Here are the moves the Minnesota Vikings should consider when free agency opens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday:
Sign Kirk Cousins: Despite the hefty price tag that comes with landing the league's top free agent, Minnesota has a chance to finally land a franchise quarterback. Signing Cousins could alleviate the problems of quarterback longevity this team has dealt with in the past decade while also upgrading the position. The Vikings have more than $54 million in available money entering the new league year, which means they can make Cousins the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history while not having to sacrifice key pieces elsewhere -- at least for right now. If they sign Cousins in March, they can also extend the contracts of Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks this offseason. Cousins has three straight seasons of more than 4,000 passing yards; in Minnesota, he can build on that with an offense loaded with weapons and backed by the league's best defense.
Have a backup option, or three, at quarterback: Minnesota goes into free agency without a starting quarterback on its roster with Case Keenum reportedly agreeing to sign with the Broncos. If the Vikings miss on Cousins, they'll look to Options B, C and D ... however many contingency plans they have lined up. If Cousins falls through, where do Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Bradford appear in this equation? The Vikings could also look outside of their own options with the likes of AJ McCarron, Tyrod Taylor or even Drew Brees. The Vikings could sign someone not named Cousins and wait until April to draft their quarterback of the future, but it's more pressing to find a starter and a No. 2 quarterback in the immediate term.
Outfit the offensive line ... again: Last year's biggest offseason priority is a continued need. The Vikings vowed to continue to build their offensive and defensive lines, and where that starts in 2018 is by upgrading the guard spots and finding a solution at right tackle. If the Vikings shell out for Cousins, it might limit what they're able to do as far as going after big-name free agents such as Nate Solder. Keep an eye out for any interest between the Vikings and Josh Sitton, Josh Kline and Chris Hubbard. Depending upon whom the Vikings pursue in free agency (and where they decide to play G/T Mike Remmers next season), an offensive lineman could become a draft priority.
Re-sign Tom Johnson: Improving their play from the three-technique position is important for Mike Zimmer's defense to function at a high level. Johnson, who turns 34 in August, played roughly 70 percent of the defensive snaps last season, a number Zimmer said might have been too high. The defense could use a better rotation next to Linval Joseph, though it might be difficult to check off this box completely in free agency. Re-signing Johnson, a trusted piece of the defensive line, adds critical depth. He can return in a reduced role and the Vikings can still look to the draft to find another defensive tackle.