seven quarterback hits on its label this season. Wilson has thrived with additional pressure on his shoulders, and the Vikings can now be assured in the player’s potential to get much better in the years to come.
Minnesota finds itself in a precarious situation from the point of view of the off-season salary cap. Big choices and compromises will have to be taken in order to maintain the long-term ambitions of the franchise, and while more established names are left to the public good, it is important that the front office retains progressive young people like Wilson.
Jaleel Johnson, DT
Jaleel Johnson might not be doing as well as the Vikings had hoped to do in the 2020 season, but it may be a little too soon to give up on the guy.
It’s quick to forget that Minnesota missed defense against Linval Joseph in the Free Agency when he left for Los Angeles Chargers.
If the Vikings don’t have to break the bank to pen Johnson on a short-term contract this off-season, it will encourage them to transfer him back on the defensive and allow him to focus on some of the issues that seem to impede his growth.