Whats up gang. With the Combine in full swing I thought that I would take another stab at an off-season plan. I've made a few updates and changes since my last plan. I kept the formatting the same, starting with what I consider to be positions of need, following that up with contracts and free agent acquisitions, and finishing it all up with a mock and projected training camp roster. Enjoy!
Positions of need:
LB—Both Brinkley and Henderson are free agents. The depth behind them does not inspire much confidence. This is a unit that has been ignored for far too long. It must be addressed this off season.
DT—Kevin Williams is aging. He also is carrying a big price tag. Guion showed that he’s a rotational player. Evans played much better than I ever imagined, but he is still a rotational player. Top backup at 3 tech is Christian Ballard who is also a rotational player.
WR—This unit has been much maligned throughout the season. Percy seems to always be unhappy. Burton and Aromashadu are not cutting it. Wright has shown potential and Jenkins is a reliable veteran (although expensive). I would look to free agency and the draft to upgrade this unit.
CB—Winfield is in his last season. Cook is oft-injured. Robinson and Jefferson showed promise. Burton has been a disappointment, and Sherels is a solid returner, awful corner. You can never have enough pass defenders.
OL—The first 5 played well this season. But we can still upgrade the guard positions. It might be a good idea to add a guard this offseason.
DE—Robison and Allen are solid starters, but they are getting up in age and contracts will need to be addressed soon. Griffen showed that he is a very valuable rotational player at both end and tackle. But you can never have enough pass rushers.
QB—Webb is not a viable option at QB in this offense. MBT is a developmental prospect. Ponder has been up and down and missed games in both seasons as a pro (he also missed significant playing time at FSU).
RB—We don’t have a true 3rd down, change-of-pace type back on the roster. That should change.
*sign to practice squad if waivers are cleared
Free Agents to acquire:
WR Donnie Avery—INDIANAPOLIS COLTS.
QB Brain Hoyer—Arizona Cardinals.
ILB Brad Jones--them
Reserve/Futures contracts already signed:
Joe Baynard, RB
LaMark Brown, TE
Chase Ford, TE
Chris Summers, WR
Chase Baker, DT
Bobby Felder, CB
Greg McCoy, CB
Nick Taylor, CB
TJ Conley, Punter
Tyler Holmes, OL
Kevin Murphy, OL
I will be using the following website from Pro Sports Transactions to determine draft order:
#23 Jonathan Cooper, OG North Carolina. I went with the BPA here. The Vikings offensive line was much improved in 2012, however I feel that the addition of Cooper will solidify the interior of the offensive line, thus improving the already potent rushing attack, while giving our passing game more room and time to operate.
#52 Justin Hunter, WR Tennessee. I am going back on my word and using an early pick on a WR in this mock. Basically I don't want to be here next year listening to all the excuses about how Ponder doesn't have any weapons. That and as you noticed in my contracts section, I didn't extend Percy Harvin. I am not going to give Percy $10 million a year. Hunter will have the luxury of playing along side Harvin his rookie year while he gets adjusted to the speed of the game. In 2014 Hunter becomes our #1 WR.
#83 Sylvester Williams, DT North Carolina. It really hurt me to cut KWill in this plan. But his contract was way too heavy and I had too much respect to ask him to take a pay cut. Sylvester Williams is not going to generate the pass rush that KWill did, but he will be stout against the run, and paired along side Alan Branch the Vikings front four will not skip a beat.
#99 (from Detroit) Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB Connecticut. That one guy from BSPN actually mocked Wreh-Wilson to us in the 1st round. I think that's a bit outrageous, but hopefully Wilson is available here. He has good size and is physical in run support. He will step in after his rookie season and eventually start opposite Cook.
#117 Keith Pough, OLB Howard. I think this kid is going to be a hidden gem. Small school prospect who plays big. Not too often do you find a starter in the 4th round, but this kid will make everyone forget Erin Henderson.
#147 Kenjon Barner, RB Oregon. 2013 could be Percy Harvin's last year in Minnesota. Barner is an exceptional athlete out of the backfield and he could step into Percy's role as a hybrid rb/wr/returner.
#179 Duke Williams, SS Nevada. I am really high on this kid. National football Post has him ranked as their #11 overall prospect. Williams will start on day one along side Dirty Harry.
#197 (from Arizona) Michael Buchanan, DE Illinois. Defensive line depth to groom behind Allen, Griffen and Robison.
#213 Quinn Sharp, P Oklahoma St. Chris Kluwe's replacement. He's a versatile player who can punt. kick and kick off, not that we'd be expecting him to do much other than punt.
Melvin White, CB Texas A & M
Joe Kruger, DE Utah
Cody Davis, SS Texas Tech
Sean Renfree, QB Duke
Dan Buckner, WR Arizona
Lucas Reed, TE New Mexico
Eric Stevens, FB Cal
Rashard Hall, S Clemson
Oscar Johnson, OT Louisiana Tech
TJ Johnson, C South Carolina
Richard Samuel, FB Georgia
Jordan Campbell, LB New Mexico Highlands
2013 Training Camp Roster:
QB—Ponder, Hoyer, Webb, Renfree
RB—Peterson,Gerhart, Barner, Asiata, Baynard
FB—Felton, Stevens, Samuel
TE—Rudolph, Carlson, Reed, Brown, Ford
WR—Harvin, Avery, Hunter, Wright, Simpson, Summers, Buckner, Childs
OL—Kalil, Cooper, Sullivan, Fusco, Loadholt, Schwartz, Love, Kropog, Holmes, Murphy, O. Johnson, T. Johnson
DL—Allen, S. Williams, Branch, Robison, Griffen, Evans, Ballard, Buchanan, D. Reed, Kruger, Baker, Johnson
LB—Greenway, Jones, Pough, Dean, McKenzie, Mitchell, Cole, Campbell
CB—Winfield, Cook, Robinson, Wilson, Jefferson, Burton, White, Felder, McCoy, Taylor
S—H.Smith, D. Williams,Raymond, Blanton, Sendejo, Davis, Hall