It might not be a note that gets everyone all excited or anything like that, but I got this one thanks to the Minnesota Vikings Fan Page on FaceBook. Decent chaps, if you're not already following them. (EDIT - Their Twitter account is here. . .I couldn't find it last night for whatever reason.)
According to Scout.com, the Minnesota Vikings are set to host former Carolina Panthers' offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz on Monday. Schwartz is sort of under the radar, and for good reason. In fact, it's the same reason that Minnesota's only free agent signing to this point (tight end John Carlson) was under the radar. Schwartz missed the entire 2011 season with a hip injury.
Despite that, the folks at Pro Football Focus thought enough of Schwartz to make him their top name in their "Bargain Hunting" column right before the start of free agency. Here's what they had to say about him.
When the Carolina Panthers opted against tendering Schwartz, there was a collective gasp from the PFF team. Sure Ron Rivera wasn’t in charge when Schwartz managed to finish 2010 with a PFF grade of +12.3 despite playing two positions, but it wouldn’t have been hard to watch some tapes and see he’s got more talent than anything they can currently put out on the right side of their line. Schwartz offers the kind of versatility and talent that brings to mind a poor man’s Marshal Yanda; good enough to make him the best right tackle available and possibly the best value guard too. He has a very real chance to be this year’s Evan Mathis for a team with a diligent scouting department.
PFF also has Schwartz as their fifth-best guard available this off-season.
Sure, it might not have the same splashiness as a Ben Grubbs or a Carl Nicks or anything like that, but Schwartz has a lot of talent if he can bounce back from his injury, and I don't think he'll break the bank in the same way Grubbs or Nicks would have. He seems like a pretty solid player, and even though he only played the right side in Carolina, he sounds like he might be versatile enough to plug into Steve Hutchinson's old spot on the left side. We'll have to see.
So, the Vikings are not just sitting on their hands, even if it might seem that way. And remember. . .
And, boy howdy, if the Vikings do sign this guy, I am gonna wear that joke OUT.