What do Recent Releases Mean for Minnesota Vikings?

Free agency is nearing and the Minnesota Vikings are feeling the heat to make the leap for a Super Bowl appearance.

The team made multiple cuts on Friday to clear salary-cap space for their roster. Defensive veterans Linval Joseph and Xavier Rhodes were told by the team of their release. Minnesota also released tight end, David Morgan.

The three roster moves by the team will end up saving the team more than $19 million when they were projected to have about $1.5 million in cap space, according to ESPN’s Roster Management System.

David Morgan was released with a failed physical designation as he missed all of 2019 with a knee injury. Joseph fought through injury issues himself in 2019 which resulted in lost playing time. The team struggled against the run with inconsistent play on the defensive line.

Rhodes’ play has been decreasing over the last two seasons himself. According to Pro Football Focus, Rhodes allowed a completion percentage of 81.5 and a passer rating of 123.8. He hasn’t been the same since his injuries in 2018 as his pass coverage skills have decreased.

What do the moves mean?

The Vikings got one step closer to the playoffs last season with their run to the Divisional Round. All the talent is there on the offensive side of the ball with Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Stefon Diggs. Defensively has been good as well, but struggled down the stretch in stopping the run and preventing big pass plays in the playoffs.

This means the team is looking to find ways of making that next step to play for the Super Bowl. The first step is to make salary cap room to be able to make moves. Minnesota will now have around $19-20 million to work within free agency and the draft. Don’t be surprised if more moves will be made to make cap room. Joseph and Rhodes were key players to the defense for several years, but their production is not to the liking of a potential championship team.

Age also needs to be looked at as a key aspect of the two being released. Joseph is 31 and Rhodes will be 30 heading into the 2020 season. The team played more younger players last season and saw good production from them. With age being a concern on both sides of the team, the Vikings must start thinking about a year or two down the road despite being ready to make the leap.

It’s a big offseason for the team as they prepare for their 2020 season and have a lot to accomplish before the end of the 2020 season. Kirk Cousins is heading into the last year of his contract and there are questions about whether Diggs will be playing for the team or trade him elsewhere. Now with the money to make a move or two, the team can focus on building their defense and get ready for their run at a Super Bowl title.

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