Friday, May 22, 2015

Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Since 2010, NFL cornerback Marcus Sherels has played on a season-by-season basis.  Each summer that Sherels makes it through the Vikings training camp and onto the roster, it is a small victory for the 26-year-old.

This season is a different story.

Sherels proves first-hand that hard work and determination will go a long way in this league.  As stated in an earlier VT posting, Sherels found himself signing a multi-year contract with the Vikes. Sherels was a restricted free agent at the timehe was also the first FA Minnesota signed.  The new deal will give him $2.2 million over the next two seasons, including a $300,000 signing bonus.

A native of Minnesota, Sherels attended John Marshall High School in Rochester. He then went on to play for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, earning a scholarship after initially joining the football program as a walk on.

Sherels did not find an easy path to the NFL.  In fact, he went undrafted in 2010. Minnesota signed him to the practice squad during the 2010 preseason but cut him before the end of the month to make room for tight end John Nalbone. On October 13, however, Sherels was re-signed to the practice squad and Nalbone released.

The excitement of free agency has yet to wear down, but the details of certain contracts are starting to be revealed.  Yesterday we looked at the hefty deal given to defensive end Everson Griffen and most of you thought it was worthy of an “A” or “B” grade.  Now we’re looking at the guy we had listed as the top Vikings free agent of the offseason (Griffen was number two).

Quarterback Matt Cassel had leverage the minute he voided the second and final year of his contract with the Vikings.  It was arguably impossible for the Vikings to find a free agent better than Cassel and Christian Ponder was the only quarterback left on the roster.  Thus, he was able to gain more money and slightly more long-term security by doing so.

Cassel, who had a hand in each of the Vikings wins from last season, remains with the team under a new two year deal worth up to $10.5 million.  According to Spotrac, Cassel’s deal $5.65 million in guarantees and he will a $5.75 million cap hit this season.  The Vikings could cut ties next season with minimal impact to the cap situation.

Cassel still isn’t any sort of long-term franchise quarterback at 31 years old, but Rick Spielman would have been totally hanging his neck out there if he went into May’s Draft with Christian Ponder as his only viable option at the league’s most important position.  The Cassel signing gives the Vikings a playable quarterback, a trustworthy veteran mentor, and some much needed flexibility in the Draft.

Adam’s Grade:  A

After signing Captain Munnerlyn to a three year contract, the Vikings apparently continued their quest for secondary help, and the result is a reported deal with Derek Cox.

Cox has five years of NFL experience and most recently spent last season in San Diego, playing all 16 games with them.  He was a third round selection of the Jaguars in 2009 and was there for his first four NFL seasons.  He has 13 career interceptions and appears to be healthy again after some injuries caused him to slump for a couple of seasons.

At age 27, Cox joins an aggressive campaign to improve Minnesota’s defense in short order, and the competition will be fairly intense when training camp rolls around.  Still, Cox is not a guy to sleep on, and has the size (6′ 1″ and 195 pounds) to succeed if called upon.

More details will be posted here as they become available.

When the 2014 season concludes there will certainly be those that point critical fingers at things that happened this month.  Nobody, however, will be able to accuse the Vikings and Rick Spielman of ignoring the defensive tackle position.

After signing Linval Joseph and bringing Henry Melton in for a visit, the Vikings agreed to terms that will bring nose tackle Fred Evans back for his eighth straight season in Minnesota.  At 30 years old, Evans is coming off two of his best NFL seasons, and seems like a nice security measure signing to fortify the nose tackle position.

The deal he signed is of the one-year variety, although financial terms have not yet been revealed.  Last year, Evans had a base salary of about $1.5 million, and it seems likely that this year’s wages will be in the same neighborhood if not a tad cheaper.

As long as Evans keeps his cabbies happy, I don’t suspect this will be any sort of disaster, and just might end up looking like a very smart move if the injury bug happens to bite this defensive line in 2014.

Adam’s Grade:  C

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The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to a three-year deal, with details pending per Ian Rapaport.

Free agency seems to be going according to plan, and the Vikings are beginning to fill in every need except linebacker and quarterback—which is to be expected given the age of the linebacker depth (whom many are hopeful can start) and the general inability to grab a long-term quarterback option in free agency.

Munnerlyn resolves arguably the biggest weakness from the 2013 Minnesota Vikings defense, which is pass coverage from the slot position.

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