Thursday, October 19, 2017

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It will be a while before any sort of schedule is released for the 2012 season, but we do know which teams the Vikings will face in 2012.

Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
NFC West: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers
AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
NFC 4th Place: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers
NFC West: Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams
AFC South: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts
NFC 4th Place: Washington Redskins

Since two NFC North teams made the playoffs, the Vikings will have six games against playoff teams in 2012.

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The Vikings got a jump start on re-signing their pending free agents when center John Sullivan was extended last month.

Who are the other Vikings whose contracts have expired this season?  Here is the list:

  • Husain Abdullah
  • Xavier Adibi
  • Devin Aromashodu
  • Lorenzo Booker
  • Patrick Brown
  • Greg Camarillo
  • Fred Evans
  • Letroy Guion
  • EJ Henderson
  • Erin Henderson
  • Tyrell Johnson
  • Matt Katula
  • Jim Kleinsasser (retired)
  • Kenny Onatolu
  • Jarrad Page
  • Sage Rosenfels
  • Benny Sapp
  • Visanthe Shiancoe

A little while back, I highlighted five players that are due to possibly become free agents and would be solid additions to the Vikings offense.  Today, I want to do the same thing for defensive players.

Of course, some or all of these guys may never make it to the open market, but the speculation makes for good fun and gives us something to talk about while we wait for the free agency period to actually roll around.  As always, let me know what you think, who I missed, who I shouldn’t have included, or whatever else is on your mind.

1. Michael Griffin, S, Titans

The Vikings have the potential to get better at cornerback simply by putting legal matters behind them (Chris Cook) and by getting healthier (Antoine Winfield, Cedric Griffin, Asher Allen).  I’m not willing to say cornerback isn’t a need for this team, but I am willing to say that safety is the bigger need.  Michael Griffin has been so consistent for the Titans in his five NFL seasons that it seems highly unlikely that they let him leave without a fight.  He has never missed a game and is entering his prime at age 26.  The Vikings could put a guy like Griffin to good use, without a doubt.

2. Stephen Tulloch, MLB, Lions

I wanted the Vikings to sign E.J. Henderson’s replacement a year early when Tulloch became a free agent last offseason.  So, it stands to reason that I would like to see them sign him this offseason, after helping to lead Detroit’s defensive resurgence and also with Henderson likely becoming a free agent.  In 16 regular season games with the Lions, Tulloch played very well on his way to 111 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, and five defended passes.  At age 27, he could be a true block to rebuild the Vikings defense around.

3. Brandon Carr, CB, Chiefs

If the Vikings want to get younger, then the 25 year old Carr has to be an appealing free agent to target.  Carr has started every game of his four year career and at 6’ and 207 pounds is a prototypical cornerback in the NFL.  Carr is quickly developing into one of the best cover corners in the NFL.  He had four interceptions this season, a career high, and has a knack for scooping up loose footballs.  Carr isn’t going to be the flashiest name in free agency, but he could certainly become exactly what the Vikings were hoping they would get out of Cedric Griffin when they extended his contract.

4. LaRon Landry, S, Redskins

LaRon Landry has played like the best safety in football at multiple points, during multiple seasons, but over the last two seasons that production has been overshadowed by injury.  Like any great safety, Landry’s body has taken a toll, and he has missed 15 games over the last two seasons.  That fact may be what convinces Washington to let him test the market, and the Vikings have to feel desperate enough at the safety position to risk over-paying an injury risk with hopes of finally getting some big plays and big hits.  Landry is a complete safety, when healthy, plenty capable of covering a receiver or tight end, rushing the passer, or delivering a blow to a running back.

5. Jason Jones, DT, Titans

Between Michael Griffin, Jason Jones and Cortland Finnegan the Titans are bound to let some good players leave in free agency.  Like Brandon Carr, Jones is only 25 years old, so the fact that he is entering his prime has to appeal to teams like the Vikings looking to rebuild quickly.  Jones has had a solid career that really took off when the Titans allowed Albert Haynesworth to leave town.  In four seasons Jones has 112 tackles, 15.5 sacks, 15 batted down passes, and seven forced fumbles.  The Vikings could use some help at the defensive tackle position as they slipped in run defense this year, and they went entire games with hardly any interior pass rush at all.

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Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf had a big day today.

For nobody actually losing their job, Minnesota sure was abuzz about the changes (or, perhaps, non-changes) to the organizational structure of the franchise.

Perhaps more importantly, however, Wilf also took part in some discussions regarding the structure that his franchise will eventually call home.

Zygi, as well as Mark Wilf, met with Senators Julie Rosen and Dave Senjem to discuss the ongoing stadium situation.  The Vikings played their last game in the Metrodome under their previous lease, and are now officially without a home.

“They’re very encouraged on the progress we’re making,” Zygi Wilf said of his meeting. “And we feel that a deal is going to be in the works shortly.”

The next legislative session begins on January 24th and backers of a new stadium are hoping to have a site-specific plan put into bill form prior to that date.

“We want to make sure, as many as the people we’ve met on the Legislature, the governor, and the fans, to establish a home that will ensure this franchise for generations to come,” Zygi Wilf said. “A home that we can be proud of, a home we can enjoy with our families and also to keep on the traditions of Minnesota Vikings football.”

“Plan A,” as Wilf calls it, is still to build a $1.1 billion stadium in the team’s preferred location of Arden Hills in Ramsey County.  He said Plan B and Plan C are also plans that keep the team in Minnesota.

Let’s all just hope we never have to find out what “Plan D” entails.

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There are oodles of articles floating around right now about the “big changes” taking place inside the Minnesota Vikings organization right now.  I recommend clicking the sites in our blogroll on the left side of the screen if you are interested in reading more.

The truth of the matter is, however, that so far very little has changed.  Nobody has been fired and nobody has been hired.  Rick Spielman has been promoted to General Manager, which can lead some people to believe Leslie Frazier has been demoted but his job title is still “Head Coach.”

There may still be some personnel changes coming, but for now I want to break down into very simple terms what the roles will be moving forward.

Zygi Wilf:  Obviously, as owners, Zygi and Mark Wilf have total control over the organization.  Their primary job will be to secure a new in-state stadium for the now-homeless Vikings to spend the next 30 years in.  Ownership will also have final say over who holds the title of Head Coach.

Rick Spielman:  His new position gives him total control over all roster decisions, including the 53 man roster on cut down day.  While input will surely be welcomed at times from Frazier and others, there is now zero doubt that the Vikings roster is 100% Spielman’s responsibility.  It sounds like the scouting department, including Scott Studwell, are going to be safe.  Whether it be free agency, contract extensions, or the NFL Draft the Vikings now have a name to hold accountable for any future seasons as bad as the one we all just endured. 

Leslie Frazier:  Whether you want to call it a demotion or not, the fact is that Leslie Frazier will get to focus solely on coaching the players that are given to him.  Frazier will retain full control over his coaching staff and it is unknown if changes are coming, although many expect to see some turnover this offseason.  Frazier will also have control over who is the starting quarterback and where players fall on the depth chart.

Rob Brzezinski:  Upon hearing the news of Spielman’s promotion I was immediately worried that the Vikings would foolishly dump one of the league’s best capologists, Rob Brzezinski.  By all appearances, however, Brzezinski will still be heavily involved in player contracts and the Vikings official website still has him listed as the Vice President of Football Operations.

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