2018 ScheduleAll times ET

2018 Schedule
8-7-1, 2nd in NFC North
Harry How/Getty Images
5hCourtney Cronin

Zimmer on CB Rhodes: 'He needs to play better'

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer is challenging Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes to play better in 2019. "We're paying him a lot of money, he needs to play up to that contract," Zimmer said on Tuesday.

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

Mike Zimmer reiterated his emphasis of wanting to run the ball more in 2019, but isn't committed to a strict 50-50 balance, rather to be determined on a game-by-game basis. The stress he sees put on a defense by teams that run the football successfully is what he relays in the offensive meetings he's sat in this offseason. "If you look at the teams that played really good on offense this year -- final four teams, whatever you want to call it – they ran the ball. Everybody said, ‘Oh this is a passing (league), this and that.' The good offenses run the football and it doesn't have to be, when I say run the football, it doesn't mean like we're never going to throw it, but it sets up your play action. I know what's hard on a defense and when I go in and sit with an offense every single day and I said, ‘Hey, look. This is what's hard to defend. This is what's difficult for defenses.' That's kind of my input on it."

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

Zimmer on how Anthony Barr remaining with the Vikings in free agency unfolded: "I kind of anticipated that we probably weren't going to have him back so that's kind of how I was thinking all along. Then he started wavering a little bit and we lost a couple guys right in that period so it was really good, it was kind of like – wow – we kept one of our good guys and kind of refreshing. It was exciting."

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

Mike Zimmer said he had a really interesting conversation with 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan on Monday night about Kirk Cousins and explained how much the Shanahan influence in what Cousins will soon be working with under Gary Kubiak will help him elevate his game in Year 2. Bottom line, Zimmer said, "It's games. That's where he's got to play better," but the offensive philosophy and terminology Cousins is already used to within this West Coast system is what he believes will help him make the jump. "He's going to play good," Zimmer said. "This offense with Kubiak and Stefanski is going to be right down his alley. So I think this is going to be a really good fit for Kirk."

Mike Triplett ESPN Staff Writer 

The Saints added yet another former Vikings player – agreeing to a deal with longtime Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels, a source confirmed. Sherels has five career punt return TDs and just averaged 12.0 yards per return last season for the third time in his career. The Saints could use a boost after ranking in the NFL's bottom 10 in that category the past two years and letting return specialist Tommylee Lewis leave for the Lions in free agency. The St. Paul Pioneer Press was the first to report Sherels' deal, saying it was for one year. Other terms have not been disclosed.

Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire
6dCourtney Cronin

Vikings sign veteran offensive lineman Kline

Guard Josh Kline has signed with the Minnesota Vikings, the team announced Wednesday. A source tells ESPN's Courtney Cronin that the deal is for three years and is worth $15.75 million.

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

Vikings re-signed Ameer Abdullah on Monday, a move that provides depth in the running back room as Minnesota looks to build its personnel behind Dalvin Cook and on special teams in the return game.

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire
12dCourtney Cronin

Vikes' Barr on spurning Jets: 'Followed my heart'

Anthony Barr said the hours leading up to his decision to renege on his agreement to join the Jets and re-sign with the Vikings marked "one of the worst days of my life," but he said he's ultimately at peace with it.

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

Anthony Barr called Monday "one of the worst days of my life" after instantly regretting his decision to join the Jets via a verbal commitment his agent, Brian Murphy, gave to the organization. "I think I was trying to convince myself of something all day," Barr said. "I didn't have to convince my heart because it already knew what it wanted." In the end, the linebacker left millions on the table to rejoin the place where his heart was all along and is set to begin his sixth season with the Minnesota Vikings after re-signing with the franchise on a 5-year, $67.5 million deal on Wednesday.

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen has agreed to the terms of a contract restructure, multiple sources told ESPN, and signed his deal around 3 p.m. CT on Thursday. To avoid becoming a cap casualty, Griffen agreed to drop his base salary from $10.9 to $6.4 million in 2019 while is weekly roster bonuses went from $500K to $1.5 million. Griffen's cap hit was initially $11,743,750 and is now $7.931, which created $3.8 million in cap space for the Vikings, who entered Thursday with $2.95 million in available spending money. More importantly, Griffen agreeing to take a pay cut allows him to stay with the team that drafted him nine seasons ago and supported him through off-the-field issues dealing with mental health that caused him to miss five weeks last season. Griffen's deal in 2019 is set to pay him around $8 million total. Griffen is still under contract through 2022 after signing an extension two years ago in 2017. According to a league source, the defensive end is able to void the final three years of his contract after the 2019 season for increasing his playing time or sack numbers from what he accrued last season.

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

At the start of the new league year, Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes' salary ($9.069 million 5th year option) is now fully guaranteed. Minnesota was able to fit Anthony Barr under the cap without moving any parts of its roster by giving him a fully GTD $2.9 million base salary/$13 million signing bonus on his new deal which comes with a $5.6 million cap hit. The Vikings still have work to do with defensive end Everson Griffen, who is milling over the restructure terms presented by the Vikings on Tuesday. Griffen's $10.9 million base salary becomes fully GTD on Friday and given where the Vikings are with their cap, the DE will have to agree to a reworked deal or will be subject to a cut or trade by the Vikings. It's also important to keep an eye on tight end Kyle Rudolph for a possible restructure given his $7.625 million cap hit in 2019. Though Rudolph and his agent have publicly refuted that Minnesota has asked him to restructure, it would make sense for the 29-year-old TE to take a potential pay cut if he wants to stay with the Vikings.

John Pluym ESPN 

All Day is All Payday, too. Washington Redskins RB Adrian Peterson, who is re-signing with the team on a two-year deal, has career earnings of $98,721,471, according to overthecap.com. Peterson, selected seventh overall in the 2007 draft by the Minnesota Vikings, is eighth in career rushing yards with 13,318. AD could pass Curtis Martin (14,101), LaDainian Tomlinson (13,684) and Jerome Bettis (13,662) this season.

John Pluym ESPN 

The New York Giants have a history of trading marquee players in addition to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. In 1964, they traded future Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff to the Washington Redskins. In 1972, they traded future Hall of Fame QB Fran Tarkenton, who would go on to lead the Minnesota Vikings to three Super Bowls. Will OBJ join Huff and Tarkenton as another Giants player who left New York and then was enshrined in Canton?

Courtney Cronin ESPN Staff Writer 

It's been quiet on the Everson Griffen front today, but that doesn't mean there isn't work going on behind the scenes. I'm told that Griffen and his representation have been approached with the terms of a restructure from the Vikings and that the defensive end has expressed a desire to remain in Minnesota, but doing so will probably have to come via different terms than the way his contract is currently structured with $10.9 million of his base salary set to become fully guaranteed on Friday. As of right now, the ball is in Griffen's court as to whether he wants to accept the new terms the Vikings laid forth or aim to continue his career elsewhere. It's possible that these talks could continue on past the 3 p.m. start of the new league year on Wednesday. Theoretically, the Vikings could structure Anthony Barr's new deal to fit under the cap in 2019 to buy them time to work through talks with Griffen, but in the end, whether the DE takes a restructure is likely going to determine his future in Minnesota.

Team Stats

Passing Yards252.313th
Rushing Yards93.330th
Points For22.519th
Points Against21.39th