Thursday, December 14, 2017

cedric griffin

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.

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The power players within the NFL have converged on Florida this weekend for the NFL’s meetings and it should make for a news filled week.

Aside from talks of cheaters (Saints), more cheaters (Cowboys and Redskins), and rule changes we can expect to hear word in the next couple days regarding compensatory draft picks.

The picks are expected to be awarded Monday or Tuesday and most media outlets, and Rick Spielman himself, have long predicted that the Vikings will receive two fourth round picks for letting Sidney Rice and Ray Edwards go last offseason.

Since early December, I have instead been predicting the Vikings will actually receive three compensatory picks from the convoluted formula:  A fourth, a sixth, and a seventh rounder.

Soon, we should find out the real answer.

Next year, it isn’t looking likely that the Vikings will receive any compensatory draft picks.  Their unrestricted free agents are not in high demand and they have already signed tight end John Carlson to a substantial contract.  Steve Hutchinson and Cedric Griffin do not count in the Vikings favor, as they were released instead of seeing their contracts expire.

It is increasingly obvious that Rick Spielman didn’t think too highly of most of the Vikings players seeing their contracts expire this month.  Sage Rosenfels and Letroy Guion are the only ones to receive contracts so far, while the front office continues to monitor the status of Erin Henderson, E.J. Henderson, and presumably safety Husain Abdullah.

That doesn’t mean that now-former Vikings players aren’t getting interest in phase two of free agency.  Here are some quick updates:


Goes to the Titans on a three year deal worth $16 million.

The length of the contract surprised me more than the dollar amount or even the destination.  Hutch had reportedly told Vikings teammates that he was really only interested in playing one more year of football.

The Titans get a heck of a player, and a heck of a good guy, and a heck of a veteran presence here.  They had made clear, following Chris Johnson’s struggles in 2011, that the offensive line was a major priority for them.  Hutchinson may not be a long term solution, but he should be an upgrade over what they had.

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.

At the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, Leslie Frazier talked with the media about a number of subjects, two of which I have taken recent interest in and discussed in articles.

The first has to do with how the Vikings plan to use dynamic playmaker Joe Webb from here on out.  On Tuesday I penned an item over at Grant’s Tomb in which I laid out a plan that boiled down to three basic steps:

  1. Give up on Webb as a wide out.
  2. Minimize his other duties such as the “Blazer” package.
  3. Let him settle in and focus on being a backup quarterback.

On Friday, Leslie Frazier broke down his thoughts on how Webb should be used in the future and it looked a little like this:

  1. Give up on Webb as a wide out.
  2. Minimize his other duties such as the “Blazer” package.
  3. Let him settle in and focus on being a backup quarterback.

Okay, had to toot my horn a little bit there, sorry about that.

“We’ve talked about that as the season ended, and we’ve kind of settled on Joe being in that quarterback role,” Frazier said. “Although he can do a lot of different things, we really want to see him develop at the quarterback position. We’re leaning, as we speak today, moving away from some of those other things he’s capable of doing.”

Also, back in December when the Minnesota media was already writing Cedric Griffin’s obituary, I argued that the Vikings would not be so quick to jettison the cornerback and I reiterated those thoughts in my recent preview of the position.

On Friday, Frazier expressed optimism that Griffin could finally put his ACL injuries behind him in 2012 and return to form.  He cited Griffin’s good performances in the final two games of the season as a sign of things to come.

“He was coming off a major knee surgery a year ago, and sometimes guys need a year under their belt before they can really get back to (production) they had before,” Frazier said. “It remains to be seen if he’s one of those guys.”

It sounds like Frazier might be willing to give Griffin another shot, but it remains to be seen if Rick Spielman agrees.  It is thought that the Vikings have internally discussed both a restructured contract for Griffin and also the possibility of moving him to safety.

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