Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Blog Page 136

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The Minnesota Vikings are winnowing down the roster, cutting nose tackle Letroy Guion and wide receiver Greg Childs.

Letroy Guion has been a starter at nose tackle since 2012, and played at the nose tackle position since 2010, where he moved to after playing as a rotational under tackle for the Vikings in 2008 and 2009. Drafted out of Florida State in the fifth-round, Guion’s role has always been more natural at the 3-technique spot, where he played at occasionally in his professional years before the Vikings committed to Jimmy Kennedy (and later Christian Ballard) in the rotational 3-technique spot.

Initially a move designed to ameliorate the upcoming loss of Pat Williams in the nose tackle spot (and rotate in Kennedy), Guion saw significant snaps in 2011 after the Vikings signed nominal starter Remi Ayodele, who in fact saw fewer snaps than Guion over the year.

Guion outperformed Ayodele in those limited snaps and was installed as the starter, but has been wanting at best. He’s been moved around on double teams and hasn’t been an able run defender, though has been able to generate pass-rushing pressure in one-on-one situations at times.

All of the strengths that Guion had, however, were replicated by his backup Fred Evans, who nearly outperformed him in every way. In his years with significant snaps, Pro Football Focus ranked Guion as the 60th of 88 defensive tackles, 85th of 85 and 60th of 69.

Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle to explain why Guion kept his starting job despite consistent underperformance and one of several black marks for former head coach Leslie Frazier throughout his tenure.

As for Greg Childs, the promising prospect out of Arkansas was deemed as a potential first-round pick as a junior before suffering a patellar tendon tear. His workouts in the 2012 NFL Combine were phenomenal, but his injury risk dropped him to the 4th-round. He began to look promising in training camp before an extremely rare bilateral patellar tendon tear (a simultaneous tear to both knees), a condition unusual enough that English and German medical literature only had records of 50 previous cases throughout the history of recorded medicine.

Sitting out two NFL seasons on IR, then the PUP list, Greg Childs’ best chance at making an NFL roster was this year, when his knees would theoretically be repaired.

He probably will have one more shot at best to make an NFL roster, but injury has clearly derailed an extremely promising career.

Letroy Guion cost $4.3 million in cap space, while Childs incurred a $645k cost, per spotrac. Because Guion had a signing bonus, his cut saves a net of $4 million, while Childs’ cut nets just under $500k in space.

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Another rumor roundup for this week, and it once again includes a lot of material from Tony Pauline and various local beat writers around the league.

The last rumor roundup I posted inspired a lot of questions online and in my inbox about the veracity of “my” rumors. The vast majority of the rumors posted aren’t really “mine” in that I haven’t been directly sourced most of them and they are published elsewhere. This is more of a summary of the work done around the league.

More than that, rumors are not reliable, all they do is give a little additional context to the speculation every fan does in the offseason. Check out Walter Football’s 2013 Rumor Results to see how useful they really are. Even more useful is this article from a former director of college scouting for the Bears, Greg Gabriel. Teams will lie.

Enjoy.

The free agency free-for-all is less than a week away and the Vikings have finally started to show signs of life here recently.

On Wednesday, they informed running back Matt Asiata that he would be tendered as an exclusive rights free agent.  As a result, Asiata will play under a one year deal worth $570,000.  According to the Pioneer Press, Asiata’s agent first learned of the team’s intentions during the NFL Scouting Combine, but the move hardly comes as a surprise to anyone involved.

Asiata is 26 years old and finally got to see some real NFL action towards the end of last season when both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart were injured.  He ended the season with 44 carries for 166 yards (3.8 yard average) and three touchdowns.  All three touchdowns came in one game against Philadelphia, less than two months after he tragically lost his father.

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The Minnesota Vikings want to re-sign Jerome Simpson, per Chris Tomasson at the Pioneer Press:

The Vikings want to re-sign free agent wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who has aired his desire to return. Whether that happens will come down to money.

A source said Wednesday the Vikings want to bring back Simpson for a third season. There had been doubts about that happening after Simpson was arrested last November on suspicion of DWI.

Unsurprisingly, the money will define desirability, but there is definitely an amount that the Vikings would say “yes” to. Jerome Simpson is being pursued by other teams, but should have his price reduced due to consistently average numbers and a worrisome off-field record with two different teams.

Jerome Simpson was the Minnesota Vikings’ leading receiver until the 14th game of the season, where Greg Jennings overtook him. Simpson, previous of the Cincinnati Bengals, has been on the same team as head coach Mike Zimmer, but they worked on opposite sides of the ball.

If the Vikings re-sign Simpson to the same price as before ($2.1 million in cap space, or $1.35 base salary, $250k in LBTE incentives and $500 in guaranteed signing bonus) it should be a good deal for both parties. Simpson isn’t a stellar receiver, but he’s a legitimate starting talent that can be phased into extremely good depth should Cordarrelle Patterson or Jarius Wright take over.

Just like with Jamarca Sanford or Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings fans shouldn’t let previous poor performances blind them to good performances last year (or in Sanford and Loadholt’s case, the last two years), especially as Simpson suffered a back injury throughout most of the year. He’s not a super star, but he was never sold (or paid) as one. Not everyone on a team needs to be special for a team to have an excellent offense, and Simpson can be great value, especially as a rotational player.

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Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reports that the Vikings are taking a “strong look” at Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll, who they drafted in 2010:

A source said Wednesday the Vikings are expected to take a strong look in free agency at Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll when he becomes a free agent Tuesday.

Carroll should be a cheap option in a free agency period that looks like it will be full of cornerbacks who may be worth less than their market value. Defensive Coordinator George Edwards has worked with Carroll the past two years as the linebackers coach.

The current defensive coordinator for Miami, Kevin Coyle, worked with Cincinnati under Mike Zimmer as the defensive backs coach from 2003-2011 and wants to sign Carroll as well, allowing him to test the market. Carroll might be seen as an average CB, which would be a big upgrade for the Vikings.

His first few years at Miami weren’t great, but the last few years have been solid. Pro Football Focus ranks him 52 out of 110 cornerbacks and ranks 35th of 81 qualifying cornerbacks in receptions given up per snap in coverage. A few Miami-specific draft evaluators have had good things to say about him, including Oscar Hazell:

In other news, Letroy Guion might reportedly be asked to take a pay cut:

Guion has been fairly poor in his time with the Vikings, and hasn’t been particularly great at being a nose tackle. While his true position in college was more of an under tackle, it’s fair to say he’s disappointed far more than he’s impressed. The Vikings are known to need help at nose tackle, and freeing up space to do that might be part of resolving that issue.

It might be better to cut Guion outright, however. Backup Fred Evans has outperformed him, as have the majority of nose tackles in the league. Even signing Guion for cheap seems like a waste of a roster spot.

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