Free AgencyOpinion

Eddie Lacy to the Vikings Makes Sense

Say what you will about Eddie Lacy’s eating habits or his love of Chinese food, but the former Packers running back is a perfect fit for the Minnesota Vikings. In his five-year career, he’s gained more than 3,400 yards and scored 23 times, averaging 4.4 yards per carry in Green Bay’s pass-happy offense.

Nevermind his weight; Minnesota knows all too well how effective Lacy can be on the ground. In seven games against the division rival Vikings, Lacy amassed 618 yards and scored five touchdowns to contribute to Green Bay’s four series victories. At 5’11” and 231 pounds, he’s a load to bring down and the potential “thunder” to complement the “lightning” that is Jerick McKinnon in Minnesota’s backfield.

Late last night, Chris Tomasson staked out at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he caught a glimpse of Lacy arriving in the Twin Cities. Although the free agent back declined to comment, Tomasson reported what all expected to take place this weekend: Lacy is in town to visit with the Vikings.

Like so many others—either because of rival disdain or sticker shock—I immediately wrote off the Lacy talk as wishful thinking. I didn’t trust his constant bout with weight, worried about his recent ankle injury, and couldn’t see the Vikings spending additional dollars on a high-profile running back like Lacy.

But the soft market for ballcarriers— Jamaal Charles and Latavius Murray remain unsigned—and Adrian Peterson’s hazy future in Minnesota swayed my thinking. And early last month, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported Lacy would likely have to settle for a bargain deal in free agency; somewhere around the one-year, $2 million mark.

The Vikings have more than enough cap space to add a player like Lacy, even after signing Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to monster contracts early in free agency. Spotrac, an oft-cited resource on Vikings Territory, calculates Lacy’s market value at $2.8 million per year; a figure Minnesota should have no problem paying to a back with proven ability in the league.

Some may argue this year’s draft class is loaded with NFL-ready talent, and while that may be true,  stocking up at a position of need (on the cheap) is the smart play for the Vikings. Right now, McKinnon, Bishop Sankey, and C.J. Ham are the only rostered backs and have just 25 combined starts.

Why not spend some of the remaining $26 million in cap space on Lacy, weaken the Packers’ roster in turn, and use one of a handful of picks to grab the back you like late in the draft? Given Lacy’s relative youth, proven production, and fit in Pat Shurmur’s offense alongside McKinnon, ensuring he doesn’t leave Minneapolis has to be at the top of Minnesota’s priorities.

As of now, things seem to be trending in a positive direction.

Other Updates

Audie Cole signs with Jacksonville Jaguars

Tomasson reports the Vikings had a mild interest in re-signed Cole, who departed the team after five seasons for sunny Jacksonville. His exit is part of a larger exodus from Minnesota; since the start of free agency, the Vikings have lost Matt Kalil, Captain Munnerlyn, Charles Johnson, Rhett Ellison, and Jeff Locke to other franchises. Without Cole, the Vikings have just five linebackers on the roster in Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Edmond Robinson, Emmanuel Lamur, and Kentrell Brothers.

Detroit Lions add T.J. Lang, continue OL fortification

Like the Vikings, the Lions made a splash along the offensive line in free agency. But ask most experts—and average joes like myself—and they’ll tell you the Lions reaped the greater rewards. Early Sunday morning, former Green Bay Packers guard T.J. Lang signed a three-year deal with the Lions to join Ricky Wagner as the team’s second high-profile signing. Detroit’s improvements up front better their chances against Mike Zimmer’s fearsome pass rush this season.

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Austin Belisle

Austin Belisle is the West Coast's biggest Vikings fan, a football diehard cheering on the purple and yellow from sunny California. After graduating from San Jose State University in 2014, he began working full-time in corporate marketing and blogging on various sports websites. Austin's passion for the Vikings led him to Vikings Territory, where he hopes to share his lifelong enthusiasm for the team with readers on a daily basis. You can follow him on Twitter @austincbelisle

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  1. Lacy is a tough call. No doubt the guy can play but will he keep his weight in check? His ankle injury was a real serious one. Will it be completely healed by training camp? I guess I’d be fine with a one year deal at 2 mil or so. Maybe with a weight clause in the contract.

    1. It’s a gamble, for sure, but I think the price should be low enough to warrant it. Like you said, they need to minimize risk with the contract.

    1. I think he’s still mad they didn’t give his son a long term deal last year. He didn’t mention whether Rhet was offered a contract by the Vikings, I’m guessing they didnt since they effectively replaced him by drafting Morgan last year. The guys they have lost this year they didn’t try hard to retain, there are a couple valid comments in there but mostly I think the guy has hard feelings. One thing about this team, they really never had the roster turnover you typically see when a new coach comes in after Zimmer was hired. Four of the guys that left with were from Frasier year drafts.

  2. Why waste money and time on Lacy when the biggest target in free agency is still hanging free and loose. I’m beginning to wonder if SpeilMullen has the cajones to lock up Zach Line to a lifetime deal. The deal should be something like this, Vikings Fullback for 5-7 years. Then allow Zach to hang up his jock strap and move into scouting NAIA schools for future fullbacks for another 2-4 years. By this time, Line will have accumulated enough knowledge and gravitas equal to Rickie Poo. Zygmund can then finally hold a welcome home celebration at Loring Park and announce Zach Line as the new Minnesota Vikings General Manager and Chief of Security for the Vikings Parking Structure in Eden Prairie.

    The scenario above is a no brainer. Literally…….

      1. For sure Sam, Ole has a gift. Yet I usually find myself agreeing once I get past the humor. And I do agree, resign Zack. A sure +2-4 wins with him on the roster. Let us not forget who made the key block on CP’s last TD return. Not a biased statement, the announcers of the game made mention of his block, one of two times his name was mentioned last year… and both were on TD’s. (just not his)

    1. Ole, you’ve always wondered about our hairstyles, right? Check out the latest post.

  3. I really hope we avoid all the FA running backs and go with a RB in a deep draft. Oklahoma’s Perine in the 4th round we be a superb replacement.

    1. I really like Perine too, would love to see him get picked up, especially if they can manage it after taking o linemen with their 1st 2 picks.