FanPost

Your 2012 guide to Free Agency. And a mock too!

Hey everyone! I had planned on getting this out on Sunday or Monday at the latest to beat the Free Agency craze, but I got busy doing some stuff around the house so I had to put my free agency plan on hold until today. Originally I wanted to include the Franchise tag and restricted free agent tenders but the post became very long so I cut it down to Vikings free agents and my own plan. I start off with a season summary:

Minnesota Vikings (3-13) Season Summary: (walterfootball.com)
If going 3-13 and seeing Christian Ponder regress on a week-to-week basis wasn't enough, Viking fans had to endure watching Adrian Peterson tear his ACL and MCL in late December. With Peterson unlikely to be ready for the opener, the 2012 campaign is shaping up to be another lost year for this franchise.

So that was pretty bad. Join me after the jump for my latest edition of offseason moves to help right the longship.

First things first. Let's get our own free agent list out of the way. The 2012 Minnesota Vikings free agent list brought to you courtesy of Viking Update:

VIKINGS FREE AGENCY 2012
(updated from the start of the free-agent period to the start of training camp in July)

Unrestricted Free Agents

Visanthe Shiancoe

TE

Unsigned

E.J. Henderson

LB

Unsigned

Erin Henderson

LB

Unsigned

Husain Abdullah

S

Unsigned

Tyrell Johnson

S

Unsigned

Scott Kooistra

OL

Unsigned

Fred Evans

DT

Unsigned

Letroy Guion

DT

RE-SIGNED

Sage Rosenfels

QB

RE-SIGNED

Benny Sapp

CB

Unsigned

Devin Aromashodu

WR

Unsigned

Greg Camarillo

WR

Unsigned

Jarrad Page

S

RETIRING

Lorenzo Booker+

RB

Unsigned

Xavier Adibi

LB

Unsigned

Matt Katula

LS

Unsigned

Jim Kleinsasser

TE

RETIRING

Restricted Free Agents

Kenny Onatolu

LB

Unsigned

Exclusive Rights Free Agents

Patrick Brown

T

Signed a one-year, $540,000 contract with the Vikings.

Released

-Cedric Griffin, Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera

Signed

* Jan. 3: Re-signed OL Chris DeGeare, CB Reggie Jones, WR Kris Adams, OL Butch Lewis, LB Tyrone McKenzie, TE Allen Reisner and WR Kerry Taylor to reserve/futures contracts.

* Jan. 10: Signed FB Matt Asiata to a reserve/futures contract.

* Jan. 13: Signed QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson to a reserve/futures contract.

* Jan. 18: Signed TE Daniel Hardy and OL Jose Valdez to reserve/futures contracts.

* Jan. 31: Signed LB Solomon Elimimian to a reserve/futures contract.

* Jan. 13: Signed QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson to a reserve/futures contract.

+I believe that Lorenzo Booker is also a RFA.

Offseason Moves (as of today) : UPDATE

  • Vikings re-sign QB Sage Rosenfels
  • Vikings cut G Steve Hutchinson
  • Vikings cut G Anthony Hererra
  • Vikings cut CB Cedric Griffin
  • Vikings announce retirement of S Jarrad Page
  • Vikings re-sign Letroy Guion
  • Vikings sign TE John Carlson 5 years, $25 million
    • Offseason Needs: (walterfootball.com)

        1. Left Tackle: In my 2011 NFL Season Preview of the Vikings, in which I projected them to go 5-11, I wrote, "This is a throw-away season for Minnesota. The ideal strategy would be to win the Matt Kalil sweepstakes so Christian Ponder will actually have some solid pass protection when he's ushered into lineup." Kalil is desperately needed, and he can be Minnesota's if the Rams trade the No. 2 pick to a team looking to acquire Robert Griffin. If St. Louis takes Kalil, however, the Vikings will need to look elsewhere. Charlie Johnson cannot be allowed to protect Ponder's blind side again.

        2. Cornerback: Minnesota's cornerbacks are a mess. Antoine Winfield is 35 and can't stay healthy. Chris Cook has legal issues. Cedric Griffin cleaned out his locker because he knows he's gone. Morris Claiborne will be considered at No. 3 overall if Matt Kalil is off the board.

        3. Wide Receiver: Percy Harvin is the only receiver of worth on Minnesota's roster. This can be changed by selecting Justin Blackmon at No. 3 overall (if Matt Kalil is off the board).

        4. Safety: The free safety position is in dire need of an upgrade. The Strong safety spot, meanwhile, could be Mistral Raymond's in 2012. Raymond, a sixth-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, played well there down the stretch. The Vikings might as well give him a chance because they have so many other needs.

        5. Two Guards: Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera were both cut.

        6. Two Linebackers: Make it one linebacker if Erin Henderson re-signs. His brother, E.J., was a liability in the middle of the defense this past season. He's a free agent anyway.

        7. Defensive Tackle: The Vikings could use a run-stuffing interior presence. Pat Williams was missed last year.

        8. Fullback: Jim Kleinsasser, a great fullback/blocking tight end in Minnesota for a very long time, has announced his retirement.

        9. Running Back Depth: The Vikings may look to bring in some depth behind Toby Gerhart with Adrian Peterson likely out for the first two months or so.

