Rick Spielman had a busy 2017 offseason. With the Vikings on the precipice of contention, he made a bunch of signings at key positions to push the Vikings over the edge. With a 13-3 record and a NFC Championship Game appearance, it is safe to say he largely accomplished his goal.
Not every signing paid off, but most, especially at offensive line, played a huge role in the Vikings’ turnaround. Here are the grade Spielman earns for each offseason signing.
QB Case Keenum: A
Regardless of your feelings of Keenum’s ability to be a franchise quarterback, Spielman deserves a lot of credit for this signing. Keenum was a career journeyman atop the quarterback scrap heap and Spielman caught just enough lightning in a bottle to give the Vikings life. Keenum was the perfect fit for the offense and provided more than most backup quarterbacks ever will. While it may have been a one-year wonder, the fact is this signing may very well have made the Vikings’ season.
RB Latavius Murray: B-
Spielman signed Murray not long after letting Vikings legend Adrian Peterson walk. With Murray’s Pro Bowl history and production in Oakland, the general feeling was that he would be the primary back. Rookie Dalvin Cook changed that for the first four games, leading to many souring on Murray. But once Murray took over lead back duties following Cook’s injury, he proved to be a capable, if unexciting runner. He led the Vikings in rushing with 842 yards and scored eight touchdowns while only fumbling once. Sure, his average of 3.9 yards per carry is less-than-stellar. But alongside Jerick McKinnon, Murray filled the thunder portion of their thunder-and-lightning duo moderately well.
WR Michael Floyd: F
Floyd missed the first four games of the season due to a substance abuse suspension. When he returned, the hope was he would step in as the number three receiver and ignite the passing game. Instead, Floyd ended up as the fifth option at receiver, out-targeted by both Laquon Treadwell and Jarius Wright. With a long reception of just 19 yards and no touchdowns, Floyd was essentially a non-factor.
TE Nick Truesdell: N/A
Truesdell recorded four catches for the Vikings in preseason but failed to make the 53-man roster. He re-joined the Vikings as a member of the practice squad last month. There is no data to go on so he receives no grade.
LT Riley Reiff: B
Through eight games, this was Spielman’s best offseason signing. Reiff brought a steadiness to the blindside that had not been seen in Minnesota since 2012. However, Reiff’s play dipped in the second half, allowing more pressure and forcing Keenum out of the pocket more often. Even so, his work at the most important line position was miles better than what fans were accustomed to the last few seasons.
RT/LG Mike Remmers: B+
Remmers had nearly the opposite season as Reiff. Early on, Remmers was the one in the spin cycle, struggling to stay with faster pass rushers. But as the season wore on, he became more and more steady. By the end of the year, he was arguably the Vikings’ most steady offensive lineman, finishing as the fourth-best run-blocking right tackle in the league, according to STATS. Plus, when Nick Easton went down at the end of the year, Remmers filled the guard spot for the postseason, and performed admirably.
G Jeremiah Sirles: D+
Sirles was re-signed on a one-year deal last offseason. As the designated “swing guard” on the offensive line, Sirles was pretty hit-or-miss all year. At times, he filled in well for the injured Easton. But by season’s end, the Vikings were more comfortable putting Rashod Hill at right tackle and moving Remmers to guard. With a good selection of guards in the upcoming draft, Sirles time in Minnesota may be near its end.
Come back tomorrow when we hand out grade to the 2017 defense and special teams acquisitions.
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