Friday, November 27, 2015

Monthly Archives: March 2013

I am sure that Rick Spielman would like to orchestrate an offseason that sees the 31st ranked passing game take great strides forwards.  That is easier said than done, especially when your offseason begins with losing two of your top receivers.

One guy they did retain, however, is Jerome Simpson.  Simpson joined the Vikings on a one year deal last season, after his three game suspension was officially announced by the NFL, with high hopes that he could help ignite some sort of vertical game.  His season was plagued by injury and turned out to be quite disappointing, having never scored a touchdown or even gaining more than 50 yards in any game.

Still, the Vikings apparently see some of that potential there, and are hoping he stays healthy enough to be a legitimate threat in 2013.  They extended him to a one year deal, and the financials aren’t yet known yet, but I am willing to bet that it is equal to, or less than, the $2 million deal he signed last year.

Simpson’s signing was basically a zero risk move that gives the Vikings some flexibility.  He could be better in 2013, having seemed to start developing a chemistry with Christian Ponder towards the end of the year, and will get another chance to stay healthy and put together a full season.

If Spielman manages to fill out the depth chart with high quality playmakers then Simpson, who presents little special teams value, could still be expendable when it comes time to make final cuts.

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I’ll be honest, I was never sold on Mike Wallace on a number one wide out worth paying over $50 million.  I especially didn’t think it made sense for the Minnesota Vikings who will reportedly play two of their next three seasons outdoors.

I know that Wallace did well playing outdoors in Pittsburgh, but Pennsylvania’s winters are a far cry from what one will see in Minnesota, and the Vikings need to invest in their vertical game, but I don’t think investing that much into one player would have been wise.

News broke almost immediately, however, that Wallace signed with Miami which was the expectation all along.

As a result, the Vikings are being rumored to be chasing every wide out in the world, other than Percy Harvin, of course.  From Larry Fitzgerald to Victor Cruz to Sidney Rice to Danny Amendola to… well, the list goes on and on.

We’ll keep you updated when things grow legs longer than just a Twitter rumor.  I’m here with you all night.

On the surface, it makes sense for a team that obviously still considers itself to be rebuilding to release a soon-to-be 36 year old cornerback that carried a $7.5 million salary.

When you state it that plainly, it is really hard to argue with the logic, and therefore it shouldn’t be considered the most unreasonable course of action to take.

Still, when the Vikings released Antoine Winfield on Tuesday I couldn’t help but be a little upset at the Vikings organization, even while dismissing the emotional attachment I think most Vikings fans felt for the powerful little cornerback.

In 2009, Winfield agreed to a unique contract with the Vikings that was lauded, by both the team and the player, as a deal that would see him retire as a Viking.  The contract reportedly contained de-escalators (or escalators, depending on how you look at it) that greatly reduced Winfield’s salary in the final years of the deal.  The mechanism was based off of playing time.

The thought was that as Winfield got older the Vikings could relegate him to playing strictly out of the nickel, where he has always been at his best, and elongate his career while also paying him accordingly.

Instead, the Vikings used Winfield’s presence as an excuse to not seriously upgrade the cornerback position and constantly had to rely on Winfield to step into a starting role, seemingly week after week, which is how he triggered the pay raise.  During the time since Winfield signed this contract the most they invested into a cornerback was when they used a second rounder on Chris Cook, a known character risk, who has missed plenty of time with legal issues and injuries.

So, when I heard that Winfield refused to take a pay cut to stay with the Vikings, I was not surprised nor could I blame him.  His 2013 salary was a result of what he had done in the past, it was money he had already earned by being the great player we all know him to be, and this is one of those  rare cases when a player should feel entitled to money has not yet been paid.

Winfield gave us a ton of great memories over the years, including delivering a speech to his teammates last season that was cited as a reason for the defense playing better down the stretch, and he will be greatly missed.  The Vikings front office had an opportunity to improve their secondary and keep Winfield at a reasonable price.

Instead, they still have major question marks at the position, and Winfield had to be cut for cap reasons.

That is one to put in the “fail” column.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I didn’t expect today to be a big news day for the Vikings.  I was wrong.

I’ll hit each topic in greater detail as the evening progresses, but here is a recap of what has happened today:

  • There is no word coming out of Seattle about anything that will prevent the Percy Harvin trade from becoming a reality.  I am still ever-so-curious to learn what kind of contract they give him.
  • Cornerback Antoine Winfield was released by the Vikings.  His age and cap number are going to be cited as the primary factors in this move, but I have some harsh words for the Vikings front office coming up regarding this matter.
  • Right tackle Phil Loadholt reportedly was flirting with offers from the Chicago Bears, but just before the bell rang for the start of free agency he reportedly signed a multi-year deal that will keep him in purple.
  • Wide receiver Jerome Simpson reportedly signed a one year deal with the Vikings.  He may not generate much excitement after his disappointing 2012 season, but the fact is that his career is far more established than all of our other current receivers combined.  Assuming the financials are minimal, this is a no-risk move.
  • Tight end John Carlson agreed to restructure his contract.  This will help the Vikings gain some cap space and help his odds of remaining a Vikings.
  • Backup offensive lineman Joe Berger has also reportedly agreed to come back.  The deal is believed to be for one year.
  • Backup lineman Troy Kropog received an exclusive rights tender on Monday.

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Well, we don’t know what Percy Harvin’s new contract will look like quite yet, but we do know that the Seahawks paid handsomely for the right to give him his new contract.  They gave the Vikings a first round and seventh round pick in 2013, in addition to a third round pick in 2014, to take the troubled young receiver off of the Vikings hands.

I want to know what you think of the trade via the poll below, as well as the comments section.  Let me hear it!

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