It has been known for quite some time that the Vikings would not be using their franchise tag this offseason, but they are still potentially affected by the process.
You can check out Vikings Gab for complete updates on who has been tagged so far, but I want to touch on a few specific decisions made by other clubs and how they might affect the Vikings in free agency.
DREW BREES, QB, SAINTS
Vikings fans should be glad about the fact that the Saints were unable to strike a long-term deal with their record breaking quarterback. If they had done a deal with Brees then they could have tagged guard Carl Nicks or receiver Marques Colston. Both Nicks and Colston would appear like attractive targets for the Vikings this March, and at the very least their presence will help saturate the market a little more.
RAY RICE, RB, RAVENS
The Ravens still haven’t done a deal with guard Ben Grubbs, so Rice getting the tag means that Grubbs might still hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent. With Nicks and Grubbs out there, the ability to upgrade the guard position is readily available for the Vikes, should they choose to do so.
DESEAN JACKSON, WR, EAGLES
Taking a speedy playmaker out of the free agency market, and possibly putting him on the trading block, doesn’t cause the ripple effect it would in a normal offseason. This year there are expected to a number of free agency and Draft options available to teams searching for a wide out or two. It should also be noted that Evan Mathis does not have a contract yet, and could contribute to the guard depth in free agency, too.
FRED DAVIS, TE, REDSKINS
Nobody truly expected to see Davis leave Washington this offseason, but it is still noteworthy because his franchise designation confirms that this free agency class is a shallow one that lacks much talent. The Draft class doesn’t look much more promising at the position. With the Vikings possibly looking to replace both Jim Kleinsasser and Visanthe Shiancoe, their ability to find quality depth behind Kyle Rudolph is a concern.
BRENT GRIMES, CB, FALCONS
A lot of Vikings fans had Grimes atop their offseason wish list. I wasn’t one of them, but I can understand the reasoning, but it doesn’t matter now. With Grimes getting tagged, however, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton is someone to keep an eye on. If he makes it to free agency, he will certainly command a lot of attention.
TYVON BRANCH, S, RAIDERS
I’ve already touched on my disappointment that this young and talented safety will not contribute to an already thin crop of safeties available this offseason. Safety is a huge need for the Vikings and Branch would have been a great addition.
More tags are coming, and we will be sure to keep you updated on ones that appear to have an impact on the Vikings this offseason.