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The Vikings had an eventful offseason where the team had to decide whether to overhaul the roster or continue to build for the short term.
For the most part, Minnesota built for the short term, signing free agents to one-year deals in hopes of competing for the postseason in 2021.
What does the team have to show for it? So far, a 5-7 record. The Vikings have made some regrettable decisions. Here are three that come to mind:
Trading for TE Chris Herndon
Photo: AP Photo/Darryl Webb
The Vikings dealt a fourth-round pick to the Jets in exchange for Herndon and a sixth-rounder. With Irv Smith Jr. injured, the move made sense. The Vikings needed tight end depth and Herndon had the capability of improving under better quarterback play.
However, Herndon has just three receptions, 23 receiving yards and a touchdown this year. His lackluster numbers do not warrant the trade decision.
Trading away DE Stephen Weatherly
Photo: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports
At the time, the Vikings trading Weatherly before the deadline could be rationalized. Minnesota had a healthy defensive line rotation, and Weatherly wasn’t playing much. How much of a factor could he play with Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and D.J. Wonnum all in the mix?
So Minnesota sent Weatherly and a 2023 seventh-round pick to Denver for a 2022 seventh-round draft choice. Then, the Vikings defensive line depth fell off. Minnesota saw Danielle Hunter go down with a season-ending injury. Everson Griffen is currently on the NFI list. Wonnum has played well, but the Vikings could use more edge rushers. If only.
Not drafting an edge rusher earlier
Photo: AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File
Even if the Vikings kept Weatherly, he wasn’t exactly thriving in his limited reps. Minnesota seemed like it had a clear and obvious hole at the defensive end spot opposite Hunter heading into 2021. The Vikings didn’t draft a defensive end until the third round when they took Patrick Jones II. Jones has four tackles this year.
Griffen surprised this year by rising through the ranks and emerging as a starting-caliber defensive end yet again, but that was lucky. Minnesota needs to be so lucky to be good. The Vikings should have realized they needed edge rusher depth, because look at where the team is now.