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Can The Roster Continue To Improve?

No fan or analyst is going to agree 100% with every move made in the NFL Draft in any given year, but this year has certainly left Vikings fans feeling better than they have in recent years.

The Vikings theoretically took big strides in improving their secondary, added a key piece to the offensive line, and should have an interesting competition amongst their receivers.  Still, it is tough to believe that the Draft, combined with the few free agent moves made earlier this offseason, will be enough to turn a 3-13 roster into a playoff contender.

Rick Spielman’s patience in the initial stages of free agency, however, could pay off in the months between now and September.  The team is believed to have $12.5 million in cap space after the Jerome Simpson signing, which is a considerable sum and gives them some firepower if a player that intrigues them becomes available as a result of being a cap casualty.

It is quite possible that this was Rick Spielman’s plan all along, to leave enough space to be major free agency players later on in the offseason when there is a great potential for steals.

Increasing the potential for success in this area is the fact that the Vikings will have third priority for players that are released from their current teams and subject to the waiver process.  Only the Colts and the Rams will have higher priority, and neither of them have the cap space available that the Vikings do.  In fact, the Rams may only have enough space left to sign their rookie class and that is it.

Names like Jacoby Jones, Mike Jenkins, and Josh Brown have already been mentioned in regards to potentially hitting the open market and many more are sure to follow.

The Vikings may be in an ideal situation to scoop up one or two players of value in an attempt to further rebuild this roster from top to bottom.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. well yea..we may have some power to leverage now…and it seems like were a lil more active or show some life finally…with the signing of simpson etc etc….but isnt michael jenkins a viking? I seem to remember we gave him a 3 year deal last year after he left the falcons……but it wouldve been nice to have gotten atleast one top tier player in the start of the free agency…

    1. Sorry, for the confusion. Michael “Mike” Jenkins of the Cowboys is who I meant.

  2. 12.5 million left, There will be quality players available after cap cuts.
    Not a bad position to be in…

  3. Two Questions for Adam/Brett:

    Along with the Vikings doing little other than Kalil on the offensive line, it appears they are pretty comfortable with their current roster of linebackers. No picks and 2 UDFA’s. Does this tell us anything about the Viking plans for that position?

    Also have to ask you guys this: If you were running a Cleveland Browns blog (ughh), would you be critical of Holmgren and his staff for the trade with the Vikings for the number three pick? To be fair, we will never know if Spielman had another deal anywhere close to imminent.

    1. Okay, coach, here we go:

      Offensive Tackle: Kalil is set, obviously. Loadholt seems likely to at least play out the final year of his contract (2012) as the starter. Behind them are Demarcus Love and Patrick Brown competing for the third tackle spot. Any free agent signing, in my assessment, would have to be someone so good that they are not a percieved but instead a clear upgrade to Loadholt at right tackle.

      Charlie Johnson slides to left guard. Now you have Fusco, Schwartz, and Berger as being the most realistic options on the right side. That is a LOT of fairly good competition. Meanwhile, Fusco now has somewhat decent competition for backup center position in UDFA Saulsberry. Adding another guy to the mix would make it so there is just another that has to be cut in August… so, again, only if a clear cut starter becomes available at a good price.

      At linebacker. The Vikings did sign Audie Cole and got Tyler Nielson as a UDFA. They also signed Solomon and Mitchell in the offseason. I do think that while depth isn’t the issue, a player representing a clear upgrade to Brinkley could catch Spielman’s eye if one becomes available. With that being said, they already passed on (by which I mean didn’t show interest in) plenty of great linebacker talent that sat on the free agent market for a long time.

        1. Sorry, skipped over that one.

          Yes, I would be ragging on that move pretty hard. Cleveland, like the Vikings, is a team with many, many needs. To give up three additional Draft picks to move up one spot and select a running back, a position that always gets production from later rounds, is crazy to me. Especially when it wasn’t a given that T-Rich wouldn’t be available at four.

          Like I said about Spielman, he was willing to roll the dice and move back a bit knowing that he would get a player he coveted while also gaining picks.

          The Browns did the exact opposite. Gave up ability to make use of later round picks in exchange for getting a good player. Problem with that? There would’ve been good players available at #4 no matter what. They would’ve benefitted from Kalil, Blackmon, or Claiborne without a doubt. Richardson is a fine, fine prospect but making that deal tells me the Browns have a self-inflated sense of their own ability to contend in the NFL. They are not just a running back away.

          1. Once again, quite logical Adam. So much of whether a draft move is right or wrong can only be answered down the road, but given what was known at the time, I can see both sides. I have always said if you feel you want or need someone bad enough, almost any trade of picks is justifiable. But it certainly is true that Cleveland needs much more than just a top running back. There’s hardly a team in the league that couldn’t benefit from the addition of Kalil or Claiborne, and Cleveland is certainly one. BTW, I have always wondered if such a trade can include, either officially or unofficially, the stipulation that you (Cleveland) won’t draft a certain player (Kalil) if this trade is completed.

  4. as for finding an upgrade at LB, here’s how the numbers work out

    Training Camp Roster limit 90 x 32 teams = 2,880 players
    Regular Season rosters cut to 53 x 32 teams = 1,696 players make the final roster

    this means 1,184 players that were cut, are now seeking employment
    for arguments sake, lets say on average, teams keep 6 LBs
    again for arguments sake, lets assume every team will cut three LB’s

    31 teams (minus the Vikings) X 3 LBs cut per team = 93 free agent Line Backers
    I’m guessin’ Rick SpielMillen will try to upgrade the team from these 93 unemployed LB’s

    dang, I’m startin’ to sound like my ol’ buddy Lost Viking

    1. Thanks Ole, but you forgot to factor in the number of LB’s who were never worthy of being in an NFL training camp to being with. If that is three per team, then we have no one left to pick from, and now we are swinging at sinkers in the dirt. (That sounds like someone else here on the Teritory, but can’t remember who.)

  5. Cleveland had to have thought Tampa was going after Richardson, they probably were.
    LB is a concern.
    I didn’t care for the H.Smith selection. I watched some tape on this kid, he seemed stiff, got turned around too much. I like what I hear that he’s got alot of heart. That’s good, very important, but you have to have the talent too. Not sure he does. Time will tell, I hope I’m proven wrong.

  6. The Bucs surely would have been considering trading up to get T.Rich. RB was clearly a target for them, I mean they even traded back into the first round to get one. Whether or not they had tabled an offer we may never know!

    Speaking of linebackers, I would love to know how the Eagles always manage to get great trade value. Getting DeMeco Ryans for only a 4th round pick is criminal, not to mention what they got for Kolb and McNabb! I think linebacker is the one of the few positions where it is relatively easy to pick up a serviceable player, so hopefully the Vikes can snag one or two when these final roster cuts are made.

    1. well when talking about eagles getting good value I think you are right in many situations..
      BUT however they did get close to nothing in return for Assanthe Samuel.. They got a 7th rounder.. That not exatly good value