Offseason plan 2.4
Hey guys, my first offseason plan for the 2013 Minnesota Vikings is finally complete (I think). I had finished it several days ago, then low and behold Mark puts out his second version which ended up being eerily similar to mine so I basically went back to the drawing board. There is still a lot up in the air, especially concerning our in-house free agents so this is a very early look at the offseason plan.
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. I wanted it addressed last year through FA and the draft, unfortunately Spielman waited until the 7th round to do so. It must be addressed this offeseason, let's just hope that the talent available this year is close to that was available last year.
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. This is another position I had targeted last year. And again Spielman waited until the 7th round to address it (Guyton did not end up making the team). This year the talent pool is still very deep.
WR—This unit has been much maligned throughout the season. Percy seems to always be unhappy. Burton and Aromashadu are not cutting it. On the bright side Jarius 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. I have enjoyed watching Winfield over the years. But it's time to secure a long-term replacement. Chris Cook has missed significant time in each of his 3 seasons in the NFL. Robinson and Jefferson showed promise. Brandon Burton has been a disappointment, and Sherels is a solid returner, but awful at cornerback. 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.
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.
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.
Contracts: note--I am not a capologist like MarkSP18 and a few others. I have not included actual terms for free agency, rather just my opinion of who should stay and who should go.
*sign to practice squad if waivers are cleared
**offer veteran minimum with incentives if willing to return
Free Agents to acquire:
WR Donnie Avery—INDIANAPOLIS COLTS. Obviously Avery is not a #1 WR. But he is a veteran who still has plenty of tread left on his tires. I would sign him to a 3 year deal.
QB Matt Moore- MIAMI DOLPHINS. The dolphins have a lot of money in the bank so they may try their best to hold onto the next two guys. The Vikings will have to sweeten the pot if they hope to land either one. Moore is another veteran QB who on the surface should not cause any sort of QB controversy in Minnesota. But he has shown the ability to fill in respectably.
CB Sean Smith- MIAMI DOLPHINS. Smith is this year's hidden gem. The kid has size, 6'3" and he has solid coverage ability. I know a lot of people around here don't view cornerback as a high priority, but I do. Smith will start opposite Cook on day one and allow Winfield to play the nickel which hopefully keeps him healthy all season.
TE Jared Cook- Tennessee Titans. With the Carlson experiment officially a disaster, the Vikings add a TE who is capable of stretching the defense and catching more than 9 passes in a season.
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
#23 Kawann Short, DT Purdue. Short is a penetrating 3 tech DT who has done nothing but produce while at Purdue. I have been high on this kid since last year. Normally I look for a day one starter in round 1 (and he would if not for the presence of #93), but with KWill at the end of his career, Short ensures that the Vikings front four remains strong for years to come.
From Charlie Campbell at walterfootball.com: "Short totaled 43 tackles, 15.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks, four passes broken up, four blocked kicks and a forced fumble this season.
Short amassed 54 tackles, 17 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks and one forced fumble in 2011. He was quiet in the early going, but really played well in the second half of the year.
The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder is strong and athletic. Purdue does an excellent job of producing quality NFL defensive linemen, and he appears to be the next in line."
#52 Khaseem Greene, LB Rutgers. The Vikings finally find themselves a quick twitch linebacker that is not a liability in pass coverage. From Charlie Campbell at walterfootball.com: "Greene totaled 136 tackles, 6 sacks, six forced fumbles, five passes batted, two interceptions and 12 tackles for a loss this year. The 6-foot, 236-pounder will have to move to outside linebacker in the NFL. The senior has good quickness, straight-line speed, instincts and physicality. Greene started his career at safety and looks like he has three-down ability for the NFL.
Greene amassed 141 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2011."
#85 Brandon Williams, DT Missouri Southern. Pat Williams has been missed since the day he retired. And while Brandon might not quite fill his shoes, his run stuffing ability is good enough to get the Vikings back where they belong, a top the NFL in run defense.
#101 John Bostic, LB Florida. Resigning Brinkley for a year has allowed the Vikings to wait until later in the draft to address the Mike linebacker. I watched Bostic closely a few times this year and I came away impressed with his aggressive play. He still has some work to do in pass coverage, but has room to improve.
#116 Chris Harper, WR KState. I know that just about everyone on the DN would not wait as long as I have to address WR. But I see the holes on defense as a far greater need. But getting Harper at pick #116 is a great consolation. He has great athleticism and body control to go along with his nice size. This is insurance in case Childs doesn't make it back from dual knee injuries. Harper can play.
#119 D.J. Swearinger, FS South Carolina. I'm actually a big fan of Jamarca Sanford. But if I were him I would look for a shot to start elsewhere. If Sanford does indeed find employement elsewhere, Swearinger is a kid whose game I really like. He is a solid tackler and devastating hitter.
#150 Conner Vernon, WR Duke. Since both Burton and Aromashadu are not coming back, I add another receiver here. Vernon has been a bright spot for the Duke football program over the last few seasons. He's got decent size and he's a polished route runner.
#195 Garret Gilkey, OG Chadron St. Small school prospect from the same school that gave the NFL Danny Woodhead. Having played at fellow RMAC school New Mexico Highlands, I have a lot of respect for their program. Gilkey is a developmental player who could eventually challange to be Charlie Johnson's replacement.
#215 Stephon Jefferson, RB Nevada All this kid did this year was lead the nation in rushing. Since I traded away Gerhart, I felt it necessary to find someone who can come in and be a threat in both the run and passing game. Jefferson will remind some of Chester Taylor.
Zac Stacy, RB Vanderbilt
Melvin White, CB Texas A & M
Joe Kruger, DE Utah
Cody Davis, SS Texas Tech
Tress Way, Punter Oklahoma
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
Jeff Locke, P UCLA
Richard Samuel, FB Georgia
Emery Blake, WR Auburn
Jordan Campbell, LB New Mexico Highlands
2013 Training Camp Roster:
QB—Ponder, Moore, Webb, MBT, Renfree
RB—Peterson, S. Jefferson, Asiata, Stacy, Baynard,
FB—Felton, Stevens, Samuel
TE—Rudolph, Cook, Reed, Brown, Ford
WR—Harvin, Avery, Harper, Wright, Vernon, Jenkins, Summers, Buckner, Childs, Blake
OL—Kalil, Johnson, Sullivan, Fusco, Loadholt, Schwartz, Gilkey, Love, Kropog, Holmes, Murphy, O. Johnson, T. Johnson
DL—Allen, B. Williams, K. Williams, Robison, Short, Griffen, Evans, Ballard, D. Reed, Kruger, Baker, Johnson
LB—Greenway, Brinkley, Greene, Bostic, Dean, McKenzie, Mitchell, Cole, Campbell
CB—Winfield, Cook, Smith, Robinson, Jefferson, Sherels, Burton, White, Felder, McCoy, Taylor
S—H.Smith, Raymond, Swearinger, Blanton, Sendejo, Davis, Hall
P—Conley, Way, Locke
There you have it. Let's hear what you like, what you didn't like and what you'd do differently.