There was only one “upset” in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, and the winner of that game was Tom Brady. Otherwise, both top seeds and the second-seeded Buffalo Bills advanced, leaving a league championship round with many of the league’s elites.
But as teams like Buffalo and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can attest, sometimes it only takes one Diggs move to change a franchise’s trajectory. Are there any elements from the final four teams’ journey that the Minnesota Vikings can realistically emulate going forward? Let’s take a look.
BUFFALO BILLS: SIGNING MID-LEVEL FREE AGENTS
The Vikings didn’t do much to hedge their bets after last year’s defensive exodus. Aside from adding DT Michael Pierce, who eventually opted out of the season, they did very little on the free-agent market besides retaining cheap in-house free agents like C.J. Ham, Dakota Dozier, Rashod Hill, Dan Bailey and Britton Colquitt. Minnesota poured a lot of its hopes into rookies, which may pay off in 2021 but did not work out early in the 2020 season. A better tactic might’ve been finding stopgap free agents to plug holes while the rookies became acclimated. That was the Bills’ approach.
Of course, Buffalo couldn’t count on the draft as much because they shed several of their picks in a blockbuster trade with the Vikings. Acquiring Stefon Diggs for four draft picks, including a 2020 first-rounder, was probably their biggest catalyst en route to a…