FanPost

Vikings Offseason Plan v2.0. The 3-4 Defense Switch

Now that the season has mercifully come to an end, we can start the rebuilding process and offer up all kinds of scenarios.

In other words, play Wanna Be GM. One of my favortie pasttimes as many of you know.

Before I begin I would like to have a moment of silence and for those of you that may be enjoyng an adult beverage (or any beverage), please pour out a little bit in honor of The People's Champion!

Now that we have paid some respect I will move on to the fantasy.

So why would the Vikings switch to the 3-4 you ask? Well it has been rumored a little and Spielman did say that "nothing is off the table" which was after he told Ponder he was not taking a QB in the first round. So believe what you want. The reason why I think the 3-4 makes sense is because of the current personnel on the team. You have Everson Griffen who needs to get on the field and Jasper Brinkley. The two of them could somehow work their way into the lineup playing a majority of snaps in a 3-4 defense. I think that Ballard and Guion would be good 3-4 DEs with their size. Those positions will rotate in and out anyway. The secondary does not matter because it needs a complete overhaul anyway.

Here is an article with some very good information regarding the rules ... http://www.askthecommish.com/salarycap/faq.asp

I will leave this in all my plans as I think it is useful information for those of you who will come up with your own plans.

Just remember that the salary floor is 89% of the cap which for 2011 was $120.375M per team. But this does not start until 2013. It is important when coming up with scenarios because if you trade away or release high priced players you need some to take their place and you want them to be worth the money.

Here is a good breakdown of the current cap situation done by DJSkillz http://www.dailynorseman.com/2012/1/5/2685018/a-look-at-the-2012-minnesota-vikings-cap-situation

Thus I do not need to replicate his fine efforts. I will just go with his numbers.

This particular plan involves the Vikings moving to the 3-4 defense. It will have some unpleasant and unacceptable moves for some.

Here are the free agents in 2012 that I would not offer a new contract (at least not right away).

Jim Kleinsasser 34 * retired
E.J. Henderson 31
Visanthe Shiancoe 31
Benny Sapp 30
Greg Camarillo 29
Kenny Onatolu 29
Fred Evans 28
Eric Frampton 27
Devin Aromashodu 27
Xavier Adibi 27
Tyrell Johnson 26
Husain Abdullah 26
Letroy Guion 24
Erin Henderson 25
Matt Katula 29
Scott Kooistra 31
Jarrad Page 27
Sage Rosenfels 33
Lorenzo Booker 27
Patrick Brown 25

This is 20 players. I think that Letroy Guion, Erin Henderson, Patrick Brown, and Sage Rosenfels all could get resigned but not until after free agency begins and their contracts would not be guaranteed. Thus they have to make the team (i.e., the final cut).

These are the players I would release because of age, salary, injury, or lack of talent or some combination of all of that.

Steve Hutchinson 34
Anthony Herrera 31
Cedric Griffin 29
Antoine Winfield 34

That is another 4 players.

That is a total of 24 players I am recommending the team replaces with only 5 possibly coming back.

In DJSkillz post he thinks that after all his cuts there could be about 41 mil available for free agents. So the Vikings should sign plenty of players after releasing the above players.

Looking at free agency there are plenty of players who would help the Vikings. But these players are going to cost a pretty penny. The question is which free agents are worth the money? That is the key when signing free agents. With the amount of money paid to the player you want them to be able to contribute for a few years at the very least. With that in mind I am targeting some players who are young and that I feel have some upside to their games.

In my first version I included some of the contracts that free agents received prior to this season. Here is the link ...
http://www.dailynorseman.com/2011/12/1/2603306/vikings-offseason-plan-v1-0

So the free agents I think the Vikings have a good chance at signing are below with their age and a potential salary offer based on free agent signings last year. Keep in mind that the Vikings MAY have to overpay a little to get players to come here and to get the players they want which is risky.

FS - Michael Griffin 26 6-0 202 4.45 - 5 year 37.5 mil
I like Griffin because he is consistent with his passes defended (PDs) and picks (INTs). I thought about Tyvon Branch as well but his PDs and INTs are not too good. He does get a lot of tackles. Plus I think the Vikings will role with Raymond & Sanford battling for the other spot. Reggie Nelson is also intriguing as he seems to have turned his career around in Cincinnati.

CB – Brandon Carr 25 6-3 207 4.43 - 5 year 37.5 mil
I like Carr because he is consistent with his PDs and INTs. I also like Richard Marshall who always gets lots of tackles and PDs and INTs. I could see the Vikings signing two free agent corners because I am releasing both Winfield and Griffin in this plan. It is an option.

DE - Adam Carriker 27 6-6 315 4.90 - 5 year 25 mil
I like Carriker. He has excellent size and is stout vs the run. He also managed 5.5 sacks this year. Ideally, I would want to sign Calais Campbell but I think Arizona will franchise tag him if they cannot agree on a deal prior to free agency. He is too good to let go and he will be signed for some big bucks.

