Using the George Paton connection with the Minnesota Vikings
New General Manager George Paton may look to lean on his former team, the Minnesota Vikings to help rebuild the Broncos defense. The Vikings could be looking to get younger and cheaper, so a logical connection between the two can be made. Look for Denver to sniff around the Vikings for potential trade targets.
Vikings trade target: Harrison Smith, S
If the Broncos move on from either safety, Justin Simmons or Kareem Jackson, the team may want to find a veteran to replace them. So, acquiring a 33-year-old safety would fit as the team grooms a potential long-term replacement found in the draft.
Harrison Smith only has one season remaining on his deal and performed well in 2020, so the drop off may be minimal from either Jackson or Simmons.
If the Vikings want to get younger, they may be willing to part ways with the five-time Pro Bowl safety, Smith could give the Broncos an elite player on the backend.
Vikings trade target: Eric Kendricks, LB
The Broncos have not invested a lot in their linebacking corps, but Eric Kendricks is the kind of player to change that. Kendricks earned All-Pro honors in 2019 and excelled in coverage, an area the Broncos must improve to compete with the AFC West’s elite tight end groups.
Kendrick’s under contract for the next three seasons, at a nice market value, and could provide the Broncos with a steady long-term solution as current linebackers Alexander Johnson (RFA) and Josey Jewell have contracts that expire after this season.
As Minnesota enters the 2021 offseason with little salary-cap space, they may start to sell off expensive pieces and Kendricks would fit nicely in orange and blue.