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2016 Minnesota Vikings Free Agents

While we try to figure out just where our latest playoff heartbreaker will rank in Minnesota Vikings lore, and some of try to find a suitable nickname for the missed kick that ensured the loss, there also exists an urge to collectively cast our gaze to the future.

One of the first things that needs to be addressed in any offseason are the questions surrounding the current roster and figuring out just which players could end up moving on in the coming months.

As of today, here are the Vikings players set to see their current contracts expire prior to the 2016 season. The list is loosely ranked by playing time and production, so don’t put too much stock into the order in which they appear:

2016 Minnesota Vikings Free Agents

Mike Harris, OL, 27

By quite a large margin, Mike Harris was the Vikings most consistent offensive lineman in 2015. That might not be saying much, but I would hate to have witnessed what the unit would’ve looked like with out him. The Vikings can’t afford to take a step backwards at offensive line this offseason (they need to take a few huge steps forwards) and resigning Harris should be a priority near the top of Rick Spielman’s to-do list.

Terence Newman, CB, 37

Mike Zimmer milked 62 tackles, 12 deflected passes and three interceptions out of the aging veteran Terence Newman in 2015. While Newman played admirably, it is hard to ignore his age, and the Vikings will probably let Trae Waynes see more significant playing time in 2016 instead of resigning Newman. Of course, if the price is right, the Vikings could certainly do worse than Newman as a reserve option.

Chad Greenway, LB, 32

It was fun seeing Greenway look somewhat rejuvenated in a 2015 role that was greatly reduced from his previous duties with the Vikings. Still, the Vikings veteran linebacker is no longer the player he once was, and would have to be open to a greatly reduced contract in a reserve role if he wants to come back… and, even then, I’m not sure the Vikings sign him. It is also possible that Greenway retires this offseason.

Rhett Ellison, TE, 27

Often used as the “sixth lineman” in heavy formations, Rhett Ellison has been a dependable and important piece to Minnesota’s offense since they drafted him. Unfortunately, his ability to play in 2016 is now a question mark following his major knee injury in the final week of the season. If not for injury concerns, for which I obviously don’t have the answers for, the Vikings would almost certainly resign Ellison without batting an eye.

Marcus Sherels, CB/PR, 28

Stop if you’ve heard this one before, but it will be interesting to see if Marcus Sherels can once again make the Vikings squad in 2016 and beyond. Sherels is never on the field as a defensive back these days, unless something has gone incredibly wrong, but he remained a valuable punt returner (9.1 yard average) in 2015. I’m willing to bet the Vikings make an effort to bring him back.

Adam Thielen, WR, 25 (ERFA)

The “King of Mankato” will almost certainly be back to training camp this year, given he is restricted, and he could really become an even greater story than he already is if he continues to build off of his 2015’s successes. At the end of the year, Thielen was really starting to look like a legitimate receiving threat, and his development at the position would make things really interesting in terms of depth chart decisions in August and September.

Matt Asiata, RB, 28

Asiata is pretty much an “as advertised” type of player. He is dependable, a good enough blocker and pass catcher, while his ceiling is pretty low. Adrian Peterson might be the past at this point, but Jerick McKinnon is certainly the future. Asiata is expendable and contract offers will likely reflect exactly that.

Audie Cole, LB, 26

Everyone loves Audie Cole. I love Audie Cole. I think the Vikings might be willing to move on, however, prepared to find someone else to fill depth roles within the defense for 2016 and beyond. Cole never seemed to be a favorite with Zimmer’s staff, despite the nice job he has done with limited opportunities, and his season ending injury in early November certainly didn’t help his cause.

Josh Robinson, CB, 25

Alshon Jeffery aside, Josh Robinson played pretty well for Mike Zimmer in 2014, but injury kept him mostly out of action in 2015. He allowed Seattle’s only touchdown in the Vikings playoff loss, but it isn’t like Doug Baldwin hasn’t made better cornerbacks look like clowns this season. Robinson’s speed and youth make him worthy of a reasonable offer at a position where you can never have too much depth.

Justin Trattou, DE, 27

Justin Trattou tied Captain Munnerlyn and Harrison Smith with two interceptions on the season. Those were easily his biggest moments of the regular season, but he has flashed plenty of potential, looking like a potential rotational player in Zimmer’s defense. Don’t be surprised if he is brought back to provide depth and compeition at the defensive end position.

Zach Line, FB, 25 (RFA)

If the Vikings are going to keep using a fullback, then there is no reason not to tender Zach Line as a restricted free agent, and I bet that’s exactly what they do.

