During this time of year it seems like everyone thinks they can be an NFL GM. Hundreds, if not thousands of mock drafts and offseason plans are created every year. Just so people have something to talk about during this dead period of the offseason. Some are more realistic while others like to go crazy and trade half of the team to get 40 draft picks. The crazy thing is anyone of those could be exactly right, and whether we agree with it or not we have absolutely zero say in any of it.
Just like last year, the Minnesota Vikings are going to face a very important offseason and are going to be forced to make some hard decisions regarding the direction of the franchise. There are gonna be some questions that us football fanatics want answered about our favorite team. What are the Vikings going to do with the exceptionally talented Wide Recivever with a not so exceptional attitude? What in house free agents are they going to sign back? Are they going to bring in any free agents? What is the Vikings strategy coming into the draft? All these will be answered in these next 2 months. I'm going to attempt to put on the shoes of our in my opinion great GM, and make in what I see the choices the Vikings should make this offseason.
First Thing is first.. Trade Percy Harvin.
Now let me tell you.. I was never in favor of trading Harvin. He is one of my favorite players of all time and is amazingly fun to watch on sundays. Sadly with all the reports comng out it's pretty clear he doesn't want to be a Viking. I've given him the benifit of the doubt for everything that has been circulating around about him this past year. I've always just assumed that sooner or later Percy would get his contract from the Vikings, but everyday it's looking more and more like he won't. So that's why I am trading Percy Harvin to the Patriots for their first round pick(29)and their 2014 4th round pick. I think it's very fair for both sides. New England is getting a premier young wide reciever who could fill the shoes of Wes Welker and more. While Vikings get rid of a huge distraction while gaining a very valuable pick
Restructure contracts of a few players.
I don't see why we would go into the season paying Jared Allen 17 M dollars.. He is a great player, but frankly he just isn't worth that. When Allen almost beat the single season sack record in 2011 the Vikings tied a franchise worst 3-13. When we won the division the next year, he didn't even have a great year. No one can blame him though, he was playing injured all year and got double teamed a lot. But even when he was single teamed he was a very streaky player and sometimes was a non factor in games. If Allen wants to be the ultimate team player he will take the pay cut from 17M to 12M for this year, freeing up 5M in cap space bringing us to about 20M under the cap.
Kevin Williams has limited years left in the NFL. He has publicly said he would love to end his career as a Viking. He is due 8.4M this year. Which is too much for a player on the decline. Williams will extend his contract two more years at 3M per year. Freeing up over 5M in cap space.
The next player I would attempt to restructure is Antoine Winfield. He has been an excellent Viking throughout his career and might be one of the best tackling corners in the NFL for the past ten years. Sadly, he is getting old(in football years anyway) and is going to play a much more limited role in 2013. He is set to make just over 7M next year, I don't know about you but I don't want to be paying a guy who will play half the time like a guy who is playing full time. Don't get me wrong, Winfield has deserved everything he has recieved. I just think the aging corner might need to take a paycut of 3 million which would give him 4M for this upcoming year. Giving the Vikings roughly 28M in cap space.
I would love to release Charlie Johnson and free up 4 more million in cap space, but I don't think the Vikings are going to do that, since they love to have players with expierience together on the line.
Sign some of our in house free agents.
Going along with the Vikings desire to have the same players on the offensive line, I am going to sign Right Tackle Phil Loadholt to a 5 year 30M dollar contract with 15M guarenteed. Paying the giant 4M the first year and adding 1M every year to his salary.
Staying with the O-Line I will sign Geoff Schwartz to a 2 year 3M dollar deal
I would sign Jamarca Sanford to a 3 yr 9 M dollar deal. The guy hasn't been great, but he has defintely stepped in and made this defense better at times. He's also a great locker room guy who is a leader on defense.
I would sign Jerome Simpson to another 1 yr prove it deal for 2M.
I would sign Linebacker Erin Henderson to a 2 yr deal worth 4M dollars.
Lastly I would sign Jerome Felton to a 3 yr 6M dollar contract. Can't let Adrian Petersons lead blocker walk after just one year.
That would be it for our UFA's. Which would let Joe Berger, Devin Aromashodu, Jasper Brinkley, and Marvin Mitchell try their luck for a new team next season. After we signed all of our UFA's we would have about 14M for other teams free agents.
Sign a big name WR.
For those hoping to see a big name WR come to Minnesota, I think this is the year it will happen. We have been very unlucky with Free Agent WR's, both with signing and their actual performance. The Vikings(thankfully) missed out on TJ. Houshmanzadah a few years back, and also Pierre Garcon last year, even though I doubt they were even close to signing him. They havn't hit very well on the ones they have signed either. Benard Berrian performed decent in his first two years, but him and Favre never really could get any chemistry which later resulted in Berrians release. Jerome Simpson was a kind of iffy case. He was suspended the first three games, and never was fully healthy during the regular season. So it's hard to tell if he was a bust or not. I think Vikings should go hard after Mike Wallace or Greg Jennings, either one of them. Wallace will bring a new element to the Vikings that they havn't really had since the Randy Moss days. Greg Jennings would bring a big bodied Reciever that Ponder could rely on to catch the ball and move the chains. Either way it would help the team out greatly. In my opinion Mike Wallace has a bigger chance of being a bust, but also has a higher ceiling. You are going to get one of these guys for rougly 11-12M a year. I see the Miami Dolphins giving Mike Wallace anything he wants so I see a higher chance the Vikings sign Greg Jennings. He will agree to a 4 year 44M dollar deal. Giving the Vikings a much needed improvement at reciever.
