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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
[Note: this is the first part of a series we will be doing here at Vikings Territory where we take a closer look at the individual free agents the Vikings could be targeting this offseason. Make sure to check back in the future for more free agents!]
There is no debate that one of the Vikings biggest areas of need this offseason is defensive secondary – specifically the position of cornerback. It is also no secret that Cortland Finnegan, one of the stronger cornerbacks in the league, does not think he will be back in Tennessee to play for the Titans next season. So, naturally, Finnegan has become one of the more popular choices amongst Vikings fans as someone who could be picked up and immediately fill a position of need.
Continue reading for our in-depth look at Cortland Finnegan.
For the most part, the Senior Bowl’s North Team looked a lot like what you would expect after watching the Vikings in 2011.
They played pretty conservatively, had solid defensive line play, questionable quarterback play, and defensive backs that really struggled to tackle well.
The big difference between Frazier’s performance in 2011 with the Vikings and his performance on Saturday in Mobile: he won.
Mike Shanahan’s South Team boasted more potential first round talent than Frazier’s squad, but the final score of 23-13 left Frazier smiling.
There were a number of interesting performances during the game, despite the widely accepted notion that the practices this week told scouts more about players than the actual contest, and it was Cincinnati running back Isaiah Pead that stole the show and earned MVP honors.
Pead’s two second half punt returns, one of which went for 60 yards, allowed him to stand out more than any other player.
“(Coach) told me what the punt return call was, left, right or in the middle, and told me to make sure I set my blocks up or the play would be dead,” said Pead after his 98 punt return yards set a Senior Bowl record. “I tried to do that the best that I could. The rest was just ability.”
Pead also led the team in rushing with 31 yards on eight carries.
“I think he may have opened some eyes,” Frazier said of Pead. “Some people may have wondered if he can do certain things. I think he may have answered some questions today.”
A few other players really peaked my interest with their performances. One of those players was Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner. He had seven tackles, one of which was for a loss, a broken up pass, and an interception during the contest. He could be a solid addition to the Vikings group of linebackers, especially if still available in the third round.
Ohio State tackle Mike Adams could be on the Vikings radar after a fantastic week and very strong game. He would be a consideration if they do end up trading backwards from the number three spot. Mitchell Schwartz, another impressive tackle, played a very strong game and could be a consideration when the Vikings make their second round selection.
Wide receivers Joe Adams out of Arkansas and Juron Criner from Arizona showed some solid attributes on Saturday, as well. Both could help the Vikings fill out the receivers squad if available in round three or later.
Overall, it was a fun contest to watch, and it was good to see Frazier and company get a win. Nobody should overreact to the performances they saw, but when combined with the game tape already on file, there were certainly some telling moments this week.
Former Vikings head coach Brad Childress is reportedly joining the Cleveland Browns as their offensive coordinator, the first coaching gig he has landed since being fired by the Vikings in the middle of the 2010 season.
Us Vikings fans remember all too well how Childress had an affinity for bringing players to Minnesota that he was familiar with from his days in Philadelphia. I can’t help but wonder if, despite the fact that he has a lesser role now, the same might be true now that he is in Cleveland.
Maybe fullback Naufahu Tahi or tight end Jeff Dugan will once again find employment under Childress. Perhaps the Browns will show some sudden interest in trading for a guy Childress vouches for, such as Anthony Herrera who Childress developed a close relationship with as Herrera went through the process of gaining citizenship.
Once upon a time, I wrote an article at Vikings Gab that sparked a very interesting and heated discussion in the comments section because I, at least a little, ripped apart Rick Spielman’s history of making perfectly good draft picks disappear with little to show for it.
This upcoming Draft worries me because Spielman could once again find himself in a position to move around, and acknowledged as much when discussing having the third overall pick.
“[W]e’ll be looking at all the options,” Spielman told the NFL Network on Wednesday. “If someone wants to come up and get our pick, we’re going to be more than willing to listen.”
Of course, this should come as no surprise, as it would be disappointing to hear the General Manager say he has already made his mind up in January. For me the statement did, however, bring all those same fears bubbling back to the surface.
After finding modest success in signing CFL players like linebacker Kenny Onatolu and wide receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux, I had good reason for paying such close attention to which CFL players Rick Spielman was checking out this offseason.
Not shockingly, those efforts have proven to be of worth.
On Wednesday, the Vikings reportedly signed BC Lions linebacker Solomon Elimimian to a two year contract.
At age 25, six feet tall, and 227 pounds Elimimian has made a name for himself by delivering big hits north of the border. He was named the CFL’s hardest hitter in a polling of fellow players and won the rookie of the year award in 2010 with BC, after going undrafted out of Hawaii and being cut by the Buffalo Bills.
Last season he had 98 tackles, four sacks, and two interceptions. He was named as an All-Star and his team won the Grey Cup.
Elimimian could provide some much needed depth at the linebacker position if he can stick to the Vikings roster. He has some decent upside, but don’t expect much more than a special teams player in 2012.
The Carolina Panthers and St. Louis Rams were thought to have also made an offer to the young linebacker.
A look around the web at how the Vikings coaching staff, and certain prospects, are faring in Mobile during the Senior Bowl practices that took place on Wednesday: