Monday, February 8, 2016

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Already thinking about 2015 free agency? Take a look at the Vikings top 10 salary cap hits and dead money tied to them.

Earlier this week I found this via twitter and Shane Richardson.

I thought it did a nice job of providing a clean look at where the Vikings top money was headed for next year.

For months, there has been talk about Vikings potentially asking guys like Greg Jennings, Chad Greenway and Adrian Peterson to restructure their contracts.  You can now see why and how much money is tied up in their roster spots.

With Greenway growing older, he looks to be the most likely cap casualty, unless he’s willing to take a reduced deal for a final year in purple.

Peterson is also an obvious candidate for contract reworking, noting his age and off the field circumstances. Additionally, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s emergence as potential offensive leader within the organization, gives the Vikings further leverage.

Peterson’s willingness to remain in Minnesota does depend on the amount of money the Vikings are opting to pay him.  A $15.4M salary cap hit is not something I’m sure the Vikings are taking lightly and with only $2.4M in dead money, cutting Peterson carries limited financial risk for the Vikings.

Jennings does command a larger cap hit, and arguments can be made about his ability to fulfill those expectations, but his dead money number isn’t exactly small and his seemingly growing chemistry with Bridgewater doesn’t give the Vikings many options.

There has been a lot of clamoring for the Vikings to add Larry Fitzgerald during the off season, but I don’t see that happening with the money due to Jennings, and their similar age and current talent level.

With the below par season defensive end Brian Robison had, he looks to be a restructuring candidate as well, but his contract is much more team friendly at this point when compared to those mentioned above.

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Top 10 Vikings Cap Hits, Dead Money & PFF scores for each.

The Vikings are in a very favorable position in terms of cap room, draft position and current roster talent. Although there are obvious holes to be filled, with another strong draft and productive free agency period, the Vikings could be on the up and up in all areas. My hope is that the Vikings take advantage of this and become somewhat aggressive at continuing to improve.

After taking a look, Vikings fans, who would be your top restructuring priorities in order to make the most out of free agency?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With Ben Goessling of ESPN reporting that Duron Carter has expressed a preference for the Minnesota Vikings above other teams, moving the Colts down the proverbial order of preference. Nothing’s done yet, as it seems like money may be what sways him.

Goessling is right that that is big money for a CFL player. Top CFL receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux received league minimum and no signing bonus to join with the Vikings (and later Washington and the New York Jets). The previous report of Vikings being a favorite comes from Viking Update.

This is beginning to feel a lot like college recruiting. Don’t be surprised if he flips his decision at the last moment. As Miller reported, there could be a sleeper steal in the Carolina Panthers—the opportunity to work with Cam Newton and a depleted receiver corps, along with some money, could be big.

He happens to have a scouting report on Duron Carter up:

Wide Receiver Duron Carter, Free Agent (6’5″, 209 lbs)

Strengths

  • Powerful, explosive move off the line of scrimmage.
  • Has a long, lean frame with excellent wingspan and hand size.
  • Adjusts well to the ball in the air and shows good body control on the move.
  • Has produced well against professional athletes in CFL last two seasons.
  • Can play both in the slot or on the boundary with success.
  • Dominant over the middle and isn’t afraid to make catches in traffic.
  • Solid route-runner with an ankle-breaking inside move on slants and posts.
  • Very tough, plays with a chip on his shoulder.

Weaknesses

  • Very limited college football experience.
  • Played at Ohio State and Coffeyville Community College. Enrolled at Alabama and FAU, but never played there.
  • Went undrafted in 2013 NFL draft due to concerns about maturity and work ethic.
  • Has a reputation for being high-maintenance.
  • Struggled in CFL to beat a jam and work through physical cornerbacks.
  • Tried to make the Sportscenter catch too often and passed up sure-handed grabs.

Pro Player Comparison: Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers

Image courtesy of Vikings.com

After three seasons, the 2012 Minnesota Vikings draft class is a bright spot on Rick Spielman’s curriculum vitae.

Harrison Smith, regardless of what the Pro Bowl roster says about him, is one of the NFL’s best young safeties and the Vikings will probably want to lock him up for the long-term very soon.  Josh Robinson, Jarius Wright, Rhett Ellison, Robert Blanton, Blair Walsh, and Audie Cole are all later-round players that have been positive contributors during their three years as Vikings.

Greg Childs was the casualty of a freak injury and seventh-round pick Trevor Guyton is now in Canada, but otherwise that group has been very productive.

One of the biggest question marks from this class, however, is the guy they drafted first and the guy that was heralded by many (myself included) as a “can’t-miss prospect.”  Left tackle Matt Kalil has been so underwhelming over the last two seasons that some Vikings fans are going so far as to wonder if the Vikings aren’t already scheming to replace him.

These fans are certainly going to be perplexed if the Vikings decide to pick up Kalil’s fifth year option this May when the decision needs to be made.

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(photo used with permission)

Although he hasn’t called Minnesota a permanent home since he was five years old, Matt Engstrom lives and breathes the Vikings.

Engstrom was born in Minnesota, and he immediately fell in love with the purple and gold. He remembers spending time with his father and grandmother, watching the games on television or listening to them on the radio. Engstrom was a child of the Purple People Eaters era, and a framed poster of the 1974 team hung in the family’s basement near the pool table—one of his earliest memories.

By the time Engstrom moved to California with his mom, his allegiance to the Vikings had already formed. It is a long-standing devotion; Engstrom bleeds purple into most areas of his life, including his career.

In addition to his love for the Vikings, Engstrom is passionate about art, drawing, and humor. He pursued a profession that would perfectly fit these three things and has been in the animation industry for almost 20 years. In what some might consider a dream job, he currently works as a Supervising Director for DreamWorks Animation Studio.

“My job, simply put, is to take a script and visually tell the story in the clearest, most humorous way [possible],” he explained. “To make sure the viewer is feeling exactly what the moment calls for.  My job is very similar to what a live action movie director’s job would be like—except I don’t deal with ‘live’ actors, I deal with artists that draw our ‘actors.’”

Engstrom’s job mainly consists of setting up scenes to effectively communicate the mood of the moment—whether that be dramatic, scary, tense, or funny—and acting out and drawing the characters’ actions.

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

 

[Note: Brad Davis found methodological disagreements with an article written by the ever-productive CCNorseman at the Daily Norseman, which suggested that Adrian Peterson was in for a decline based on his career numbers. Davis, who doesn’t take a stance on Peterson’s trade value in these pieces, ran through the data with rigorous statistical analysis—here are the results to part one of his study]

by Brad Davis

The 2014 NFL regular season is over, the post season is well underway and the Minnesota Vikings were eliminated from playoff contention back in week 16.  Unfortunately that means that the only thing that Vikings fans have to look forward to is the Dallas Cowboys beating the Green Bay packers this week in Green Bay, free agency and the draft.

One of the most important issues for the Vikings to work out during this offseason is whether or not Adrian Peterson will suit up in Purple and Gold again. This is a pretty complicated problem that has a number of moving parts. Even if Adrian Peterson had played all 16 games for the Minnesota Vikings this past year, that would still serve as no guarantee that this wouldn’t be his last season as a Viking anyway.

The Vikings’ front office have to decide if they will keep him with his current contract, attempt to get him to restructure the deal to make it more affordable in terms of cap space going forward, trade him to another team, or cut him outright.  Similarly, Adrian Peterson might well have wanted a change of scenery anyway.  If he didn’t believe that the Vikings where going to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders in the next year or two, he might prefer to play on a team that is.

Now combining those realities with the fact that Adrian Peterson was placed on the Commissioner’s exempt list for the final fifteen games of the season and his apparent disappointment with the team for their poorly veiled attempts to keep him off the field and you have a situation that makes it seem more likely that Adrian Peterson has played his last game as a Viking.

Still, if these issues between Adrian Peterson and the Vikings could be worked out and he could be brought happily back into the Vikings organization, there is still the question of whether or not the Vikings even want him back.  His contract has him as the highest paid running back in the league next year (and it’s not even close) and that uses a lot of money that might better be spent elsewhere.

Secondly, he will turn 30 years old during his next season, and traditional wisdom says that a running backs best days are before they turn 30.  Now this year off means he’ll have one fewer year of carries on his body, so maybe that would buy him something, but how much?  So with that in mind, people have started to assert that Adrian Peterson’s best days are behind him, and that he is already showing evidence of a decline in the quality of his play.

Thankfully though, we live in a world where we can answer these kinds of questions with data and statistics, instead of trying to rely ‘what we see with our eyes’, and ‘obvious truths’.  In fact, the whole point of statistics is that it recognizes that we’re actually not very good at processing large amounts of data intuitively and coming to the correct conclusions.  So with that in mind, I’ve used data collected from pro-football-reference to look for any evidence that his performance has already started to degrade.

 

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