Following the cutdown to a (somewhat) finalized 53-man roster, it is an annual tradition that somebody out there less lazy than myself calculate the average age of NFL teams and create a whole bunch of headlines from all 32 markets that allude to where each franchise sits in the stack.
This year, Philly Voice did the dirty work, and Vikings fans will be interested to hear that the team has gone from one the league’s youngest rosters to the second oldest. They have an average age of 26.58 years and only the Atlanta Falcons are older.
One school of thought would suggest that an already talented playoff team is now that much more experienced across the board and prepared to make a serious run. Another angle, however, is that this roster has some veterans that will soon be in need of a replacement.
I wanted to take a quick look at the five oldest players on the Vikings roster and do a quick rundown in terms of where they stand, what their contract says about their future, and where things might go from here.
TERENCE NEWMAN, CB, AGE 38
The aging cornerback is defying all of the odds in a way that might have me making a New Year’s resolution that includes drinking red wine on the regular. I was plenty dubious about Newman’s ability to make this roster, or at least maintain his starting role, given all of the young talent at the position. However, Newman proved me wrong and is back for his 14th season and the preliminary depth chart indicates he has fended off Trae Waynes from swiping his starting role.
Newman returned on a one-year deal and, according to Spotrac, gets a per game bonus of $15,625 this season. I still think Waynes surpasses him this season, but even that doesn’t happen this must be Newman’s last year, right?
SHAUN HILL, QB, AGE 36
Poor Shaun Hill. Clearly the Vikings do not trust him to play much, as they acted swiftly in trading a bounty to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford in the days following Teddy Bridgewater’s shocking injury. Hill, who joined the NFL as a Viking way back when I was still in high school (and I’m not that young, folks), is simply viewed as a last resort, apparently.
Hill will start the 2016 regular season as Sam Bradford’s primary backup, and maybe even the Week One starter, but his future is very uncertain. When Taylor Heinicke returns from his injury it is entirely possible that Hill is relegated to the three spot or maybe even the transaction report.
Regardless of what happens this season, I would be shocked if he is back with Minnesota in 2017 after his contract expires, and he may even decide to call it a career.
JOE BERGER, C, AGE 34
Long-time Viking John Sullivan was released this preseason. The move normally would’ve called for a more honorable sendoff had it not happened only just prior to Bridgewater’s injury stealing every headline everywhere.
Sullivan’s departure was due, at least in part, to his health and hefty contract. However, Berger’s fine job replacing him in 2015 and strong preseason showing made that tough decision a little easier, I am sure.
Berger is also in the final year of his contract, a two-year deal worth $2.155 million, and could be in for an extension sooner than later if his play stays consistent and father time doesn’t appear to catch up with him.
CHAD GREENWAY, LB, AGE 33
Chad Greenway, a friend of the site, has pretty much committed himself to this being his final season and his final chance to help bring home a Super Bowl victory.
The Vikings retained Greenway on a one-year deal to give him that chance. What’s more, he managed to keep the youngsters at bay and made the final 53-man roster. Greenway saw his playing time reduced in 2015, and that could continue this year, but his leadership and community impact make him valuable to the organization regardless.
Here is hoping that Chad gets what he seeks.
BRIAN ROBISON, DE, AGE 33
Brian Robison has been a fan favorite for a long time. Heck, he was a popular Viking way back before he took the starting job from ray Edwards. I remember tuning in to Viking Update just for his live chats with fans that he did on a weekly basis for a while, which was some groundbreaking accessibility at that time. Some of you younger guys may not even know he ever did that.
Robison has this season and next left on his contract, and next season’s dead cap value of $1 million could make it relatively easy for the Vikings to move on if they wanted, but Robison is such a team player I’m not sure how that will play out.
Robison has technically retained his starting spot, but it is not a secret that the young Danielle Hunter looks like the real deal and might have more to offer at left end already. Robison, however, has shown a willingness this preseason (and throughout his career) to play a variety of roles. That versatility makes him an appealing option within Mike Zimmer’s defense, knowing that he can kick inside on passing downs and even move to outside linebacker from time to time.
I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the always-dependable Robison plays out his contract, if not his career, in Minnesota.