While the Minnesota Vikings improved many areas of the team during the 2011 N..."/>  

While the Minnesota Vikings improved many areas of the team during the 2011 N..."/>

Free Agency Focus: Minnesota Vikings


While the Minnesota Vikings improved many areas of the team during the 2011 NFL Draft, there will be positions that still have questions with no answers. Even with the selection of Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder at No. 12 overall, many still believe the team is poised to make a run at a veteran quarterback in free agency that Ponder could learn under for a year or two. There is also room for improvement in the secondary, where both the cornerback and safety positions were hampered by injuries and inconsistent play during the 2010 season. Here is a look at the positions in which the Vikings might give extra attention to when a free agency period starts, whenever that may be.


Current Players Under Contract: Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Asher Allen, Chris Cook, Lito Sheppard, Marcus Sherels

The cornerbacks the Vikings will be losing as free agents are veteran Frank Walker and Lito Sheppard. It’s very possible that neither will be resigned and if they are, they will have to earn their position in training camp. After getting back one starting cornerback who had dealt with injury the season before in Antoine Winfield, the team lost Cedric Griffin in week 5 when he tore his right ACL against the Jets. Griffin had torn his left ACL the previous January in the NFC Championship Game against the Saints. Besides the starters, rookie Chris Cook was inconsistent, especially after tearing the meniscus in both knees early in the season. Second-year player Asher Allen showed some improvement but also gave up big plays at times. While Nnamdi Asomugha can be thrown in the discussion for free agent targets, my belief is the market will be too high for the Vikings. I expect teams such as the Eagles, Jets, and even Lions to be at the top of the bidding war and when all is said and done, I think the numbers will be too rich for the team to make a serious play. I would keep an eye on free agents such as Drayton Florence and Carlos Rogers as they have experience in the league and won’t draw as much attention as a player such as Asomugha. Eric Wright may also be an intriguing target but his struggles in man coverage might scare Leslie Frazier off.


Current Players Under Contract: Joe Webb, Rhett Bomar

First-round pick Christian Ponder isn’t under contract yet and won’t be until we have some sort of solution done on the labor front, but for now we will assume that he will be on the roster come week 1 of the 2011 season. While Joe Webb showed some promise in the week 16 game against Philadelphia this past season, he is likely not the long-term solution for the Vikings at the quarterback position. Rhett Bomar was an in-season pickup in 2010 and is at-best a backup this season for the purple heading into this season. It has been reported that Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has interest for playing the Vikings and I would bet this is the most likely signing of a free agent quarterback for the team, assuming he is released by the Redskins. It is also possible the Vikings could look at former Rams and Ravens quarterback Marc Bulger.


Current Players Under Contract: Madieu Williams, Eric Frampton, Jamarca Sanford

Safety Husain Abdullah is set to become a free agent but could be a restricted free agent depending on a new collective bargaining agreement as the Vikings tendered him. If the new CBA allows for him to become an unrestricted free agent, I would be surprised if the team didn’t make a big push to bring him back. He was put into the starting role at the beginning of the 2010 season and played well after making the team as an undrafted rookie out of Washington State in 2008. There have been many questions about the play of Madieu Williams, especially with the heavy contract he got prior to the 2008 season. Head coach Leslie Frazier has made it known that he expects Williams to be with the team for this season. The Vikings also drafted safety Mistral Raymond in the sixth round out of South Florida. This is a position that is not intact by any means and Rick Spielman and co. would make a move if it meant upgrading the position. Some names that I believe should be targeted are Bernard Pollard and Melvin Bullitt. Pollard would bring more experience to the team while Bullitt is an up and coming safety who is only 26 and could bring some speed to the secondary.