Tuesday, March 3, 2015
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fred evans

[NOTE:  Click the links to see our free agency rankings for quarterbacksrunning backs,fullbacks,tight endscentersguardsoffensive tackleswide receiverssafetiescornerbacks, and linebackers.  We’re almost done!]

The Vikings appear to be at somewhat of a crossroads when it comes to the defensive tackle position.  On the surface, they appear set to simply continue with the guys they have, but it could also be much more complicated than that.

Kevin Williams is set to make $7 million for each of his two remaining seasons under his current contract, but that salary no longer aligns with his declining production and he is likely going to be approached about taking a pay cut, which can sometimes end up in a player’s outright departure.

Prior to the 2012 season, Letroy Guion received a three year contract worth $9 million which suggested the Vikings had faith in his ability to be an effective starter next to Williams, but he did little to instill full confidence during the first year of his new contract.  Fred Evans did a nice job in spelling either starter and should be retained through the last year of his contract.

Still, from tackle to safety, it is common for observers to assume the Vikings would like to strengthen the middle of their defense.  Defensive tackle is a position that cannot afford to take a step backwards and the Vikings front office should be very interested in any opportunity to improve.  Free agency might offer some help:

Top Tier

Chicago’s Henry Melton is only 26 years old and played like an absolute monster in the final year of his rookie contract.  He was by far the Bears best defensive lineman in 2012 and they will not part with him easily.  This guy kind of reminds me of a young Kevin Williams with his ability to be disruptive in the passing game, but he isn’t going to be anyone’s savior against the run.  There are some worries out there that Melton’s stardom coming about during a contract year wasn’t a coincidence, but there are going to be teams willing to assume that he is every bit as good as he showed last season.

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Adrian Peterson didn’t have a hundred yard game.  Christian Ponder, while making some nice plays early on, didn’t suddenly transform into Tom Brady.  Jarius Wright is obviously not at the same level as Percy Harvin.

Still, the Vikings dealt Houston a convincing 23-6 loss, and the defense can stand proud after this one.

Rookie Harrison Smith led the Vikings with seven tackles, while also adding a forced fumble and a sack.  Jasper Brinkley and company held Arian Foster to almost no gains whatsoever, and he also had a forced fumble.  Everson Griffen and A.J. Jefferson took advantage of those forced fumbles with each recovering one.  Antoine Winfield and Fred Evans each came up with timely sacks, and Matt Schaub never seemed quite able to develop the rhythm that has downed plenty of their 2012 opponents.

The special teams did their job, as well, led by Blair Walsh who broke an NFL record for 50-yard-or-longer field goals.  He scored from 56, 41, and then 39 yards out.

Coach Leslie Frazier should be proud of the way his team played on Sunday, despite the fact that his passing game still looks completely lost at times, as the Vikings have edged a huge step closer to being included in the postseason tournament.

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.

The decision to re-sign defensive tackles Letroy Guion and Fred Evans will make more sense to those that thought the moves made no sense at all (of which I was not one).

In light of the punishments being handed down by the NFL to those involved with the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, the Vikings are expected to be in the process of releasing nose tackle Remi Ayodele.

No players, including Ayodele, have been punished individually yet, but the NFL is expected to do so relatively soon.

Just last week it appeared like the Vikings had every intention to keep Ayodele around when they paid a deferred portion of his $3.6 million signing bonus.  It is not known if the actions taken by Ayodele in the past could result in the Vikings recovering any of the money they spent on what essentially turned out to be a horrible post-lockout free agent signing.

On the plus side, this move could be the first one the Vikings have made this offseason that won’t be met with criticism from the masses.

UPDATE:  The Vikings have made the move official.

Brett clued you all in on Friday that nose tackle Fred Evans re-upped with the Vikings on a two year contract.  Given that Evans plays the nose position, and the team also has Letroy Guion and Remi Ayodele in the fold, it seems like the Vikings suddenly have an abundance of nose tackles that have underperformed as of late.

The dollar amounts of the Evans deal are not yet know, but I have seen quite a few waves of speculation around the net, so I thought I would take a look at each one of them:

Kevin Williams is on the trading block:  I highly doubt there is much to this.  At least, if the Vikings planned on trading Williams, I don’t think the presence of Fred Evans would have an impact on that decision one way or the other.

Remi Ayodele is on his way out:  This could be possible.  Ayodele is paid much higher than his production warrants.  His assumed involvement in the Saints bounty scandal has made him the second most disliked Viking on the roster… after Chris Cook.

It Means Nothing:  It wouldn’t be a total shock if Evans took a very minimal deal to return to the Vikings and his presence means nothing more than that he will really have to battle during training camp to make this roster.

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