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anthony herrera

Free agency took off like a rocket. We were all anxious for what the Vikings would do. After all, they had a good chunk of cap room available. There were also rumors floating around from the combine that the team was going to be very active. And, let’s face it; there weren’t any shortage of holes to fill.

But nothing happened on that first day. The Vikings were quiet… Eerily quiet. Fans were not. Almost immediately, people were calling for Spielman’s head. How could he not acquire Vincent Jackson. How could he not get Pierre Garcon? How could we just sit on so much money when there so many voids to fill in this team to make it a contender again?

Finally, the Vikings started making some moves. Now, that’s not to say fans pulled back and gave Spielman some breathing room. The acquisitions were questionable… Questionable players signed to deals for amounts that were somewhat puzzling to most fans. We were signing people who were injured (and hadn’t played in a year), fullbacks, and… point guards.

While the offseason is far from over, two weeks in, we now have a fair amount of information to look at and develop more comprehensive opinions on how the team has done. What I wanted to do here is recap what the Vikings have done so far this offseason while giving my personal opinion of each move and an overall grade. If you’re ready (it’s long!), continue reading by clicking the button below.

Well, I have said all offseason long that I was 51% sure that Cedric Griffin and Steve Hutchinson would be back with the Vikings.

It appears I was 100% wr-wr-wr-mistaken.

As mentioned in the post below this one, guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera have been released by the Vikings and now we know that cornerback Cedric Griffin is a goner, as well.

“It was a tough decision as we move forward and prepare for the upcoming season and the future of our organization,” said Leslie Frazier.  “All three individuals have meant a great deal to the Vikings organization both on and off field over the years. We wish all of them the best and thank them for their service to the Minnesota Vikings.”

The Vikings have cleared roughly $13 million in cap space by making these three moves which is expected to give them over $20 million in cap space going into free agency, which starts this week.

We will continue to monitor this fluid situation, but it appears the Vikings are done making moves for today.

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In an effort to shave nearly $10 million from their salary cap commitment, the Vikings will reportedly release starting guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera.  The decision, which plays to the notion that they would like a younger roster, was finalized on Saturday according to multiple reports.

Both players have struggled with injuries and seen their production slip in recent seasons, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if Hutchinson is welcomed back under a greatly reduced contract.  He has stated his desire to play one more NFL season.

The Vikings have in-house options to fill the guard position that include Joe Berger, Brandon Fusco, Charlie Johnson, and possibly Chris DeGeare.  Additionally, there is a lot of talent expected to be available via free agency and the draft.

These moves are sure to fuel speculation that the Vikings would like to sign Carl Nicks.

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A week and a half ago we mentioned that Kevin Seifert of ESPN pegged the Vikings having $115.3 million in salaries due in 2012, leaving them with roughly $5 million in cap space.

Tom Pelissero has decided to pursue true numbers on his own and thinks the Vikings will begin the new league year with roughly double that amount of space.

Pelissero claims the Vikings have $112.4 million in salaries dedicated so far.  The salary cap number is calculated, however, using the top 51 salaries on any given roster which Pelissero puts at just over $110 million. 

Using a projected salary cap of $120.4 million, and an offset of unused cap space from last season, Pelissero concludes the Vikings will have slightly more than $10 million in cap space when the new league year begins on March 13th.

Pelissero goes on to project a total cap savings of $13 million if the team decides to part ways with veterans guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, in addition to veteran cornerback Cedric Griffin.  Even Hutchinson seems to realize his cap number is likely to cause the team to ask him to restructure or be cut.

“I know what the cap situation is and all that, but it’s out of my control,” said Hutchinson in a recent interview.  “Any player has to worry about that in the NFL.”

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.

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