Free agency has hit the Vikings hard!

Vikings
MGN Online

In my life, I have always tried to prioritize, and talking about sports right now is not very high on my list. No journalist has covered more big games across the country than me over the last 40 years, but today there’s no NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS, or NCAA basketball.

The summer Olympics have been canceled. The games have stopped. We are in a different place now, in a world public health crisis. Astoundingly, more than 10,000 people have died in Italy to date.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York said he expects 40 to 80 percent of all New Yorkers to test positive for the coronavirus. Yet in Florida and California, people are on the beaches freelancing using sunblock. In New York, they are in the parks mingling.

People, we are in a different place. A hundred million Americans are on lockdown, warned by our government to stay at home and stay away from their neighbors.
This invisible killer COVID-19 is spreading in our communities. Athletes, actors, entertainers, politicians, people in all walks of life—doctors, nurses, children, parents—all are in harm’s way. What’s sad is you can’t see it.

The NFL proceeded last week as if nothing has changed around us. Armed with a new collective bargaining agreement through 2030, free agency is underway, the official beginning of 2020. The Vikings traded star receiver Stefon Diggs and a seventh-round pick to Buffalo for four Draft picks, including a first-, a fifth- and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 Draft, as well as a fourth-round pick in 2021Diggs wanted out, that was clear. 

He could not stand quarterback Kirk Cousins and being the third option in the offense behind running backs Dalvin Cook and Adam Thielen. The Vikings found a way to still make a good deal.

Diggs had 63 catches for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns in 2019. He averaged a whopping 17.9 yards per catch. Diggs had some big seasons here—102 catches for 1,021 yards in 2018 and 720 yards and 53 catches in 2015. In 2016, he had 903 yards and 84 catches; in 2017 he grabbed 64 catches for 849 yards.

The Vikings have been hit hard on defense, losing veteran starters nose tackle Linval Joseph, DE Everson Griffen and CB Xavier Rhodes. All three were pro-bowlers at one time. They also lost starting corners Trae Waynes and Mackenzie Alexander to Cincinnati in unrestricted free agency, plus defensive back Jayron Kearse and DE Stephen Weatherly.

The Vikings extended QB Cousins two years for $66 million and extended tackle Rashon Hill and kicker Dan Bailey. The Vikings were 11-7 in 2019 and 2-4 in the NFC North. In 2020 they have holes to fill and have to replace some really good players. We will see.

About Larry Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald is a longstanding contributing columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. He can be heard weekday mornings on KMOJ Radio 89.9 FM at 8:25 am, on WDGY-AM 740 Monday and Friday at 9:10 am, and at www.Gamedaygold.com. He also commentates on sports 7-8 pm on Almanac (TPT channel 2). Follow him on Twitter at FitzBeatSr. Larry welcomes reader responses to info@larry-fitzgerald.com, or visit www.Larry-Fitzgerald.com.

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