I can't see the Vikings making much more of a splash than that in FA because of the need to sign draft picks.
The NFL Draft
1st Rd(23) Tavon Austin WR West Virginia --- Austin is one of the fastest players in the draft this year, and in my opinion the best Wide Reciever in this years class. He will take away some of what we'd miss in Percy Harvins absence. As a fan of the West Virginia Mountainers i've gotten the opportunity to watch this guy play every week. Let me tell you.. the Vikings would not regret this choice. He shows excellent quickness and catches whatever is thrown at him.
1st Rd(29 from Pats) Manti Te'o Linebacker Notre Dame --- I know many people wont like this pick because of everything that has gone on in Manti's life these past few months, but the bottom line is the guy produced in college. He was even predicted to be the #1 overall pick in this years draft by some people before the whole fake dead girlfriend thing. I honestly don't care about all of that. I know if Rick decides to take him they would have already worked everything out and shouldn't be a problem other than what the media will bring. I know he had a bad game against Alabama but the whole Notre Dame team did also. Everyone has bad games, he just picked a bad time for his! I would love to see Manti's playmaking abilities next to his former Notre Dame teammates Harrison Smith, Kyle Rudolph, John Sullivan, and Robert Blanton. The guy would defintely have some support in the locker room.
2nd Rd(52) Jessie Williams DT Alabama ---Vikings need another DT for depth and maybe even to start. Williams has the chance to start next to K-Will next year and recreate the Williams Wall. It probably won't be as lethal, but defintely an upgrade over last year.
3rd Rd Tyrann Mathieu CB LSU ---I know this is the typical pick from every person like me doing a mock draft for their team, but I could defintely see Vikings taking a chance on this extremely talented player. Mathieu has some character concerns, but almost no football concerns. He simply just makes plays. Something the Vikings haven't had in years.
4th Rd(83) Kyle Long RT Oregon ---Even with Loadholt resigning we need more people behind him. Long is a player who can both play Tackle and Guard. Something the Vikings front office appreciates.
4th Rd Josh Evans S Florida ---Vikings safety play greatly improved in the 2012 season, although it wasn't very hard to improve on the horrendous 2011 season. Still the Vikings need some depth at the position and Evans would be an excellent player to do that with. He did well at the East-West Shrine game and did pretty well at the combine.
5th Rd Montori Hughes DT Tennessee-Martin ---According to Walterfootball.com Hughes could have been a 2nd day pick if it weren't for some off the field problems. This is simaler to the situation of Everson Griffen, and that has payed out greatly for us. Why not try and steal a guy in the late rounds?
TRADE WITH SAN FRANSISCO (49er's 5th Rd for Vikings 2014 4th Rd) Landry Jones QB Oklahoma ---The Vikings need a new backup QB, Joe Webb just can't be the man the Vikings rely on if Ponder goes down. Instead of picking up a veteren in Free Agency the Vikings select a rookie in hopes of producing him into a a decent QB.
TRADE WITH ARIZONA Vikings trade their 6th and 7th rounders to Arizona for the Cardinals 2014 5th round pick.
7th Rd James Wilson OG Florida ---Just a pick to add depth, not looking to snag a playmaker or anything.
OLB, P, C, CB, RT, and OG.
Our 2013-14 depth chart would look like:
QB - Ponder,Jones,Webb
RB - Peterson, Gerhart, Asiata
WR - Jennings, Austin, Simpson, Wright, Burton, UDFA
TE - Rudolph, Carlson, Ellison
FB - Felton
LT - Kalil, Love
LG - Johnson, Kropog, UDFA
C - Sullivan, UDFA
RG - Schwartz, Fusco, Wilson
RT - Loadholt, Long
RE - Allen, Griffen
DT - Williams, Williams, Guion, Evans, Hughes
LE - Robison, Reed, Johnson
CB - Cook, Winfield, Mathieu, Robinson, Jefferson, UDFA
OLB - Greenway, Henderson, Dean, UDFA
MLB - Te'o, Cole, McKenzie
S - Smith, Sanford, Raymond,Evans
K - Walsh
P - Kluwe
KR - Austin
PR - Austin
LS - Loeffler
Well there you have it.. I know it's not perfect. I defintely messed something up with the cap because honestly I don't understand it all that much. Not many people do! I know everyone has different opinions and some may disagree so please don't be too hard on me!