Free AgencySpeculation

Top Five Free Agents Still Available Thursday Night

For Shaun Hill being the only new addition to this roster, the Vikings reports are flying around and getting shot down faster than the ducks on the original shooting game for Nintendo. It is quite frustrating, not because the team is staying patient, but because these reports and rumors keep getting our hopes up.

The Adrian Peterson situation, obviously, doesn’t help matters.

Anyways, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge five available free agents that I think (separate from Arif’s fine listings) are the best available for Vikings fans to dream about. If anything else, it might provide with a nice break from all the contradictions floating about right now.

5. Brandon Spikes – ILB – Age 27

Spikes is a two-down type of guy, by most accounts, but I have no problem with that. I think the Vikings need to acquire more than one inside linebacker this offseason and they don’t both need to be sideline-to-sideline types of players. I also think Spikes, despite a nice year in Bufffalo, could come at a fairly reasonable price. Right now, there are no definitive reports of a landing spot for Spikes, so he could be the type of bargain Rick Spielman has been waiting for.

4. Rolando McClain – ILB – Age 26

I’m putting the “buyer beware” tag on this one for the simple fact that I have no idea why the Cowboys have yet to sign McClain back after the excellent season he put on tape in 2014. McClain only landed in Dallas because he flunked out of the NFL after starting in Baltimore, so there is a worrisome history there, but he played so well in Dallas… I just don’t get it. Mike Zimmer was credited for a number of reclamation projects in Cincinnati and has a pressing need for an inside linebacker, so I could get on board with a move like this… but, again, I’m not aware of the reasons behind his quiet start to free agency.

3. Michael Johnson – Defensive End – Age 28

I love Brian Robison, but he just didn’t seem as effective in Mike Zimmer’s defense as he was in the past. Conversely, Michael Johnson certainly wasn’t as effective playing outside of Zimmer’s defense, and Tampa Bay released him after only one year. Johnson is expected to visit the Vikings on Friday and make a choice between returning to Zimmer in Minnesota or returning to his former teammates in Cincinnati. I normally pound the table for released players over true unrestricted free agents, because they don’t count against you in the compensatory pick formula, but I don’t think our outgoing free agents are going to net us anything next year anyways.

2. Chris Culliver – Cornerback – Age 26

I’m not totally comfortable, despite my optimism, with our current group of corners. Maybe I’m just gun shy after so many years of watching the Vikings field horrible secondaries. So, I’m not content with them sticking with what they’ve got, and Culliver is the best free agent option available. He’s got some off-the-field detractors and he’s only a year and a half removed from an ACL injury. Still, he bounced back nicely in 2014 and produced four interceptions. Culliver is currently scheduled to visit Washington.

1. Stefen Wisniewski – Center – Age 26

This young mammoth is capable of playing both center and guard. I could see him being an instant starter at left guard and his versatility certainly doesn’t hurt his value. Wisniewski is well known as a capable blocker in both phases of the game, but he is reportedly visiting Seattle who just traded away their starting center to acquire Jimmy Graham. A lot has been made about signing a replacement at left guard, but we have to keep in mind that the other four starters on the offensive line are all playing under lucrative contracts already.

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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. You must have read my mind Adam,I was justing looking to see who was available.There are still some good options out there.
    Spikes was my #1 choice before FA started so I’m hopeful we can land him.
    I also think another couple guys that could be on the Vikes radar are Patrick Robinson,who fits the mould as a Zimmer project & Perrish Cox who played well last year.
    Ron Parker is also a guy that has the versatility that Zimmer values.

    1. He is actually facing a four game fine to start next season, his next infraction will trigger a four game suspension. He has another disturbing issue with a home of his burning down. That fire was categorized as arson. I’m sure no one wants to sign the guy and have him get charged with that crime the next day, especially a Vikings team that still has Peterson sitting on the exempt list.

  2. I really have no issues with them waiting for things to cool down a bit, but I’m a little surprised they picked this off-season to go that route. One of the bad things about having 7 first round draft picks the last three years is eventually your going to have some expensive extensions to work out. They are still a couple years away from that, so if they want to play in free agency now is the time to do it, especially with such a weak group of our own FA’s leaving to factor in for comp picks next year. I think they are really focused in on getting the Peterson deal right, and they should be. Any trade with Peterson could end up including a player at one of our positions of need, so until that gets done their hands are tied to an extent. If they get Johnson in here to solidify the D-Line that is going to be a huge move. In any case, spending money for the sake of spending money in free agency never works. I’ld rather they make the right signings than the flashy ones. The only player they seemed to have serious interest in so far was Boling and he returned to the Bengals, so we didn’t really have much of a chance on that.

  3. Save the money for Harry the Hitman, Xavier, T-rex arms, Barr, Teddy and maybe Kalil if he gets his game together. Xavier alone could need $12mil+ if he is as good as he looked down the stretch. We’re building long term. Remember 2009 and how old our team was? We are just starting to see the reboot come to fruition. Don’t ruin it by overpaying FA’s.

  4. I’m not sure the LB issue is so pressing other than for depth. I really think that Cole has finally earned a shot. I wasn’t as crazy for him to start just because he made flashes in the preseason, but due to his pretty stellar games vs the Packers 2 years ago and his performance in spot duty in 2014, I don’t know how much longer he can be denied. Also noting the Cowboys just signed Jasper Brinkley and NOT Rolando McClain might be a pretty clear message that Rolando’s off-field issues are too numerous. Not that we wouldn’t need depth, but, we obviously need a starting LG, and probably need at least a starting caliber DB, either safety or CB. The arguement about saving money is silly because you could just front-load a couple contracts to spend that 30+ million this year, including things like re-signing some of those key guys (Rhodes, Harrison Smith, etc).