Sunday, July 5, 2015

When the 2014 season concludes there will certainly be those that point critical fingers at things that happened this month.  Nobody, however, will be able to accuse the Vikings and Rick Spielman of ignoring the defensive tackle position.

After signing Linval Joseph and bringing Henry Melton in for a visit, the Vikings agreed to terms that will bring nose tackle Fred Evans back for his eighth straight season in Minnesota.  At 30 years old, Evans is coming off two of his best NFL seasons, and seems like a nice security measure signing to fortify the nose tackle position.

The deal he signed is of the one-year variety, although financial terms have not yet been revealed.  Last year, Evans had a base salary of about $1.5 million, and it seems likely that this year’s wages will be in the same neighborhood if not a tad cheaper.

As long as Evans keeps his cabbies happy, I don’t suspect this will be any sort of disaster, and just might end up looking like a very smart move if the injury bug happens to bite this defensive line in 2014.

Adam’s Grade:  C

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The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to a three-year deal, with details pending per Ian Rapaport.

Free agency seems to be going according to plan, and the Vikings are beginning to fill in every need except linebacker and quarterback—which is to be expected given the age of the linebacker depth (whom many are hopeful can start) and the general inability to grab a long-term quarterback option in free agency.

Munnerlyn resolves arguably the biggest weakness from the 2013 Minnesota Vikings defense, which is pass coverage from the slot position.

The sudden increase in the league-wide salary cap has resulted in a number of startling contracts through two days of free agency, but one has to keep in mind that the pot of gold has increased quite a bit, but NFL rosters have stayed the same size.  It only makes sense that contracts handed out today will be larger than their three year old equivalents.

Anyways, one of those contracts that might have prompted a few audible gasps was the one the Vikings handed out to defensive end Everson Griffen.  The initial numbers reported included a five year duration, $42.5 million total salary, with $19.8 million guaranteed.  These numbers seem steep for a relatively unproven commodity, but the Vikings claimed they are paying for the future, not the past.

They did, however, build in a little insurance.  By guaranteeing the first two years of salary, along with his $6 million in signing bonus, the Vikings can cut ties with Griffen after two seasons with minimal cap exposure.  The mainstream media has picked on the re-signing a little bit, mainly because Griffen officially only has one career start, but that stat is very misleading as his snap count and in-game impact has exceeded the expectations of most backups.

After the signing, word emerged that the Denver Broncos had been in contact with Griffen’s camp, and were prepared to offer him a contract in the neighborhood of $9 million per year.  Like the Bears did with Phil Loadholt last year, the competitive pressure may have forced the Vikings to quickly up the ante, but that’s the risk you run when you don’t lock up your own players sooner rather than later.

The defensive end market is pretty deep right now.  Who would have thought we’d ever see Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, and DeMarcus Ware all unemployed at the same time?  Still, I think the Vikings got one of the better speed rushers available, and he’s about the youngest option that was available.  With plenty of run stopping ends still available for cheap, and a need to build off of youth, I think Spielman made a decent call here as long as Griffen keeps himself out of trouble.

Adam’s Grade:  B

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Per Alex Marvez, the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to terms with nose tackle Linval Joseph, formerly of the New York Giants.

Despite looking at a number of players in free agency that have had a number of systems’ experience under their belt, they were able to sign a deal with the youngest, and perhaps best, one-technique defensive tackle on the market.

Mike Garafolo (of Fox Sports, same as Alex Marvez) reports that the deal will likely be in the $6M+ range.

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