Shining Consolations: Possible Boost in Free Agent Interest Comes in the Form of a Grades Report

I know that most of the fanbase is hung up on other things right now. Who to cut or resign, to blow it up or push one more time, there’s a lot of pressing decisions to be made. A survey that was recently conducted could help in that. A few days ago, the NFLPA finished a 1,300-player study on the quality of a variety of facilities and aspects, and the Minnesota Vikings landed in a surprising (and beneficial) position.

Purple and Gold Standard
The Minnesota Vikings landed in first, followed by the Miami Dolphins (what?) and the Las Vegas Raiders (WHAT?). Regardless of the suspicious placement of the two teams behind them, Minnesota achieved straight A’s through eight categories, including four A+ grades. The biggest reason Minnesota almost aced this study, from what I can see from the NFLPA, is because Minnesota has shown a willingness to devote serious resources and to fix an issue when it arises. “100% of the players feel like owner Zygi Wilf is willing to spend money to upgrade the facilities.” Quite a bright review of Wilf, especially when holding a position known for its corporate greed (F$@! you Spanos, f$@! you Snyder, I hope Stan Kroenke rots) and stubbornness to improve the team. Another move that increased opinions was dropping Mike Zimmer in favor of Kevin O’Connell, “who through his first year is regarded as one of the most player-friendly head coaches.” While not being A. a professional football player or B. a member of the Minnesota Vikings staff, I’ve been close to the team for my whole life. My great uncle was a long-tenured trainer with Minnesota (massive article coming probably during the summer), and that allowed for some unique opportunities. Does this grade align with what I’ve seen?

Family Ties
Outside of things relating to the report, when U.S. Bank Stadium first opened in 2015, myself and some family were allowed to tour the stadium long before opening week, something I haven’t seen with any other NFL franchise. Closer to the grades, I’ve been to Minnesota’s training camp. Just from walking around the outside of the facility and seeing the practice fields, you can absolutely see the dedication to keeping the training facilities top-of-the-line.

Investing in the Future
This, for obvious reasons, has incredible effects on morale and overall performance. Hopefully, it eventually translates to a title, but that seems like wishful thinking right now. This report can also help a ton going into a season where a key free agent signing or two can completely change the front office’s approach. Compared to other teams, Minnesota seems like it’s in a whole other league. Jacksonville had a rat infestation for over a month, Arizona makes their players pay for lunch at the facility, Cincinnati doesn’t have a family room, and Washington is still Washington. This is a massive step in the right direction, in both public image and image around the league.
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