Andrew Sendejo, S, 28

The Vikings simply need to upgrade the strong safety spot in 2016. It was the weakest link on the defense in 2015 and it wasn’t even close. Sendejo does a few things well, and he might be worth bringing back to provide depth, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Vikings just move on without him.

Robert Blanton, S, 26

Blanton is not a great option and never has been. His versatility, the ability to also play cornerback, might provide him an advantage in getting another contract but I’m not betting anything on that.

Kenrick Ellis, DT, 28

I’m guessing that the Vikings will look elsewhere for defensive tackle depth in 2016. Ellis was a mid-season signing after Shamar Stephen was sent to injured reserve with a toe injury. With Sharrif Floyd, Linval Joseph, and Tom Johnson all likely to return it would make more sense to target younger linemen that can be developed.

Casey Matthews, LB, 26

A preseason injury caused Matthews to miss the entire season and I would be surprised if he returns to Minnesota.

Jason Trusnik, LB, 31

The age and talent of Jason Trusnik will not get anyone excited.

Carter Bykowski, LT, 25 (ERFA)

He’s young and cheap. There is zero reason to send Bykowski packing prior to training camp, but we’re in deep trouble if he sees the field during meaningful action.



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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. Re-Sign Harris, Newman, Asiata, Ellison, Thielen, Line, Trattou, and maybe Greenway.

    Make Cole, Blanton and Sherels earn their roster spot in preseason
    There has gotta be a better option than Sendejo.

  2. Sendejo wasn’t as bad as you make him seem. There’s atleast 8 ss worse than him, he should start somewhere. I also want Asiata gone, I just don’t like the skill set he has its worse than vanilla.

    Otherwise I agree with Ole.

    1. I’m 50-50 on Sendejo, Skol12. He’s a good physical player, just wish he was a little quicker

      1. he played much better this season than he did in 2014, but still, the Vikings had current Panther, Kurt Coleman in house last summer and decided to go with Sendejo instead. Hope they draft his replacement

    2. Asiata?! What did he do?!

      I think I’m the lone supporter of Asiata at this point.

      1. Asiata didn’t do anything, thats the problem! I really can’t explain why I don’t like him at all, but I just feel bored watching him.

        He reminds me of playing Owatonna my senior year in high school. They ran 3 plays all game from the same formation. Either a run up the middle, play action roll out, or qb scramble. It worked surprisingly well but was sooo boring.

  3. I say dump Peterson. He’s aging very rapidly, He’s extremely expensive and fumbles every freaking game. Time to move on. We could really use that money to get some major offensive weapons and running backs have become a dime a dozen.

      1. He won the rushing title,big deal!
        When we needed him today he did nothing except turn the ball over at a critical time in the game.
        This offence works better with McKinnon in at RB.Trade Peterson and draft another back who can run with Teddy in shotgun.If Ezikiel Elliot falls in the draft (like RBs often do) then we should take him.

        1. One Adrian Peterson is not the problem he’s probably the biggest reason we even made the playoffs and he sat out a year and was the best running back still the problem is the offensive line I think we need to wash the whole line and go with draft picks and free agency jerrick mckinnon is only successful because other teams don’t game plan for him Peterson makes u game plan for him the reason why he’s not successful in big games is because teams know he’s our only weapon teddy is too scared to throw if teddy can take the next step they won’t even be ready for Peterson and that’s what we were waiting for and we never got it so yea I blame Peterson for the fumble but I blame teddy more he didn’t do nothing in that game till the last drive maybe if he could of thrown one touchdown we wouldn’t of had to rely on Blair Walsh or Peterson

      2. Can you name a game where he dominated an elite class opponent? In all of the games where we played playoff caliber teams Peterson was AWOL. How many big games has he lost us with fumbles? New Orleans anyone.

        I guess I don’t think we should feature him anymore. Give the team to Teddy. Getting a rushing championship is an individual honor and great for him but I am as sure as I can be that Peterson will not get us a championship. He’s not a clutch player anymore. His fumble cost us the Seattle game. No fumble no Seattle FG we win 9-7….

        I’m still pissed at Munnerlyn for not tackling Wilson on that flubbed snap. How can a db whif on a guy kneeling on the ground trying to pick up a ball?? He makes that sack, no scramble, no long quirky pass, no Seattle TD. we win the game….

