There seems to be some interest already in the next draft. In this series we will break down the players needed by the Vikings and what to look for in a prospect at that position. Lets keep in mind that the players needed change often due to free agent signings and free agent losses and injuries. But in part one we will look at general guidelines and then continue with specific areas in later posts.
PRESENT VIKING TEAM AND NEEDS
VIKING PLAYERS BECOMING FREE AGENT( list from Walterfootball.com)
Below is a depth chart and the year each NFL player will be a free agent. Keep in mind that the players listed are notable ones; players at the bottom of the depth chart will not be on this list.
Free agents to be following the 2009 NFL season are marked as "2010" because they become free agents on March 1, 2010. The same goes for future seasons. Age is as of Sept. 1, 2009.
Last updated: Sept. 11, 2009
Quarterback Age Free Agency Year Brett Favre 39 2011 Sage Rosenfels 31 2012 Tarvaris Jackson 26 2010
Running Back Age Free Agency Year Adrian Peterson 24 2013 Chester Taylor 29 2010 Naufahu Tahi 27 2010 Jeff Dugan 28 2012
Wide Receiver Age Free Agency Year Bernard Berrian 28 2014 Sidney Rice 23 2011 Percy Harvin 21 2014 Greg Lewis 29 N/A
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Tight End Age Free Agency Year Visanthe Shiancoe 29 2012 Jim Kleinsasser 32 2012
Offensive Tackle Age Free Agency Year Bryant McKinnie 29 2014 Phil Loadholt 23 2013 Drew Radovich 24 2011 Ryan Cook 26 2010
Guard Age Free Agency Year Steve Hutchinson 31 2013 Anthony Herrera 29 2013 Artis Hicks 30 2010
Center Age Free Agency Year John Sullivan 24 2012 Jon Cooper 22 N/A
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Defensive End Age Free Agency Year Jared Allen 27 2014 Ray Edwards 24 2010 Brian Robison 26 2011 Jayme Mitchell 25 2011
Defensive Tackle Age Free Agency Year Kevin Williams 29 2015 Pat Williams 36 2011 Fred Evans 25 2010 Letroy Guion 22 2012
Outside Linebacker Age Free Agency Year Chad Greenway 26 2011 Ben Leber 30 2011 Erin Henderson 23 2011 (RFA) Heath Farwell 27 2012
Middle Linebacker Age Free Agency Year E.J. Henderson 29 2012 Jasper Brinkley 24 2013
Cornerback Age Free Agency Year Antoine Winfield 32 2014 Cedric Griffin 26 2014 Karl Paymah 26 2010 Asher Allen 21 2013
Safety Age Free Agency Year Madieu Williams 27 2014 Tyrell Johnson 24 2012 Husain Abdullah 24 2011 Eric Frampton 25 2010 (RFA)
|Special Teamer||Age||Free Agency Year|
The Vikings are in great shape with Travaris Jackson, Chester Taylor, Paymah, Ray Edwards, and Tahi as the possible losses from this team. Obviously 2011 looks a little more dangerous so we must look to shore up possible losses there in the process also.
3. Weaknesses on Existing Team
Wide Receiver – The Vikings could use a star Wide Receiver. So far Bernard Berrian has not been a true #1 but he is serviceable. The addition of Harvin could mean that the Vikes will use free agency for a WR since the position is not an emergency fill.
Quarterback – This is The most glaring hole for the Vikings. Brett is great until 2011 if he stays healthy and he isn't ready to retire. Travaris Jackson's contract is up in March. The player evaluators will have to either sign him or let him walk. The Sage Rosenfels pickup starts to look like a good move by the front office. It will be interesting to see how the Vikes feel about Travaris. He makes about 1 Million per year. Sage was purchased for 3 million per year. Farve for 12 million. What do the other NFL teams think Travaris is worth?
A first round pick between #25-32 will cost about 3 Million per year. Ist round picks are about 50/50 for success rate. 2nd round picks run about 29%, according to draft studies I have read.
Defensive Tackle – The Vikings Need a successor to Pat Williams . Pat can still play at a high level, but they need a backup plan to keep this shut down run defense going strong.Pats contract is up in 2011. The draft offers many opportunities for a late first round team to pick up the man of their dreams. The Vikings like them big and those that play the 4-3. The front office has proven with Phil Loadholt and Sullivan that they can evaluate lineman.
Cornerback – The Vikings are young (except for Winfield) and somewhat smallish in the backfield. This a make or break year for Paymah as his contract is up. Although older free agents usualy come on the market I feel as though the Vikings like thier scheme and are looking for that perfect draft choice. Remember last year they passed on Vontae Davis evn though he was available. If the right DB is available this year don't be surprised if the Vikings fill a need with the #1 pick. The draft services I read suggest this is a weak year for DB's however.
Center – . The Vikings are set for a starter since Sullivan has been all the Vikings have asked for at the position. However Ryan Cook has always been a backup center in a pinch and his contract is up. Look for a Cook signing to indicate that the Vikings are happy with their offensive line. Letting him go means they want to shoe up the O-Line this year with other talent. Letting a multi-use O-Lineman go is very indicative of where the Vikes think they are in terms of O-Line stability.
Running Back – Adrian Petersonis simply the best. To keep him that way Chester Taylor needs to be resigned or the Vikes will need to find the new guy in round s 2 or 3 of the draft. The way AP is starting to catch passes indicates that Chester will be gone. I don't blame the Vikes. Chester is almost thirty and gets paid Big Boy money by the Vikes. If another team wants to pay him then more power to Chester. If he wants to stay a Viking thats O.K with everyone. I bet he takes the money and moves on. Its his last contract and he is a great back. Look for a draft pick for this position.
Offensive Tackle – Never enough good tackles for one team. Ryan Cook's contract is up. Someday the left side will need to be replaced. Late draft picks can work ( see Sullivan) but this position must be properly filled to open up that running game and protect the Q.B. I don't see a #1 or #2 pick here.
When I look at the way the Vikings are structured I see a team with a lot of flexibility. No question that the QB solution is the #1 need. No other glaring hole exists. Yet they have flexibility with Sage. This flexibility means that a draft pick or free agent pick-up must come in this year. That person must be ready to play in 2011. If the Vikes resign Travaris I suspect they will have determined that no one in this years draft is worth the price of admission. This looks like a bumper crop this year with 4-5 first rounders. Also a year with 4-5 teams that need a QB.
Spielman ( director of player personel) will be judged on his ability to deal with this situation. You will know where the Vikes are headed because Travaris must resign before the March deadline. He drafted Tavaris. His Quarterback history is bad. His other picks for the Vikes have been outstanding. There is a lot of pressure on Mr. Spielman this year.
Except for the QB situation the draft and free agency can be a windfall for the Vikings. They can take the best player available at needed positions and build a great team for the next 5-6 years.
This will be interesting.
The next installment will be on what to look for at different positions. For now I would love to hear your views on what the Vikings Need for to improve the team