January 20-25 - Senior Bowl
January 26 - Pro Bowl
February 17 - First day of franchise / transition player designation
February 19-25 - Scouting Combine
March 11 - Free Agency begins
March 23 - Owner's Meeting
April 7 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with new HC
April 17 - 2014 Schedule Released
April 21 - Off-season workouts begin for teams with returning HC
May 2 - Deadline for RFAs to sign offers
May 8-10 - NFL Draft
Like most Vikings fans, I have already turned about 87% of my gaze towards the offseason, and thus I thought I would have some fun tonight and identify five pending free agents that I think the Vikings could benefit from pursing this offseason.
Of course, a lot will change between now and when free agency begins and some, if not all, of these guys are likely to be locked up by their current teams. I will have more well-researched and detailed free agency opinions as the time draws nearer, but in the meantime I thought I’d get the conversation started by identifying five guys (on the offensive side of the ball) that jumped out to me at first glance and may actually have a chance of landing on the open market. I’ll follow up soon with a similar list of defensive players.
Saturday was a tough day for Vikings fans everywhere. Despite getting a win over the Washington Redskins, about the worst possible thing that could have happened to this team happened. As you all know, Adrian Peterson, our star running back, the pride of Minnesota, was injured on the first play of the second half. (Eric Sugarman, the Vikings Head Athletic Trainer officially announced today that Peterson tore both his ACL and MCL).
Instantly, I was furious. It’s hard for me to describe exactly how angry I was. As Peterson lay on the ground, kicking and screaming, I knew that singular hit could have derailed AP’s hall of fame talent – could have derailed any championship hopes we had in the immediate future. It’s strange, caring so much about someone you’ve never met in your life. But watching AP pour his heart and soul onto the field week after week kind of makes you feel like you know the guy somehow. You want nothing but the best for him. While he’s on the ground writhing, screaming in pain, your soul hurts with him. So, what’s the first thought you have after such a heartbreaking injury?
Someone’s got to pay.
The Vikings continue to shut down injured veterans with less than a week remaining in their season.
Guard Steve Hutchinson was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after missing last week’s game against the Redskins due to a concussion.
His roster spot has been filled by running back Jordan Todman, whom was signed away from the Chargers practice squad after they selected him in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Todman replaced Donald Brown as Connecticut’s primary runner in 2010 and performed quite well. At 5’ 9” and 203 pounds he ran a 4.44 at the Combine and showed solid hands during his college years.
With Adrian Peterson indefinitely sidelined the Vikings now have Toby Gerhart, Lorenzo Booker, Caleb King, and Todman rounding out their depth chart.
As far as Hutchinson goes, he may never suit up as a Vikings again, as sad as it is to say. He is owed $6.95 million for 2012, has had injury troubles the last few seasons, is almost 35 years old, and has seen his production decline pretty rapidly of late.
Hutchinson is the only Vikings that is known to have a no-trade clause in his contract.
I personally find it a bit odd that the Pro Bowl roster is determined when there is one full week of football left to be played, but never-the-less it is done that way, and today the results were announced.
With Adrian Peterson’s various injuries derailing the second half of his season, Jared Allen is the lone Viking to make the Pro Bowl roster this season.
Jared Allen bested himself this season and enters the final week with a league high 18.5 sacks. Allen also has 61 tackles, a safety, three defended passes, an interception, and four forced fumbles to his name this season. This is his fourth Pro Bowl selection in eight NFL seasons.
It is possible that more Vikings end up playing in the game as alternates, but at this point I can’t think of anyone besides Percy Harvin that may be worthy of being named an alternate.
You can see the entire Pro Bowl roster by clicking here.
The Vikings have hopes that Adrian Peterson will recover from surgery repairing his ACL and MCL injury in time for week one of the 2012 season.
That seemingly lofty goal may or may not be reached, and it will be the topic of conversation all offseason, but in the meantime Peterson’s season officially ended Monday when the Vikings placed him on the injured reserve.
To replace Peterson, the Vikings activated Caleb King from the practice squad, and if he makes the field next week he could be interesting to watch. The Georgia running back is listed at 5’ 11” and 212 pounds.
King was a highly touted prospect after declaring for the NFL’s supplemental Draft this past offseason. At Georgia, he was expected to be the heir to Knowshon Moreno but ended up breaking his jaw, missing substantial time, and leaving for the NFL earlier than expected. It was expected that he would be selected in the supplemental Draft, but no teams put in a bid, and the Vikings ended up signing him as an undrafted free agent prior to this season.
In the preseason finale against Houston, King rushed 19 times for the Vikings and gained 62 yards (3.3 yard average) and scored two touchdowns. I personally have the feeling King will be a solid NFL running back, and he may be able to stick to the active roster and help the Vikings cope with Peterson’s potential absence for part of the 2012 season.
According to the NFL’s transaction report, the team also continued to shuffle the fourth tight end spot on the roster by cutting Allen Reisner and activating Mickey Shuler from the practice squad. Both players have spent time on both the Vikings practice squad and active roster, but neither has been able to move up the depth chart.
I just wanted to take a minute to wish all of my Vikings Territory friends a very Merry Christmas!
I hope Santa brings each of you what you have been wanting most this year, and that you all get to enjoy Christmas with your closest friends and family.
Be safe, have fun, and enjoy the holiday season!