        I think Walsh is a choker. He’s not mentally tough. Didn’t he also choke in the Denver game and miss a FG that would have tied it?? That’s not the kind of guy Zim wants on his team. On a Zimmer team you don’t miss those… Ever…

        1. Gonna respectfully disagree with you on Walsh, Jake. Not sure I can recall another game he had this happen, and there are two games this year alone where he won with a successful kick on the final play of the game (Bears and Rams). FYI, in the Denver game he MADE a 33 yd FG with 5:16 to play to tie the score at 20-20 and never got an opportunity after that. He had missed one in the first half, and if you are looking for a kicker who makes them all, good luck.

          Those two 40+ yard kicks yesterday we very impressive in light of the conditions, and it was Blair Walsh who had us in control of the game. Yes, yesterday’s miss was certainly unfortunate, untimely, and very hard to explain, but I don’t feel it makes him a choker. And mentally tough? Sounds to me like he was a very stand-up guy in the locker room yesterday, making sure no blame whatsoever went to the snapper, holder or anyone else, and answered every question that came his way. He’s very highly regarded in that locker room, and I doubt many if any players would label him mentally weak or a choker. I like Walsh and hope we keep him for years to come.

          1. Certainly didn’t make it easy for Walsh by positioning the ball on the left hash.Maybe he likes it there,but I would have thought positioning the ball centrally would have been the go.

    1. I think a little better offensive line and not running on first down every time would have helped.

  4. to wtf spielman: Adrians contract is guaranteed, why the hell would we cut him? He already is taking a pay-cut next season and what evidence do you have that he is aging rapidly?

    Edit by Brett: Ease up on the personal attacks. Thanks

    1. Peterson took less salary for more guaranteed money but I’m not sure I’d call the deal he made with the Vikings a “pay cut”.

      Also – scientifically, I think we’re all aging rapidly! Hah

  5. Let Greenway retire. Re-sign Newman at a backup’s salary but with incentives. Bring back all three of the restricted free agents.

    I don’t imagine there will be much of a market for Asiata, Sherels, Trattou (only because of his age) or Ellison (mainly because of the injury). Bring them all into camp; I’d be happy getting another year or two out of Sherels and Asiata but I think Trattou and Ellison could be solid role players for four or more years.

    Blanton, Robinson and Cole: Each might have impressed some other team along the line, enough so that they could be brought in with the promise of at least a shot at starting. If Zimmer and his staff were not inclined to give them that shot, I’d let Blanton walk for sure, keep the door open for Cole as a back-up at all three LB spots and try to hold on to Robinson as a quality back-up and long shot starter.

    Harris should find a market at the lower range of a starting right guard’s salary. I really WANT to re-sign him to a long-term deal but I’m not sure RG will be available. If Fusco is an out-and-out bust at left guard, do we move him back to RG because he already has a contract? Is Harris capable of playing LG? If Loadholt can’t return or is cut, do we try to bring Harris back to compete with Clemmings at right tackle?

  6. Let skinkwhole and blanton go draft jayron Kearse to complete with exam and Harris get rid of Wallace keep thielen bring sherels back and Greenway Ellison maybe cole DRAFT A FRICKEN LG EARLY. A backup nose tackle and a WR keep Mike Harris. And get a punter to compete. We have most of our pieces in place with a good draft we could definitely be contenders next year. PS if we can get something for Peterson trade him.

  7. Oh and keep Zach Line he is a stud and young full backs often play well into their 30s

  8. Sendejo and Robinson need to go. Robinson has long been a bad cornerback and Sendejo is often out of position and doesn’t know how to tackle. I’d rather see Newman kept around for added depth at Safety and Corner… If Sendejo wasn’t in a contract year, I’d probably keep him and work on his tackling and positioning, but he got picked on in several games as I recall.

    Pretty much need to keep Cole around for depth unless Vikes draft another linebacker high- If Greenway and Cole are both gone will be very thin at linebacker- and relying on draft picks or free agent pickups to fill out the depth chart. Not too excited by that thought.

    Next year is also Patterson’s last year under his rookie contract, but we can expect he’ll be out the door if there’s any trade potential there.

  9. I believe Zimmer and Spielman will work hand in hand to keep the best of the bunch ~ I also see them trying to improve on the players they dont resign ~

    I so hope one of those improvement is replacing Sendejo as a starter ~ I know he is a great ST player and backup ~ However I dont think I can stand another dropped INT by his stone hands ~ Newman said after filling in for him one game at safety that he could see his future at FS ~ That might not be a bad idea for a year or two ~ He sure held up well at CB for the Vikings this year ~

    At the right price IMHO these guys are all keepers ~

    Mike Harris,Chad Greenway,Rhett Ellison,Marcus Sherels,Adam Thielen,Matt Asiata,Audie Cole,Justin Trattou,Zach Line,