Thursday, July 30, 2015

Monthly Archives: March 2014

The sudden increase in the league-wide salary cap has resulted in a number of startling contracts through two days of free agency, but one has to keep in mind that the pot of gold has increased quite a bit, but NFL rosters have stayed the same size.  It only makes sense that contracts handed out today will be larger than their three year old equivalents.

Anyways, one of those contracts that might have prompted a few audible gasps was the one the Vikings handed out to defensive end Everson Griffen.  The initial numbers reported included a five year duration, $42.5 million total salary, with $19.8 million guaranteed.  These numbers seem steep for a relatively unproven commodity, but the Vikings claimed they are paying for the future, not the past.

They did, however, build in a little insurance.  By guaranteeing the first two years of salary, along with his $6 million in signing bonus, the Vikings can cut ties with Griffen after two seasons with minimal cap exposure.  The mainstream media has picked on the re-signing a little bit, mainly because Griffen officially only has one career start, but that stat is very misleading as his snap count and in-game impact has exceeded the expectations of most backups.

After the signing, word emerged that the Denver Broncos had been in contact with Griffen’s camp, and were prepared to offer him a contract in the neighborhood of $9 million per year.  Like the Bears did with Phil Loadholt last year, the competitive pressure may have forced the Vikings to quickly up the ante, but that’s the risk you run when you don’t lock up your own players sooner rather than later.

The defensive end market is pretty deep right now.  Who would have thought we’d ever see Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, and DeMarcus Ware all unemployed at the same time?  Still, I think the Vikings got one of the better speed rushers available, and he’s about the youngest option that was available.  With plenty of run stopping ends still available for cheap, and a need to build off of youth, I think Spielman made a decent call here as long as Griffen keeps himself out of trouble.

Adam’s Grade:  B

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Per Alex Marvez, the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with nose tackle Linval Joseph, formerly of the New York Giants.

Despite looking at a number of players in free agency that have had a number of systems’ experience under their belt, they were able to sign a deal with the youngest, and perhaps best, one-technique defensive tackle on the market.

Mike Garafolo (of Fox Sports, same as Alex Marvez) reports that the deal will likely be in the $6M+ range.

Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com
Photo Courtesy of Vikings.com

The Vikings claimed Shaun Prater off waivers on October 22, 2013 from the Philadelphia Eagles. Prater was originally drafted in the fifth round with pick 156 in 2012 by the Cincinnati Bengals. A knee injury derailed his rookie season and forced him on injured reserve for almost the entire year.

Geoff Hobson, the editor for Bengals.com wrote this about Prater last March.

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The rumors around the league are flying before free agency starts, and with backup quarterback Matt Cassel signed, the most obvious positions of need that free agency is well-equipped at addressing are becoming hot commodities to talk about.

The premier cornerback in free agency seems to be Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner, who had an excellent season last year, and has been a very good player since his introduction to the league from UCLA in 2010. In fact, in the last four years, Verner ranks 18th in adjusted yards per attempt given up of all cornerbacks who have had 1000 snaps in that period, and 12th of all CBs who have had 2000 snaps. In the more instructive, yet still flawed, yards-per-attempt given up metric, Verner ranks 7th and 5th of the two groups of CBs.

It remains, no matter how it is sliced, that Verner has been very good on film and in the box score, and his reputation as a physical, hard-nosed corner who helps in the run game can only help him. Given that he’s spent some time (successfully) defending the slot position, his value only increases.

It’s hardly a surprise, but the Minnesota Vikings are interested in him.

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