Friday, January 30, 2015
Blog Page 170

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Percy Harvin is currently being introduced to Seattle, via a press conference being broadcast on NFL Network, which is just painful to watch.

Harvin went out of his way to thank “Vikings Nation” which included the fans and organization, saying that it was a great four year run.  Harvin went on to describe being a Seahawk as a “big relief,” however, and had a million dollar smile from the get-go.

He went out of his way to say that Russell Wilson’s comparisons to Brett Favre were very attractive to him when agreeing to making Seattle his new team (the trade had to have been contingent on a new deal for him, so he did have some control) which seems to confirm that Harvin did not view Christian Ponder as a passer with what it takes to win the Super Bowl.

I had safety Jamarca Sanford pegged as the Vikings top priority as far as retaining their own pending free agents go, and Sanford recently announced via Twitter that he is “coming back home.

It isn’t impossible that the Vikings will still look to upgrade the starting safety spot across from Harrison Smith, but Sanford provides them with experience, depth, and special teams value.  Harrison Smith, Jamarca Sanford, and Mistral Raymond are the current safeties atop the depth chart which provides continuity from last season to the upcoming one.

Details are not yet known on the deal, but we’ll let you know as soon as we do.  Fullback Jerome Felton is now the only major free agent of the Vikings that remains to be signed.

I am sure that Rick Spielman would like to orchestrate an offseason that sees the 31st ranked passing game take great strides forwards.  That is easier said than done, especially when your offseason begins with losing two of your top receivers.

One guy they did retain, however, is Jerome Simpson.  Simpson joined the Vikings on a one year deal last season, after his three game suspension was officially announced by the NFL, with high hopes that he could help ignite some sort of vertical game.  His season was plagued by injury and turned out to be quite disappointing, having never scored a touchdown or even gaining more than 50 yards in any game.

Still, the Vikings apparently see some of that potential there, and are hoping he stays healthy enough to be a legitimate threat in 2013.  They extended him to a one year deal, and the financials aren’t yet known yet, but I am willing to bet that it is equal to, or less than, the $2 million deal he signed last year.

Simpson’s signing was basically a zero risk move that gives the Vikings some flexibility.  He could be better in 2013, having seemed to start developing a chemistry with Christian Ponder towards the end of the year, and will get another chance to stay healthy and put together a full season.

If Spielman manages to fill out the depth chart with high quality playmakers then Simpson, who presents little special teams value, could still be expendable when it comes time to make final cuts.

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I’ll be honest, I was never sold on Mike Wallace on a number one wide out worth paying over $50 million.  I especially didn’t think it made sense for the Minnesota Vikings who will reportedly play two of their next three seasons outdoors.

I know that Wallace did well playing outdoors in Pittsburgh, but Pennsylvania’s winters are a far cry from what one will see in Minnesota, and the Vikings need to invest in their vertical game, but I don’t think investing that much into one player would have been wise.

News broke almost immediately, however, that Wallace signed with Miami which was the expectation all along.

As a result, the Vikings are being rumored to be chasing every wide out in the world, other than Percy Harvin, of course.  From Larry Fitzgerald to Victor Cruz to Sidney Rice to Danny Amendola to… well, the list goes on and on.

We’ll keep you updated when things grow legs longer than just a Twitter rumor.  I’m here with you all night.

On the surface, it makes sense for a team that obviously still considers itself to be rebuilding to release a soon-to-be 36 year old cornerback that carried a $7.5 million salary.

When you state it that plainly, it is really hard to argue with the logic, and therefore it shouldn’t be considered the most unreasonable course of action to take.

Still, when the Vikings released Antoine Winfield on Tuesday I couldn’t help but be a little upset at the Vikings organization, even while dismissing the emotional attachment I think most Vikings fans felt for the powerful little cornerback.

In 2009, Winfield agreed to a unique contract with the Vikings that was lauded, by both the team and the player, as a deal that would see him retire as a Viking.  The contract reportedly contained de-escalators (or escalators, depending on how you look at it) that greatly reduced Winfield’s salary in the final years of the deal.  The mechanism was based off of playing time.

The thought was that as Winfield got older the Vikings could relegate him to playing strictly out of the nickel, where he has always been at his best, and elongate his career while also paying him accordingly.

Instead, the Vikings used Winfield’s presence as an excuse to not seriously upgrade the cornerback position and constantly had to rely on Winfield to step into a starting role, seemingly week after week, which is how he triggered the pay raise.  During the time since Winfield signed this contract the most they invested into a cornerback was when they used a second rounder on Chris Cook, a known character risk, who has missed plenty of time with legal issues and injuries.

So, when I heard that Winfield refused to take a pay cut to stay with the Vikings, I was not surprised nor could I blame him.  His 2013 salary was a result of what he had done in the past, it was money he had already earned by being the great player we all know him to be, and this is one of those  rare cases when a player should feel entitled to money has not yet been paid.

Winfield gave us a ton of great memories over the years, including delivering a speech to his teammates last season that was cited as a reason for the defense playing better down the stretch, and he will be greatly missed.  The Vikings front office had an opportunity to improve their secondary and keep Winfield at a reasonable price.

Instead, they still have major question marks at the position, and Winfield had to be cut for cap reasons.

That is one to put in the “fail” column.

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