Sunday, May 24, 2015
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letroy guion

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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 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.

The battle for backup running back and starting fullback may not be the most exciting one when training camp rolls around, but the Vikings are making sure there will be plenty of competition.

A couple of days after signing Lex Hilliard to a one year contract, the Vikings have now announced the addition of fullback Jerome Felton. 

A 2008 fifth round selection by the Lions, Felton figures to compete for a roster spot at age 25.  He had spent three seasons with the Lions, playing in 42 games before being waived in 2011.  He was claimed by the Panthers and then later in the season joined the Colts.

Felton joins a running back squad that consists of the following:  Adrian Peterson, Toby Gerhart, Lex Hilliard, Matt Asiata, and Ryan D’Imperio.  It might be safe to assume that no bruising backs are targeted on Draft weekend, and that we should instead keep our eye on any quick, speedy scat backs in the later rounds.

Terms of Felton’s deal are not yet known.

The Vikings also officially announced the re-signing of Letroy Guion on Tuesday, a move that we knew was coming for a week.

As if Letroy Guion’s three year contract, worth $9 million, wasn’t a big enough hint that Vikings plan to expand his role, we now have confirmation that he will be competing for the starting nose tackle gig with Remi Ayodele.

Guion had previously occupied the three technique position, mostly as a backup to Kevin Williams, and pulled spot duty as a nose tackle but the move sounds like it will be putting him somewhere that he is more comfortable.

“I don’t like it. I love it,” said Guion on Wednesday. “I love the close-quarter combat. Less space than a three technique. I can see the ball better. Read the offensive line better. And I feel more comfortable at nose than at a three-technique.”

Guion, age 24, was drafted in the sixth round in 2008 out of Florida State.  At the time, he was regarded as extremely gifted but also extremely raw, and it appears that the Vikings still have faith he can develop under new defensive line coach Brendan Daly.

“He’s an extremely talented athlete,” Rick Spielman said following the agreement. “I know when we had meetings on all of our personnel, we still think there’s a huge, huge upside to Letroy.”

In his four seasons with the Vikings, Guion has three starts, all of which came last season.  He has flashed at moments, but has yet to be a consistent contributor on the defense.

It has become clear that your average Vikings fan is frustrated with how Rick Spielman has conducted himself in the first 30 hours of so in free agency this offseason, which is his first as General Manager of the Vikings.

Wednesday, however, Spielman explained the team’s approach and strategy while urging the fan base to be patient.

“We’re going to be patient with this,” Spielman said. “We’re going to strike when we feel there’s a player out there that can help us win ballgames. The ownership has always given us the financial backing we need to go get players if we need to get them. But we’re also going to be very patient and prudent as we go through this.”

“I know plenty of our needs are going to be filled through the draft, but we are not done yet,” he continued.  “We are still looking at (unrestricted free agents) as we go along in this process, and we’ll continue to monitor that. There may be a couple guys coming in (for visits) over the next couple of weeks. We’ll continue to add players as we see fit.”

The media pressed Spielman on his conservative approach to free agency.

“I don’t think we’re a player or two away to go out and say you’re going to spend the money that’s being spent on all those players that have gotten contracts early,” he said.  “I think what we’re trying to do, again, is find some players that we think are going to be able to help us win ballgames that are going to contribute and then continually to build this through the draft and keep our draft picks and potentially add more draft picks and keep our roster competitive year in and year out that way.”

Spielman called tight end John Carlson a playmaker while revealing plans to move Letroy Guion to nose tackle, which gives you an idea as to what the thinking was behind those two signings.

Additionally, the Vikings are monitoring the status of Erin and E.J. Henderson, but there is very little urgency surrounding the linebacker position at this point.  As of this posting, not a single 4-3 outside linebacker has signed with a new team, and only a couple low-level middle linebackers are off the market.  Options are still there in this regard, and Spielman may have been wise in waiting for the big money to fly around and get some reasonable contract offers to these guys.

Overall, “patience” seems to be the word of the day.

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