Monday, August 31, 2015

matt asiata

by -
12
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

With minicamp complete and a little over a month until the Vikings head to Mankato for training camp, all the focus appears to be on Adrian Peterson. How many yards will he rush for? How will Norv Turner use him out of the backfield? Will he be the same after missing a year?

They’re valid questions, but the success of the Vikings does not rest solely on Adrian Peterson’s massive shoulders. Although Peterson single-handedly carried the offense in 2012 — thanks, Christian Ponder — he’s surrounded by more talent than he’s seen in his 9 years with the Vikings, and that starts with the man he’ll be lining up behind  — Teddy Bridgewater.

After a promising rookie season, Bridgewater is expected to “make the leap”, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land atop NFL.com’s infamous rankings this offseason. Last year, he started 12 games for the Vikings, threw 14 touchdowns, and finished with a 6-6 record under center.

His stats don’t “wow” on paper (2,919 yards, 85.2 quarterback rating), but the poise, decision-making, and maturity he displayed behind a rickety offensive line are hard to dismiss. Heck, he did it all without Peterson, who looks to add yet another element to Norv Turner’s attack in 2015.

by -
4

Only a few days remain until the 2015 NFL Draft, so looking ahead to the 2016 free agency situation seems incredibly far away. It’s worth being aware of, however, because the Vikings have 23 players entering the final year of their contract this season.

On top of those 23, keep this in mind: 2012 first-round pick Harrison Smith has a fifth-year option in his contract, which gives the Vikings another 16 games to make any long-term decisions. According to ESPN, GM Rick Spielman has until May 3 to decide on the extra year. It seems safe to say at this point, however, that Spielman will go to lengths to keep Smith in purple, and it could be costly. The safety’s current deal is worth $7.14 million.

There will be a lot of decisions to be made regarding re-signing, restructuring, or saying “good-bye” to lots of roster members, so let’s see who will be free agents prior to the 2016 season:

OFFENSE

DEFENSE

SPECIAL TEAMS

*will be a restricted free agent

Let’s take a look at a few of the more notable players on this list…

by -
9
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings have yet to strike a deal, at least a public deal, with a new player from outside the organization. However, they are still in the process of getting some of their own free agents back into the fold.

The latest to re-sign with the Vikings is running back Matt Asiata, according to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press.  Specific terms of the deal are not yet known, but it is expected to be of the one-year variety and heavy on the incentives.

by -
8
Image Courtesy of Vikings.com

[Note:  This segment is a part of a position-by-position look at what the Minnesota Vikings might be inclined to do during the 2015 free agency period.  This is the second article, focusing on the running backs.  In case you missed it, feel free to check out the quarterback preview here.]

Any writer that says he or she knows how the Vikings running back depth chart will look in 2015 is lying to you, even if they end up being correct.  I’m a huge fan of irresponsible speculation, truly, but I’m not going to lie to you:  I have no idea how the Adrian Peterson situation will shake out.

If you are interested in some of the speculation on the topic then feel free to read this, this, this, this, this or this.  On second thought, it might just be easier to type “Adrian Peterson” into the search bar at the top of this page and browse as you please.

Now that we’ve established that I’m about to make some predictions based on an impossible-to-predict situation, let’s take a look at what I think I know.

There is no reason to suspect that Jerick McKinnon won’t play a significant role moving forward.  There is also no reason to expect the Vikings not to bring restricted free agents Joe Banyard and Matt Asiata with them to Mankato, as I’ve previously assessed.  They will also have recently-signed Henry Josey and practice squad player Dominique Williams available to them.

Even without Peterson, the Vikings certainly have the quantity of running backs in their current stable to create a decent competition at the position.  The worry, however, is that the quality is lacking (again, if Peterson doesn’t return) and I would not be surprised to see them add some talent.

Rick Spielman says he didn’t know about the formal allegations against Adrian Peterson (notice the inclusion of the word “formal”) until Friday, which is when the rest of us found out about them.  Spielman says that the organization is still in the process of gathering facts, trying to avoid a knee-jerk reaction, and that all options are still on the table.

“Friday night was the first we heard of the formal allegations against Adrian Peterson, and we decided, as an organization, that to deactivate him this weekend was in the best interests of everybody concerned,” Spielman told Sal Paolantonio.

For all of the reasons that Arif has put forth, releasing Peterson probably makes the best business sense, and maybe even the best football sense.  There could end up being an emotional factor that weighs into the decision, a willingness to help Peterson improve as a person, but it is looking more an more like a release is the likeliest scenario.

Ian Rapoport of NFLN is reporting this morning that the Vikings are willing to keep Peterson deactivated for multiple games, if that best allows them to make an informed decision.

Get Social

2,740FansLike
5,763FollowersFollow