Wednesday, March 4, 2015
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geoff schwartz

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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Outside of tight end John Carlson, the Vikings have yet to commit to any free agent contracts that could potentially make them look uber-foolish, mainly because none of the contracts handed out are of major consequence.

Courtesy of Judd Zulgad, we have some more details regarding contracts for some player signings:

OT GEOFF SCHWARTZ:  A one year deal that has a maximum value of $1.5 million, and contained a signing bonus of $150,000.  Schwartz is expected to use 2012 to prove his health and competence with hopes of signing a longer, more lucrative deal in 2013.

FB JEROME FELTON:  A one year deal worth $700,000, which included a $50,000 bonus for workouts and making the 53-man roster.

RB/FB LEX HILLIARD:  A one year deal worth $615,000.

NT LETROY GUION:  A three year deal that came with a $1.5 million signing bonus.  His base salary this year will only be $950,000.  In 2013 that number jumps to $2.45 million, and jumps again to $3.95 million in 2014.  In other words, Guion will only realize the full value of his deal if he develops into a reliable contributor.

NT FRED EVANS:  A two year contract with an unknown signing bonus.  His base salary this year is $700,000 and jumps to $1.45 million in 2013.

Overall, each of these deals can be classified as “low risk” in terms of finances.  Whether or not any of these players can add value on gameday, however, remains to be seen.

The Vikings somehow managed to beat out the 49ers in wooing a free agent.  That probably had something to do with the potential for upward mobility (i.e. the lack of talent) and the presence of former Panthers offensive line coach Jeff Davidson.

Geoff Schwartz has reportedly agreed to a one year deal with the Vikings after visiting with them on Monday.

Schwartz is the third free agent to join this roster that didn’t play a single NFL snap in 2011, in this case due to an injury that sidelined him.

In 2010, however, he appeared like an up-and-coming offensive lineman for the Panthers.  He was near-dominant at right guard and serviceable at right tackle.  He will immediately jump into the mix, competing to replace Anthony Herrera in the starting lineup, and possibly even pushing Phil Loadholt for his job.

While numbers are not yet available, the length of the deal is somewhat surprising to me.  At age 25, Schwartz could possibly be a steal for teams looking for a long-term rebuild (anybody know one?) so I would’ve expected the Vikings to try and increase the length of the deal.

With Steve Hutchinson gone, and officially not coming back, the Vikings have turned their attention to a much, much younger option to bolster their offensive line.

According to Scout.com, the Vikings plan to host offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz on Monday.

Schwartz held his own quite well for the Panthers at both right guard and right tackle two years ago, but missed all of 2011 with a hip injury.  Reports indicate that he is healthy now and drawing interest from a number of teams.

Schwartz is 6’ 6”, 331 pounds, and only 25 years old.

The Panthers could have tendered Schwartz as a restricted free agent but opted against it.  Should the Vikings end up signing Schwartz, he will be the second free agent to join the team that had not played a single snap in 2011.

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