Thursday, February 11, 2016

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Earlier this afternoon, it was tweeted that the Vikings are expected to be in the mix for former San Francisco wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Entering his 7th season in the NFL, Crabtree is likely looking for a new home with former Baltimore Raven Torrey Smith about to sign with San Fransisco.

In my preview of free agent wide receivers, I noted a strong possibility of Crabtree being a target due to a variety of factors: his age, salary expectations and skill. I stay true to my opinion that Crabtree would be a strong addition to the Vikings for those exact reasons.

As I noted, Crabtree has struggled through a history of injuries, but is not short of talent. Only 27 years old, Crabtree was drafted 10th overall out of Texas Tech in 2009.

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According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, the Vikings are making their case to bring Cincinnati guard Clint Boling to Minnesota. The acquisition would benefit Minnesota in more ways than one.

After releasing Charlie Johnson last week, the team absolutely needs a strong guard added to the roster, and bringing in a free agent like Boling would be a great solution. Boling also has a history with head coach Mike Zimmer, as the guard overlapped three seasons with the coach when Zimmer was Cincinnati’s defensive coordinator.

Even though he didn’t play directly under Zimmer, bringing Boling into a general system and coach that he is already familiar with would be significant for both him and the Vikings.

“[Boling] has a lot of interest in the Vikings,” said his trainer Ryan Goldin. “I know he likes the Vikings organization. It’s going to be an interesting 24 hours.”

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If you haven’t been keeping up with the latest free agency news, be sure to follow Arif’s live blog here on Vikings Territory. 

Sunday marked the second day of a busy free agent tampering period, which saw the Vikings sign two key players to new contracts. Tom Johnson, a cog in the defensive tackle rotation, agreed to a three-year, $7 million contract with $3 million in guarantees. The Vikings’ long snapper, Cullen Loeffler, also signed a one-year deal with the team.

In addition to the signings, reports also linked the Vikings to a few more free agent names, including guard Mike Iupati and safety Rahim Moore. Below, we take a quick look at all of the potential targets:

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(photo by Lindsey Young)

Well, it’s official. Veteran long snapper Cullen Loeffler will remain with the Vikings for at least one more season. According to sources, Loeffler signed a one-year deal with Minnesota on Sunday. Details of the contract have not yet been released.

Loeffler played college ball for the Texas Longhorns, and he joined the Vikings in 2004 as an unrestricted free agent. Since that time, he missed only five games at the end of the 2011 season due to a fracture in his lower back.

Loeffler’s position may often go unrecognized, but he has certainly played an important role on the roster. The veteran played a significant part in kicker Blair Walsh’s record-breaking rookie season, and Walsh offered to pay for Loeffler to join him in Hawaii for the 2013 Pro Bowl.

Last season, Loeffler made an error in the Week 16 37-35 loss to the Miami Dolphins. The long snapper bounced a snap to punter Jeff Locke deep in Vikings territory, leading to a blocked punt and a consequent safety. The blunder was the first one by Loeffler after an incredibly dependable stretch.

Loeffler was an unrestricted free agent prior to re-signing, and it will be great to retain the consistency he brings to the position.

Don’t forget to head over and visit the Vikings Territory live blog presented by Arif Hasan!

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Tom Johnson reportedly wanted to be paid like a starter, which presumably meant he wanted to be a starter, so some thought he would be leaving the Minnesota Vikings where Sharrif Floyd and Linval Joseph sit atop the rotation at defensive tackle.

I am happy to pass along, however, some news that should be viewed as a good thing for the depth and quality along the defensive line:

Tom Pelissero says that the Vikings have signed Johnson to a three year deal worth $7 million, with about $3 million in guarantees. Without all of the details, that seems like an easily managed contract that keeps the Vikings armed with continuity and dependability at the defensive tackle position.

Johnson had 22 tackles, six sacks, and a forced fumble in a limited role during the 2014 season.

Be sure to check out all the latest free agency news and rumors with Arif’s Live Blog right here.

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