Sunday, March 1, 2015
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Per Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press, the Minnesota Vikings added linebacker Marvin Mitchell. Details of the contract are currently unknown, but if a majority off the free agency signings this offseason are any indication, it is probably a low-risk, minimum, short-term contract.

Mitchell, the former Miami Dolphin, entered the NFL in 2007 when he was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round. Last season with the Dolphins, Mitchell “recorded 30 tacles, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble…”

Do not expect Mitchell to be an instant fix at linebacker. Instead, the signing is probably just an attempt to add depth to a thin position and bring in some special teams assistance.

An interesting note: Marvin Mitchell was a member of the Saints during the [horrid] 2009 NFC Championship Game. In other words, Mitchell may have been involved in the ‘Bountygate’ scandal. The move suggests that maybe Remi Ayodele really was released for reasons other than his [supposed] involvement in ‘Bountygate.’

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.

I always think it takes a big man to admit his mistakes.

On Sunday, Rick Spielman earned a point or two in my book by admitting that it was his mistake to sign defensive tackle Remi Ayodele following the NFL Lockout last offseason.

“That’s something where we made a mistake,” Spielman said, “and I’ll put that on me making a mistake, as far as making sure that the players that we sign fit the scheme that we’re trying to run.”

Ayodele was cut by the Vikings on March 21st, only hours after the NFL announced its plan to punish the New Orleans Saints and management involved in the “BountyGate” scandal.  Ayodele, of course, was a member of the Saints during the time under scrutiny, placed a very questionable hit on Brett Favre during the 2009 NFC Championship Game, and may face a suspension as a result.

Spielman, however, says that “BountyGate” had nothing to do with the decision to release him and instead was a result of him not fitting the scheme.

“It had nothing to do with the other circumstances,” Spielman said of Ayodele’s release.  “This was purely based on a decision that didn’t live up to the billing and how he would fit into the scheme like we thought he would. Then, when we were able to sign Letroy back and Fred Evans back, we felt those guys were a better fit in what we were trying to do defensively than what Remi was for us last year.”

It was reported last season that it was Spielman’s decision to bring in Ayodele while Head Coach Leslie Frazier preferred to see long-time Viking Pat Williams return.  Ayodele was ultimately signed to a three year deal worth up to $9 million.

Just prior to Ayodele’s release, the Vikings re-signed Letroy Guion and Fred Evans and hope to see them take command of the nose tackle position moving forward.

It is inevitable that an NFL General Manager is going to make mistakes.  It is a rarity to hear one actually admit to it.  The best thing Spielman can do, however, is to learn from it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

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.

Today, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made a huge statement when he brought the hammer down on the New Orleans Saints for their bounty program. And while this isn’t exactly Vikings news, we felt that the punishment should be mentioned here since we’ve touched on the subject off and on since it came into the news.

No, the Vikings don’t get any compensatory picks. We don’t get a re-do of the NFC Championship game. The Saints didn’t lose their Superbowl ring. The Vikings will be compensated in no way, shape or form (for all you hoping they would be). But they did receive a punishment far more extreme than anything the likes of the NFL has ever seen. Seriously – it’s crazy.

The punishment (according to ESPN):

  1. Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams suspended indefinitely from the NFL.
  2. Head coach Sean Payton suspended (without pay) for one year. Roger Goodell will meet with Payton after the 2012 season to determine the coach’s status.
  3. General Manager Mickey Loomis suspended for 8 games (without pay).
  4. Loss of the Saints second round pick in both 2012 and 2013.
  5. A fine of $500,000.
  6. Assistant Coach Joe Vitt suspended 6 games (without pay) and fined $100,000.
  7. The players and coaches involved will be required to participate in efforts by the NFL to educate others on the importance of the respect for the game and those who participate in it. Their safety, sportsman-like conduct, etc…

In regards to the punishment, Goodell said,

“We are all accountable and responsible for player health and safety and the integrity of the game… We will not tolerate conduct or a culture that undermines those priorities. No one is above the game or the rules that govern it. Respect for the game and the people who participate in it will not be compromised… A combination of elements made this matter particularly unusual and egregious… When there is targeting of players for injury and cash rewards over a three-year period, the involvement of the coaching staff, and three years of denials and willful disrespect of the rules, a strong and lasting message must be sent that such conduct is totally unacceptable and has no place in the game.”

It is expected that there will also be punishments for the 22 of 27 players involved eventually.

One thing to keep an eye out for is if this has any effect on what the Vikings do with Remi Ayodele. It seems he’s already been displaced by some of the free-agency moves made so far this off-season. If he is one of the 22 players that will eventually (assumingly) be punished by the NFL, it may be wise for the Vikings to just cut their ties now.

Oh yeah, and since we’re already talking about things that aren’t really Vikings news… Tim Tebow is a Jet. Don’t you just love football?

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