The biggest waves of NFL free agency are behind us, but every year in the summer months there are acquisitions that ultimately affect teams trying to compete for the Super Bowl. It will most likely be the same story in 2023. Someone who will play a significant role for a playoff team has yet to make that roster.
For the Vikings, they are certainly one of the teams hoping to make a deep playoff run in 2023 before potentially moving on from QB Kirk Cousins. Because of that, and the cap space recently freed up in the Za’Darius Smith trade, Minnesota could be a player during summer free agency.
With that in mind, the former Vikings GM has a pair of free agents in mind for Minnesota. That former Vikings general manager is Jeff Diamond, contributor to our flagship site, VikingsTerritory.comwho is best known for being the man who brought Randy Moss to the Vikings.
So who are the two players the former Vikings GM has in mind for Minnesota? Two 2022 Baltimore Raven quarterbacks: EDGE Justin Houston and CB Marcus Peters. In Houston, here’s what Diamond had to say about what he could bring to the Vikings.
There should be an opportunity to sign with Houston now, given that he made $3.5 million last season (plus an additional $1 million as a severance incentive) when he played 44% of Baltimore’s defensive snaps as a rotation player and designated transferee. Houston has 9.5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 7 tackles for loss and 21 tackles in his 12 starts.th NFL season. He is 34 but clearly remains in top form as a player who never seems to age.
If we exclude Smith from the Vikings’ production and add Marcus Davenport, Houston’s total sacks would rank second on the team since 2022, QB hits would be second and tackles for loss would be third. Despite his age, he can still be a very effective player at this point in his career knowing when to pick his spots. As Diamond suggests, there’s little reason to believe he’ll sign a very lucrative contract either.
As for Peters, the 30-year-old CB would cost quite a bit more than Houston. He’s making $10 million in 2022 and might be in a bit more demand at cornerback for a guy who’s been a lock-down player for most of his career. Here are some of Diamond’s thoughts on why Minnesota should consider adding a veteran QB.
The Vikings could certainly use Peters in the cornerback group, as Andrew Booth Jr. is hard to count on. staying healthy and starting all season after he battled injuries in college and a knee injury ended his rookie year after six games. Akyleb Evans’ promising first season ended after 10 games due to multiple concussions, and free agent Byron Murphy Jr. Missed eight games in Arizona last season with a back injury. The injury history of these three current Vikings has me looking to add a quality vet to join a cornerback group that includes third-round pick Mekhi Blackmon and fourth-rounder Jay Ward, along with vet Joejuan Williams.
As Diamond suggests, it’s really hard to say exactly what Vikings have in their secondary lives. They got enough games out of Aquileb Evans last year, but concussions derailed his season before he could really establish himself as a starter. Meanwhile, Andrew Booth and Lewis Sinn, Minnesota’s top two 2022 draft picks, also saw very little playing time last year.
That being said, the Vikings won’t find out what they have in these young guys without trying them out. Perhaps it’s part of Minnesota’s 2024 plan. That would be risky, but without any big additions to the group outside of Byron Murphy, that seems like the direction they could go right now.
Overall, there are some interesting options remaining on the free agency market if the Vikings are interested. Perhaps the two that Diamond offers are exactly who Minnesota will target with their remaining cap space.
Josh Frey is a 2020 graduate of the College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com.. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, playing or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account. @Freyed_Chicken.