Free Agency

2014 NFL Free Agency: Minnesota Vikings Cut NT Letroy Guion, WR Greg Childs

The Minnesota Vikings are winnowing down the roster, cutting nose tackle Letroy Guion and wide receiver Greg Childs.

Letroy Guion has been a starter at nose tackle since 2012, and played at the nose tackle position since 2010, where he moved to after playing as a rotational under tackle for the Vikings in 2008 and 2009. Drafted out of Florida State in the fifth-round, Guion’s role has always been more natural at the 3-technique spot, where he played at occasionally in his professional years before the Vikings committed to Jimmy Kennedy (and later Christian Ballard) in the rotational 3-technique spot.

Initially a move designed to ameliorate the upcoming loss of Pat Williams in the nose tackle spot (and rotate in Kennedy), Guion saw significant snaps in 2011 after the Vikings signed nominal starter Remi Ayodele, who in fact saw fewer snaps than Guion over the year.

Guion outperformed Ayodele in those limited snaps and was installed as the starter, but has been wanting at best. He’s been moved around on double teams and hasn’t been an able run defender, though has been able to generate pass-rushing pressure in one-on-one situations at times.

All of the strengths that Guion had, however, were replicated by his backup Fred Evans, who nearly outperformed him in every way. In his years with significant snaps, Pro Football Focus ranked Guion as the 60th of 88 defensive tackles, 85th of 85 and 60th of 69.

Honestly, it was a bit of a struggle to explain why Guion kept his starting job despite consistent underperformance and one of several black marks for former head coach Leslie Frazier throughout his tenure.

As for Greg Childs, the promising prospect out of Arkansas was deemed as a potential first-round pick as a junior before suffering a patellar tendon tear. His workouts in the 2012 NFL Combine were phenomenal, but his injury risk dropped him to the 4th-round. He began to look promising in training camp before an extremely rare bilateral patellar tendon tear (a simultaneous tear to both knees), a condition unusual enough that English and German medical literature only had records of 50 previous cases throughout the history of recorded medicine.

Sitting out two NFL seasons on IR, then the PUP list, Greg Childs’ best chance at making an NFL roster was this year, when his knees would theoretically be repaired.

He probably will have one more shot at best to make an NFL roster, but injury has clearly derailed an extremely promising career.

Letroy Guion cost $4.3 million in cap space, while Childs incurred a $645k cost, per spotrac. Because Guion had a signing bonus, his cut saves a net of $4 million, while Childs’ cut nets just under $500k in space.

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  1. I kinda fail to see what we gain from releasing Childs?
    he was at a minimum cost and would at least be part of the competetion for the 3rd or 4th receiver spot..
    otherwise cut him after training camp? really can’t see much upside of that move.

    1. You have 90 spots on a training camp roster, and if the medical staff believes he’s not the kind of player that can succeed in the NFL, it’s better to give that spot to someone else. If there were unlimited spots, I think it would be easier.

      1. Yeah, I think we have to believe the medical staff said he isn’t come back from this at a high enough level to be a productive player.

  2. Gosh, if the figures I see and my math is correct, the Vikes are close to $40 mil under the cap.

    1. Per Spotrac, $40.9 million, but given that UTBE and LTBE incentives are recalculated every year differently for every team, that space assumes a generic team and not the Vikings specifically. For example if a player was not expected to earn 50% of team snaps but had an incentive in his contract for it and then did earn that many snaps, a UTBE incentive triggers that pays the player that year for his play, but gets penalized on next year’s cap unless they cut him.

      It is likely very close to that number, but we won’t really know unless a team source leaks it.

    1. There is no practice squad in the offseason, only a 90-man roster. If he was a PS candidate, he’d be on the roster.

      1. Ok. Thanks Arif. Just trying to find some way to keep him. With his injuries it was a long shot anyway I guess.

  3. I don’t know about you guys but I’m getting the feeling that Ricky might get a little aggressive in free agency this year. Zimmer is probably throwing around some four letter words to get some more quality players.

  4. Yeah, it seems foolish to get all this cap space and not do anything with it. 2-3 solid free agency signings and a solid draft we will be on our way to a much better season and future.

  5. Arif,
    Do you like DT Louis Nix or WR Mike Evans (the Viking just cut a DT and WR) if the Vikings were able to trade back from #8.
    If Bortles, Bridgewater, Carr, Mack, Clowney, and Watkins are all off the board, what would you do?
    I already know you like DE Kony Ealy… but if the Vikings resign Griffen or pick up a DE in free agency, what is your next choice?

    1. I’m really torn on Nix just because I think you can find run stuffing NT’s later in the draft. If they are going to go DT I would take Donald because he’s going to be a pass rushing terror from the inside. The problem is playing Floyd at NT would be the same as playing Guion there. Arif, I’ld be interested to know if Zimmer’s defenses really use a true NT or if playing two 3-techs might work in Zimmer’s D.

    2. Trade down, maybe? Deep draft, in need of players. Have cap space, will travel.

  6. The upside is we find healthy players who contribute and blossom into studs, hopefully.