        So basically according to the folks over at walterfootball.com, the only positions where we are set is DE, C, and TE. With that in mind, there is almost no chance that all of these needs will be addressed in one offseason.

        Here are the free agent signings that I would make as GM:

        1. David Hawthorne, LB Seattle Seahawks. I also considered Curtis Lofton who is one year younger than Hawthorne. Both had knee injuries last year so that should be considered. Ultimately I think Hawthorne will have a slightly less price tag and I think he brings better coverage ability to the table.

        2. Vernon Carey, G/T Miami Dolphins. With the release of both Hutch and Herrera, I don't see any way around addressing this position whether it be in the draft or via free agency. I prefer Houston's Mike Brisiel myself, but this makes more sense since Rick Spielman drafted Carey back in his Miami days. Both are a few years younger than Hutch so I would be good with either as a replacement. Ultimately I went with Carey because of his versatility to play RT or guard.

        3. Richard Marshall, DB Arizona Cardinals. I really wanted to go with Jason Allen who played well last year for Houston. But ultimately I went with the younger prospect. At 27, Marshall should have at least 3 years left in him. Plus he could potentially make the move to FS after 30.

        4. Visanthe Shiancoe, TE Minnesota Vikings. I know this probably will not happen, or it would have already. But I think he still has some tread on his tires. If the price is right, I think keeping Shank around for 2 more years is worth it. EDIT: Vikings address TE with the signing of John Carlson.

        5. Wesley Woodyard, LB Denver Broncos. I thought the Vikings would have resigned Erin Henderson. Apparently Spielman has other plans. Woodyard could easily start for most teams. The only reason why he didn't start in Denver last year was because of Von Miller. Woodyard is a very instinctive player who could provide very good pass coverage for a unit that desperately needs it.

        6. Pierre Garçon, WR Indianapolis Colts. I would have loved for Dwayne Bowe to hit the open market, unfortunately he did not. I also would have loved if the Steelers had only placed a 3rd round tender on Mike Wallace, that didn't happen either. Pierre Garçon will make a nice consolation prize. He has decent size and very good speed. I would not be surprised to see the Vikings bring in a Garçon or even Eddie Royal type to play in the slot because I expect that Percy's backfield load will be increased in 2012 while AP and TG recover from injury.

        Edit: Apparently both Garcon and Royal have been taken off the market. I still feel that the Vikes have to address this position in FA. My backup signing--Mario Manningham, NYG.

        And now for my latest mock draft:

        1.3 Matt Kalil, LT USC. Unchanged

        2.3 Brandon Thompson, DT Clemson. I disagree with walterfootball. I think DT is a much bigger need for the Vikings. Previously I had taken Mark Barron with this pick, but it is unlikely that he will be available at #35. Brandon Thompson is widely considered the best run defender among this DT class. Here is a scouting report from Mocking the Draft:

        Pass rush: Displays solid flexibility and burst to get through the line and after the quarterback. Is an active pass rusher, but doesn't finish off on a lot of plays. Is much better at occupying blocks freeing up the ends. His play made Da'Quan Bowers and Andre Branch look like pass rush stars. Mostly played shading the right guard, but has lined up at nose in 3-4 plays.

        Pursuit/quickness: One of Thompson's best attributes is his burst off the line of scrimmage. Thompson does a good job of penetrating when he's asked to play one gap. Gets up to top speed in a hurry. Closes well with a lot of aggression. Has stamina issues which will restrict him to being in a rotation if he doesn't get fit.

        Run defend: Thompson is one of the best run-stopping tackles in the class. He's stout on the line and difficult to push around. If he's not keying on getting after the runner, he excels at occupying multiple blockers. Despite being 6-foot-2, Thompson's arm length (32.5 inches) helps him hold up well against the run. He does a good job of stacking and shedding to get penetration.

        Strength/tackling: Thompson has impressive upper body strength to push offensive linemen around. He's equally powerful in his lower half. Has the power to take down runners with one arm while he's occupied on a block. Has a 425-pound bench press. Pushed the bar 35 times at the NFL Combine.

        Technique: Thompson needs to get better at keeping blockers out of his feet. Is easily cut blocked by linemen who fire low. Hand use is inconsistent. Keeps his pad level low, which is critical.

        Final word: For such a stoutly built player, Thompson has much better athleticism than you'd expect. He fires off the snap incredibly well for a defensive tackle and is active against the run and the pass. Thompson will need to work on his stamina, though, as well as his technique.

        3.3 Casey Hayward, CB Vandy. All this kid did in the SEC is put up better numbers than Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick and LSU's Morris Claiborne. He also tested as well or better than Claiborne at the Combine. Hayward is my diamond in the rough pick.

        4.3 Marvin Jones, WR Cal. Marvin Jones will provide needed depth in the Vikings receiving corps as I don't expect Camarillo or Aromashadu to be brought back.

        4.comp. Derek Wolfe, DT/DE Cincinnati.

        5.3 Demario Davis, OLB Arkansas St.

        5.comp Aaron Henry, FS Wisconsin

        6.4 (from Browns) Terrance Ganaway, RB/FB, Baylor.

        7.3 Winston Guy Jr., SS Kentucky.

        7.31 (from Patriots) Derek Dennis, OG Temple.

        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 community, that view is no less important.

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