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The player that should be the Vikings’ top target is about to hit free agency

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By: Christopher Gates

Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

And, yes, he has connections to Brian Flores, too

We’re just about a week away from the start of free agency, and a player whose talent intersects perfectly with one of the Minnesota Vikings’ biggest needs is about to hit the market without restrictions.

Our friends from The Phinsider are reporting that the Miami Dolphins will not be placing the franchise tag on defensive lineman Christian Wilkins before tomorrow’s 3:00 PM Central deadline for doing so, meaning that he will be an unrestricted free agent.

Wilkins was the Dolphins’ first-round pick (#13 overall) in the 2019 NFL Draft out of Clemson. He has spent his first five NFL seasons with the Dolphins and during that time has proven to be one of the better interior linemen in the league, particularly in terms of getting after the opposing quarterback. This past season, Wilkins started all 17 games for the Dolphins. . .he hasn’t missed a game since 2020. . .and had 65 combined tackles to go along with nine quarterback sacks.

The Vikings, for all the improvement they showed on defense from 2022 to 2023 under Brian Flores, were still pretty awful when it came to generating a pass rush on the interior. Flores coached Wilkins when he was the Dolphins’ head coach from 2019 to 2021 and would be quite familiar with Wilkins’ abilities. If the Vikings wanted to pursue him, he would provide a significant boost to the Minnesota pass rush.

Honestly, even if the Vikings manage to find a way to bring Danielle Hunter back, Wilkins should be the team’s top free agent target. His presence up front would improve the defense at every level, given his ability to get to the quarterback and make things a bit easier on what looks to still be a young secondary.

The franchise tag amount for Wilkins would be $22.1 million and while the Dolphins weren’t willing to pony up that sum for this year it wouldn’t be surprising to see Wilkins get that much from somebody.

Do you think the Vikings should go hard after Christian Wilkins in free agency next week, folks?

Originally posted on Daily Norseman