A little while back, I highlighted five players that are due to possibly become free agents and would be solid additions to the Vikings offense. Today, I want to do the same thing for defensive players.
Of course, some or all of these guys may never make it to the open market, but the speculation makes for good fun and gives us something to talk about while we wait for the free agency period to actually roll around. As always, let me know what you think, who I missed, who I shouldn’t have included, or whatever else is on your mind.
1. Michael Griffin, S, Titans
The Vikings have the potential to get better at cornerback simply by putting legal matters behind them (Chris Cook) and by getting healthier (Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Asher Allen). I’m not willing to say cornerback isn’t a need for this team, but I am willing to say that safety is the bigger need. Michael Griffin has been so consistent for the Titans in his five NFL seasons that it seems highly unlikely that they let him leave without a fight. He has never missed a game and is entering his prime at age 26. The Vikings could put a guy like Griffin to good use, without a doubt.
2. Stephen Tulloch, MLB, Lions
I wanted the Vikings to sign E.J. Henderson’s replacement a year early when Tulloch became a free agent last offseason. So, it stands to reason that I would like to see them sign him this offseason, after helping to lead Detroit’s defensive resurgence and also with Henderson likely becoming a free agent. In 16 regular season games with the Lions, Tulloch played very well on his way to 111 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, and five defended passes. At age 27, he could be a true block to rebuild the Vikings defense around.
3. Brandon Carr, CB, Chiefs
If the Vikings want to get younger, then the 25 year old Carr has to be an appealing free agent to target. Carr has started every game of his four year career and at 6’ and 207 pounds is a prototypical cornerback in the NFL. Carr is quickly developing into one of the best cover corners in the NFL. He had four interceptions this season, a career high, and has a knack for scooping up loose footballs. Carr isn’t going to be the flashiest name in free agency, but he could certainly become exactly what the Vikings were hoping they would get out of Cedric Griffin when they extended his contract.
4. LaRon Landry, S, Redskins
LaRon Landry has played like the best safety in football at multiple points, during multiple seasons, but over the last two seasons that production has been overshadowed by injury. Like any great safety, Landry’s body has taken a toll, and he has missed 15 games over the last two seasons. That fact may be what convinces Washington to let him test the market, and the Vikings have to feel desperate enough at the safety position to risk over-paying an injury risk with hopes of finally getting some big plays and big hits. Landry is a complete safety, when healthy, plenty capable of covering a receiver or tight end, rushing the passer, or delivering a blow to a running back.
5. Jason Jones, DT, Titans
Between Michael Griffin, Jason Jones and Cortland Finnegan the Titans are bound to let some good players leave in free agency. Like Brandon Carr, Jones is only 25 years old, so the fact that he is entering his prime has to appeal to teams like the Vikings looking to rebuild quickly. Jones has had a solid career that really took off when the Titans allowed Albert Haynesworth to leave town. In four seasons Jones has 112 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 15 batted down passes, and seven forced fumbles. The Vikings could use some help at the defensive tackle position as they slipped in run defense this year, and they went entire games with hardly any interior pass rush at all.