After a 13-3 season and NFC Championship appearance, the Minnesota Vikings have been busy in NFL free agency thus far. According to the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Minnesota signed former Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins to a massive three-year contract, worth $84 million.
According to Pro Football Reference, Cousins averaged 4,392 passing yards per season in his last 3 full seasons with Washington. He’s also thrown 36 interceptions in those last three seasons.
Cousins is a talented quarterback, but may not be the right fit for the Vikings. Minnesota hasn’t had a quarterback throw double-digit interceptions in a season since Teddy Bridgewater threw 12 in 2014. This is a team that is used to protecting the football. The inconsistency of Cousins should concern Viking fans, especially because Minnesota will face some ball-hawking defenses next season.
The New Orleans Saints (3rd most interceptions), Detroit Lions (tied for 4th), Philadelphia Eagles (tied for 4th), Los Angeles Rams (tied for 6th) and Buffalo Bills (tied for 6th) were all some of the best teams in football in regards to intercepting opposing quarterbacks. Cousins will have to stay consistent in order for the Vikings to have a chance at returning to the playoffs.
According to Twin Cities Pioneer Press, the Vikings signed defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson on Friday, March 16 to a one-year deal for $8 million. According to Pro Football Reference, Richardson had 27 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one sack, and one interception in 15 games with the Seattle Seahawks.
The Vikings aren’t the only NFC North team looking to capitalize on free agents. According to Packers News, Green Bay signed former Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham on March 13 to a three-year deal, worth $30 million with $11 million guaranteed. This move is rather unsurprising when considering that this is the third consecutive year in which the Packers sign a tight end in free agency. Graham is a talented tight end who should be able to contribute to Green Bay’s offense. After recording 10 touchdowns last season with Seattle, Graham could be a viable target, particularly in the red zone.
Also, the Packers signed former New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson on March 13 to a one-year deal worth $4.7 million with $1.5 million guaranteed.
According to Pro Football Reference, Wilkerson registered 3.5 sacks and 26 tackles last season with the New York Jets. Green Bay was tied for 17th in the NFL last year with 37 sacks. The addition of Wilkerson should help improve their defense, as Green Bay looks to bounce back from a 7-9 season.
Overall, I think both of these teams did a decent job in free agency. Kirk Cousins could potentially struggle with the Vikings and it will be interesting to see how well he works with Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. As for the Packers, they failed to address their porous secondary in free agency, but the addition of Wilkerson will boost their pass rush. As for Jimmy Graham, he could have a great season with Green Bay, assuming quarterback Aaron Rodgers is healthy for next year.