With Super Bowl aspirations, Vikings waste no time upgrading roster

Vikings, Browns make changes at kicker (1:03)

Adam Schefter reports on Minnesota replacing Daniel Carlson with Dan Bailey and Greg Joseph replacing Zane Gonzalez in Cleveland. (1:03)

EAGAN, Minn. -- The flaws exposed against Green Bay on Sunday called for the Minnesota Vikings to take immediate action, the most obvious blemish being rookie kicker Daniel Carlson's three missed field goals. Less than 24 hours after that game resulted in a 29-29 tie with the Packers, Minnesota parted ways with its fifth-round draft pick. Shortly thereafter, the team waived wide receiver Stacy Coley and nose tackle David Parry.

The Vikings brought in players at each position: Dan Bailey, the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history; Aldrick Robinson, a veteran receiver who built a rapport with Kirk Cousins in Washington; and Tom Johnson, the Vikings starting 3-technique defensive tackle in 2017 who gets to reunite with his former team.

Coming off last year's 13-3 record and appearance in the NFC Championship Game, the Vikings have remained proactive in their approach to improve the roster since the clock started ticking on the 2018 season.

Want to achieve quarterback stability for the first time in at least a decade? Go out and pay $84 million for Cousins. Hope to improve the interior pass rush on the best defensive line in the NFL? Scoop up Sheldon Richardson and put him next to Pro Bowler Linval Joseph. Bottom line: When there's a clear outlet to upgrade a position of need, don't hesitate to make it.

A proactive front office and scouting department is a head coach's dream, especially for a team aggressively trying to build a roster that can win a championship.

"I texted them the other night and told all those guys thank you for trying to get some more players in here," Zimmer said. "They spend all day looking at players around the league to see who might become available, and if they do, they've already got a book on them. I think we got a great front office. It's great to see. We felt like we needed to make some moves after that game."

Minnesota had the youngest roster in the NFC entering Week 2 with an average age of 25.47. The Vikings addressed areas of need with veteran additions, the most significant of which is a position they haven't been able to stabilize since Zimmer got to Minnesota in 2014.

"Hopefully," Zimmer said knocking on the podium, "[Bailey is] really, really good for us. I kind of feel the same way about him as I did with the quarterback position. If we can get that position solidified like we have with the quarterback, I think that'll be good."

Minnesota has been searching for depth pieces behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs for the past two seasons. Despite dropping critical passes against Green Bay, it was unrealistic to think a team already up against the cap would release former first-rounder Laquon Treadwell. That move would cause the Vikings to incur $5.215 million in dead money and tack on an additional $1.15 million in dead money to the 2019 salary cap. Coley was simply the easiest option for Minnesota to part ways with, in hopes that Robinson can assume a role as a vertical deep threat for Cousins.

There was no glaring issue with the defensive line, particularly the rotational pieces, after Parry recorded a sack against Rodgers on Sunday. But when Minnesota saw Johnson become available after he was released by Seattle after Week 1, the front office saw a window to further improve its pass rush.

"This team is stacked at all positions," Johnson said. "It's A1, big player, big team-type game. I think we're way prepared and the talent is crazy. I can't say that enough if you look from the top to the bottom."

While Minnesota has wasted no time correcting areas that needed to be fixed, the up-and-down play on the offensive line largely has gone unaddressed dating back to the offseason.

With Pat Elflein's return appearing close, it's possible that things will begin to jell better when the second-year center returns to the lineup. If Elflein does indeed go back to center, which is expected, the Vikings could move Brett Jones over to guard and Mike Remmers back to right tackle. If the O-line play continues to be a concern, they'll have no choice but to follow suit by upgrading the position.

The moves made over the past 72 hours support the notion of a team in win-now mode trying to forge a path toward a Super Bowl. That doesn't mean it's guaranteed to happen, but the Vikings are proving they're willing to move swiftly in their approach of bringing the right players in to help the team reach its high expectations.