Friday, November 27, 2015

remi ayodele

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.

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.

For those of you that are still fired up (I’m not, but I do understand) about the New Orleans Saints “Bountygate” scandal” I think you will find a recent article by John Holler at Viking Update quite interesting.

Remi Ayodele was a member of the Saints when they beat the Vikings in the 2009 NFC Championship game, and then went on to win the Super Bowl.  In fact, Ayodele was in on one of the dirty hits on Brett Favre that has been called into question.

Since then, Ayodele has joined the Vikings and has been quoted numerous times saying that he enjoys showing of his Super Bowl ring and jabbing at other players from time to time for the outcome of that championship game.

Holler thought the hits in that game were so “pervasive” that he jumped at the opportunity to ask Ayodele about them once he had joined the team.  He even asked him specifically about the existence of an incentive program that rewarded injuries being dealt to the opposing team.  Here is Holler’s account:

Ayodele seemed momentarily surprised by the question with his facial reaction, but what he did next was more interesting. As with most reporters, I carry a recording device with me to make sure I get quotes right. Ayodele smiled and shrugged and, as he started to give his answer, he leaned into my recorder and said, “I don’t know anything about that.” I took from his reaction and response that he believed a real answer wasn’t really any of my business. When players don’t want to answer questions, each one reacts differently. When they look directly into a camera or, in this case lean into the microphone, they’re making a point. His smile and “I don’t know” shrug spoke more than his words and reminded me of a Mafia-style code of silence and vendetta. I got the distinct impression that he wasn’t going to lie, but he gave a classic “non-denial denial.” He didn’t say, “No. That never happened.” He said he knew nothing – the Sergeant Schultz defense.

Ayodele may have instantly become one of the least respected players on the Vikings roster, at least amongst fans, and after a very unproductive season with the team many of us wouldn’t mind seeing him (and his $2.2 million salary) be shown the door.

According to PFT, the Saints will be punished for their actions prior to March 25th.  Free agency begins on March 13th.

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The Bears dumped veteran defensive tackle Anthony Adams on Sunday, which will save them roughly $1.9 million in cap space, and the 31 year old will be available to sign with any team in the coming days.

A 31 year old defensive tackle with recent troubles producing results wouldn’t seem worth mentioning this offseason, but I have my reasons.

Last year, the Vikings were known to have interest in Adams before he re-signed with the Bears on a two year deal.  The Vikings subsequently signed Remi Ayodele to a three year deal worth $9 million.  Ayodele is due to make $2.2 million in 2012 after a forgettable first season with the Vikings.

Perhaps Adams represents a cheaper alternative to Ayodele and the Vikings will again have interest in signing him.

[NOTE FROM ADAM:  This is another installation of my position-by-position breakdown of the Vikings offseason.  You can click the links to view previous installments:  The Passers, The Runners, The Wide Outs, The Tight Ends, and The Offensive Line.]

After covering each position on the offense, it is time to turn our attention towards the defensive side of the ball.

On offense the Vikings experienced no coaching turnover, but that is not the case on defense.  New Defensive Coordinator Alan Williams will have Leslie Frazier and Mike Singletary looking over his shoulder.  Fred Pagac has moved back to his old post in charge of the linebackers.  Defensive Line Coach Karl Dunbar was sent packing, and the enthusiastic Brendan Daly.

Even with the changes within the coaching staff, the Vikings are largely expected to stay the course from a scheme standpoint.  From a personnel standpoint, however, things could be changing.

Defensive tackles are up first.

Let’s take a closer look.

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