DT - Paul Soliai 27 6-4 355 5.10 - 4 year 28 mil
I think Soliai may cost a bit more. He is excellent taking up two blockers. How could he not? Other candidates are Aubrayo Franklin or Antonio Garay but they are over 30. I think that the Vikings would keep Ayodele if they move to a 3-4. Ayodele may fit better as a true NT and he can rotate with Soliai.

WR – Pierre Garcon 26 6-0 210 4.42 - 5 year 27.5 mil
I like Garcon because he is fast and has been productive even without Peyton. I also thought about Vincent Jackson, Marcus Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Mario Manningham, Steve Johnson, and DeSean Jackson. I really would like to get DeSean but I do not think Ponder throws a very good deep ball at this point in time. VJack and Colston would be nice but they are younger and better versions of Jenkins obviously. I just think it will be hard to get one of these top WRs to want to come play in Minnesota on a rebuilding team.

TE - John Carlson 27 6-5 251 4.72 - 3 year 10.5 mil
I think Carlson would be a nice replacement for Shiancoe. Since Musgrave likes the two TE set, Carlson would be another young TE that has proven he can perform in the NFL.

I think that I would try and resign Letroy Guion to rotate in at the 3-4 DE spot and Erin H to play ILB in the 3-4. I do like Dan Connor as a possible free agent but with Greenway moving inside along with Erin H and Brinkley it may be too many players there.

So now to the draft.

I would trade Jared Allen to Seattle for the #12 pick and a 2013 3rd.
I would trade Kevin Williams to Philadelphia for pick #45
I would trade Chris Cook and a 2013 5th round pick to the Rams for pick #66


I think the first two picks are Indianapolis taking Andrew Luck QB obviously and St Louis taking Justin Blackmon WR. Right now it seems that many people feel that the Rams will take Matt Kalil OT and just as many think they will take Blackmon. I think they go WR because they are going to probably lose Brandon Lloyd in free agency, could have difficulty attracting any big time free agents (like us), have drafted tackles early in the 2009 and 2010 drafts, and still could get one at the top of the second round if they want.

So that leaves the Vikings in a pretty good position. They can just take the obvious choice in Matt Kalil or put on their poker hats and try and make a deal. I think that is what they will do if they are good enough.

I would trade the #3 pick to the Browns for their #4, #36, and #117 picks. I think that the Vikings are going to have to be on top of their poker game to pull off this deal because they have to convince Cleveland that another team is trying to move up which should not be hard to do. The deal gets done in this fantasy draft. :)

With the picks here is what I would do …

4. Matt Kalil OT USC 6-6 295 5.05
The Vikings get extra picks and the player they wanted all along. Kalil will slide right into the starting job at left tackle. He will have some growing pains most likely but nothing out of the ordinary.

12. David DeCastro OG Stanford 6-5 312 5.22
The Vikings get the best interior lineman in the draft according to most draft experts.

35. Mark Barron SS Alabama 6-2 218 4.56
The Vikings need someone to push Sanford. Barron will probably start but at worst he will be ready very soon.

36. Dwight Jones WR North Carolina 6-4 225 4.53
A really productive receiver for North Carolina this past season and it would be a mild surprise if he was available still. He had 85 catches for 1196 yards and 12 TDs. Not bad at all. I can only hope he makes it to this pick.

45. Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina 6-1 193 4.52
The Vikings need another corner with the trade of Cook and the released players above. Hopefully, Gilmore will provide the Vikings with a taller CB that can handle tall receivers. This is another pick that probably will not be here.

66. Josh Chapman DT Alabama 6-1 310 5.02
The Vikings need a young NT to groom and rotate with Soliai and Ayodele. Ayodele only has another two years on his deal so getting Chapman gives good depth to the NT position.

Note: I would take Alameda Ta'amu here if I thought he would be available. And I would not hesitate. Of course I have been wrong before.

67. Derek Wolfe DE Cincinnati 6-5 305 5.16
I like Wolfe a lot. He was the co-Defensive Player of the Year in the Big East and for good reason. He had 70 total tackles with 21.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. He would be a very nice 3-4 DE. Right now he is ranked as a 6th rounder but I think that will change by the time the draft rolls around.

comp. Keenan Robinson LB 6-3 240 4.68
I am hoping that Robinson is still here at this point. I like his game and agressiveness. I think he can play inside or outside in the 3-4.

99. Shea McClellin OLB/DE 6-3 255 4.74
The Vikings would need another OLB/DE prospect. McClellin played well for Boise and all over the defense. Just what you need in a 3-4 defense. A backup who probably will start sooner than later.

117. Casey Hayward CB 5-11 188 4.53
Hayward is a nice corner that hopefully can help out in the slot. This extra pick comes in handy allowing the Vikings to add more quality depth.

131. Joe Adams WR Arkansas 5-11 190 4.38
I like Adams and feel he can bring an extra dimension to the offense. He would be a nice back up for Percy in the slot. Plus he is an excellent punt returner.

