Vikings active on first day in NFL legal tampering period

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs #14 of the Minnesota Vikings drops a pass during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on December 02, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. ((Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images))

The NFL’s legal tampering period began Monday ahead of the league year and free agency starting on Wednesday, and the Minnesota Vikings were among the more active teams.

In the span of one day, the Vikings agreed to contract extensions with Kirk Cousins, Britton Colquitt and C.J. Ham, placed the franchise tag on Anthony Harris, traded wide receiver Stefon Diggs for four draft picks, placed a second round tender on linebacker Eric Wilson and lost Stephen Weatherly in free agency to the Carolina Panthers.

All the transactions will be made official when the league year starts on Wednesday.

Last week, the Vikings released Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph.

First and foremost Monday, the Vikings committed to their quarterback. Cousins passed for more than 3,600 yards, 26 touchdowns and a career-low six interceptions last season. He also earned his first career playoff win last year, leading the Vikings to an overtime win at New Orleans in the NFC Wild Card Playoffs.

Fullback C.J. Ham will reportedly get a four-year extension after making a career-high 17 catches last season, and getting a receiving touchdown. Ham paved the way for Dalvin Cook to have his first career 1,000-yard season, and for the Vikings to improve from No. 30 to No. 6 in the NFL in rushing last season.

The news emerged late Monday night that the Vikings were sending Diggs to the Buffalo Bills for four draft picks. They will send Diggs and a seventh-round pick to Buffalo for a 2020 first-round pick, fifth-round and sixth-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick. That’s an absolute haul for Diggs, a former fifth-round draft choice himself.

He’ll always be remembered for his “Minneapolis Miracle” with the Vikings, but he also brought drama to the franchise. He skipped practice after a Week 4 loss to the Bears, and threw tantrums on the field during games for TV cameras to see. While it appears he was unhappy playing with Cousins, he also had the best season of his career in Cousins’ first year in Minnesota.

Colquitt arrived during Training Camp last year and provided stability to the special teams unit, taking over punting duties for Matt Wile. Colquitt also held for Dan Bailey, who finished 27-of-29 on field goals and 40-of-44 on extra points last season, earning a $1 million bonus in the process.

The surprise move of Monday was placing the franchise tag on Harris. The Vikings could keep him at an $11 million price tag, or try to find a trade partner for him. Harris emerged as one of the better secondary players in the NFL last season, tying for the league lead in interceptions.

Monday was busy, and the Vikings aren’t done. Far from it. They still have decisions to work out with Dalvin Cook, Trae Waynes, Mackensie Alexander, Bailey and a few other pending free agents.