For Shaun Hill being the only new addition to this roster, the Vikings reports are flying around and getting shot down faster than the ducks on the original shooting game for Nintendo. It is quite frustrating, not because the team is staying patient, but because these reports and rumors keep getting our hopes up.
The Adrian Peterson situation, obviously, doesn’t help matters.
Anyways, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge five available free agents that I think (separate from Arif’s fine listings) are the best available for Vikings fans to dream about. If anything else, it might provide with a nice break from all the contradictions floating about right now.
5. Brandon Spikes – ILB – Age 27
Spikes is a two-down type of guy, by most accounts, but I have no problem with that. I think the Vikings need to acquire more than one inside linebacker this offseason and they don’t both need to be sideline-to-sideline types of players. I also think Spikes, despite a nice year in Bufffalo, could come at a fairly reasonable price. Right now, there are no definitive reports of a landing spot for Spikes, so he could be the type of bargain Rick Spielman has been waiting for.
4. Rolando McClain – ILB – Age 26
I’m putting the “buyer beware” tag on this one for the simple fact that I have no idea why the Cowboys have yet to sign McClain back after the excellent season he put on tape in 2014. McClain only landed in Dallas because he flunked out of the NFL after starting in Baltimore, so there is a worrisome history there, but he played so well in Dallas… I just don’t get it. Mike Zimmer was credited for a number of reclamation projects in Cincinnati and has a pressing need for an inside linebacker, so I could get on board with a move like this… but, again, I’m not aware of the reasons behind his quiet start to free agency.
3. Michael Johnson – Defensive End – Age 28
I love Brian Robison, but he just didn’t seem as effective in Mike Zimmer’s defense as he was in the past. Conversely, Michael Johnson certainly wasn’t as effective playing outside of Zimmer’s defense, and Tampa Bay released him after only one year. Johnson is expected to visit the Vikings on Friday and make a choice between returning to Zimmer in Minnesota or returning to his former teammates in Cincinnati. I normally pound the table for released players over true unrestricted free agents, because they don’t count against you in the compensatory pick formula, but I don’t think our outgoing free agents are going to net us anything next year anyways.
2. Chris Culliver – Cornerback – Age 26
I’m not totally comfortable, despite my optimism, with our current group of corners. Maybe I’m just gun shy after so many years of watching the Vikings field horrible secondaries. So, I’m not content with them sticking with what they’ve got, and Culliver is the best free agent option available. He’s got some off-the-field detractors and he’s only a year and a half removed from an ACL injury. Still, he bounced back nicely in 2014 and produced four interceptions. Culliver is currently scheduled to visit Washington.
1. Stefen Wisniewski – Center – Age 26
This young mammoth is capable of playing both center and guard. I could see him being an instant starter at left guard and his versatility certainly doesn’t hurt his value. Wisniewski is well known as a capable blocker in both phases of the game, but he is reportedly visiting Seattle who just traded away their starting center to acquire Jimmy Graham. A lot has been made about signing a replacement at left guard, but we have to keep in mind that the other four starters on the offensive line are all playing under lucrative contracts already.