By most accounts, the 2014 offseason has been fulfilling for the Minnesota Vikings franchise and fans, and the NFL Draft was some Rick Spielman brilliance if general approval ratings are considered a fair unit of measurement.
Still, the offseason isn’t over, and most of us can scan this roster and find places we would like to see strengthened even further by Week One. Additionally, with a new coaching regime and new schemes in place, it is especially difficult to pinpoint exactly where talent voids exist. Even the most confident of analysts are lying if they tell you they know how this team will perform in 2014, and we can’t expect to get a great gauge for just how good (or bad) they are until week eight or possibly later.
Still, it would be very out of character for Rick Spielman to stop making moves at this point, and there is (say it with me) always room for improvement… or at least additional competition.
Here is a quick glance at a few guys that are currently looking for work that I think could make interesting additions to this roster in an attempt to elevate the position battles in training camp. If these four guys don’t excite you, trust me, I understand. There is a whole other wave of free agency that will flood the market just prior to the regular season, but for now we can really only speculate on the guys we know are available. Here you go:
1. La’Rod Stephens-Howling, RB, Age 27
Behind Adrian Peterson, the Vikings running back depth chart seems wide open, and those roster spots will be much debated when training camp and preseason rolls around. With a new regime in place, it remains to be seen if Jerome Felton can even be considered a sure things this year. The Vikings currently have five running backs and two fullbacks listed on the roster and I think there is room for another addition or two, especially given the likelihood of a preseason injury impacting at least one of these guys.
La’Rod Stephens-Howling is a guy the Vikings reportedly showed some interest in prior to the draft. I’m not sure if that included an evaluation of his health or not, as he injured his ACL in the regular season opener last year, but his skillset is exactly what you want to have out of a second or third string running back. He’s a versatile guy, capable of pass protection and catching passes, while also being able to contribute on special teams if need be.
If he can participate in training camp drills, I see no reason not to give this guy a chance to compete for a spot on the final 53.