164. Evan Rodriguez FB/HB Temple 6-2 250 4.67
I like Rodriguez a lot and compare him to Aaron Hernandez. I think he can be that HB the Vikings need. D'Imperio will have some tough competition.

195. Jaye Howard DE 6-3 303 5.02
Another DE prospect that could fit well as a 3-4 DE.

210. Sammy Brown OLB/DE Houston 6-2 240 4.67
Another pass rusher to add to the mix. He had 30 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He could be a situational type pass rusher to start.

219. Robert Golden FS/CB Arizona 5-11 200 4.54
I like Golden in that he played safety at Arizona for the most part. A decent player to develop

comp. Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina 6-1 190 4.56
A First TEam FCS All American that could be a surprise.

I like these UDFAs ...

Hebron Fangupo DT BYU 6-1 331 5.08
BJ Coleman QB Chattanooga 6-3 220 4.93
Kelvin Beachum OG SMU 6-3 306 5.35
Dominque Hamilton DE Missouri 6-5 305 5.24
Chigbo Anunoby DT Morehouse 6-4 324 5.??
Desmond Marrow CB Toledo 6-2 210 4.52
Micah Pellerin CB/FS Hampton 6-0 195 4.49
Cordarro Law DE/OLB Southern Mississippi 6-2 261 4.67
John Potter K Western Michigan 6-2 209


Here is what the roster would look like

QB – Ponder, Webb, Rosenfels
RB – Peterson, Gerhart, Todman, King (PS)
FB – D’Imperio, Rodriguez
TE – Rudolph, Carlson, Schuler, Reisner (PS)
WR – Harvin, Jenkins, Garcon, Jones, Adams, Burton, Arceneaux (PS)
C – Sullivan, Fusco
G – Decastro, Johnson, Berger, DeGeare (PS)
T – Kalil, Loadholt, Love, Brown
P – Kluwe
LS – Loeffler
K – Longwell
DE – Carriker, Ballard, Guion, Wolfe, Howard (PS)
NT – Soliai, Ayodele, Chapman
OLB - Robison, Griffen, McClellin, Brown (PS)
LB – Greenway, Erin Henderson, Brinkley, Robinson
CB – Carr, Gilmore, Allen, Sherels, Burton, Hayward, Norman (PS)
FS – Griffin, Raymond, Golden (PS)
SS – Barron, Sanford

Well there it is. I am not sure I like this too much though because where will the pass rush come from. The hope is that Griffen will be able to provide that rush. But who knows about that. It all depends on if Allen will play in the 3-4 defense. If he refuses then the Vikings have no choice. I personally think that it would not affect Allen much at all. He would be used similar to the way Dallas uses DeMarcus Ware and he managed 19.5 sacks this past year. I really do not see how he would not be rushing the passer just as often as he does now.

Here is an alternate draft plan that includes keeping Allen (and extending his deal). This would still include the same free agents from above.

In the draft I would still make the trade with Cleveland and trade Cook to the Rams and then do this …

4. Matt Kalil OT USC 6-6 295 5.05
35. Mark Barron SS Alabama 6-2 218 4.56
36. Dwight Jones WR North Carolina 6-4 225 4.53
45. Stephon Gilmore CB South Carolina 6-1 193 4.52
66. Josh Chapman DT Alabama 6-1 310 5.02
67. Kevin Zeitler OG Wisconsin 6-4 318 5.26
comp. Keenan Robinson LB 6-3 240 4.68
99. Shea McClellin OLB 6-3 255 4.74
117. Casey Hayward CB 5-11 188 4.53
131. Joe Adams WR Arkansas 5-11 190 4.38
164. Evan Rodriguez FB/HB Temple 6-2 250 4.67
195. Jaye Howard DE 6-3 303 5.02
210. Sammy Brown OLB Houston 6-2 240 4.67
219. Robert Golden FS/CB 5-11 200 4.54
comp. Josh Norman CB Coastal Carolina 6-1 190 4.56

Here is what the roster would look like

QB – Ponder, Webb, Rosenfels
RB – Peterson, Gerhart, Todman, King (PS)
FB – D’Imperio, Rodriguez
TE – Rudolph, Carlson, Schuler, Reisner (PS)
WR – Harvin, Jenkins, Garcon, Jones, Adams, Burton, Arceneaux (PS)
C – Sullivan, Fusco
G – Johnson, Berger, Zeitler, DeGeare (PS)
T – Kalil, Loadholt, Love, Brown
P – Kluwe
LS – Loeffler
K – Longwell
DE – Carriker, Ballard, Guion, Howard (PS)
NT – Soliai, Ayodele, Chapman
OLB - Allen, Robison, Griffen, McClellin, Brown (PS)
LB – Greenway, Erin Henderson, Brinkley, Robinson
CB – Carr, Gilmore, Allen, Sherels, Burton, Hayward, Norman (PS)
FS – Griffin, Raymond, Golden (PS)
SS – Barron, Sanford

I would have to choose the first option because the players have already said they are not interested in a 3-4 defense.

I think it is safe to say that I should not quit my day job. :)

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a <em>community</em>, that view is no less important.

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