The Minnesota Vikings have a wealth of young talent on both sides of the ball, but they also have some key players who are 30 and up, which could mean changes are coming.
“At the end of the day, it ends up being a young man’s game,” said head coach Mike Zimmer, according to Ben Goessling of The Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The Vikings won 10 games and captured a Wild Card berth in the playoffs this year. They then went on to defeat the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card Round before falling to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round this past weekend.
Now, Minnesota enters an offseason where some tough decisions will have to be made. Long-time defensive players Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, and Xavier Rhodes are each carrying cap figures of at least $12.9 million, and on the offensive side, Kirk Cousins, Riley Reiff, Adam Thielen, and Kyle Rudolph each carry cap figures of $9.45 million or more.
“These players — the ones that have been with me for six years now — they’ve busted their rear ends, and they’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do. And that’s always going to come into play; how you feel about them as a person,” added Zimmer. “But I think you have to really look at: ‘He’s a great kid. He’s worked his rear end off. We love him here. Can he still play? Or, if he can still play, at what level is it?’ And then you’ve got to match that with the salary and every other thing, and match it with the salary cap. So there’s so many different variables.”
While some of those players will surely be around in 2020, there seems to be a good chance that some of them will also be wearing different uniforms next season.
And that's a tough pill for Zimmer to swallow.