The "legal tampering" period introduced by the National Football League for this season has, largely, been a dud. At least, it has been for Minnesota Vikings fans. While there have been reports from other teams about players they have contacted and things of that nature, news from Winter Park has been scarce at best. Of course, the fact that we're not hearing anything doesn't necessarily mean that nothing is happening. . .we'll know for sure over the course of the next 24 hours or so.
One of the big questions for Monday and Tuesday centers around whether or not the Minnesota Vikings will sign any of their own in-house free agents. When the off-season started, many fans (myself included) thought that the Vikings would certainly re-sign right tackle Phil Loadholt and fullback Jerome Felton before the free agent free-for-all got underway, but thus far that has not been the case.
While you would think Loadholt would still be a high priority for the Vikings at this point, based on an article this weekend from 1500 ESPN's Tom Pelissero, Felton might not be the priority that folks like me originally thought he was.
According to Pelissero's numbers, Felton played only 37.7% of the snaps in 2012 and, despite garnering a Pro Bowl appearance while paving the way for Adrian Peterson, might end up being too rich for the Vikings blood. That might mean making rookie Rhett Ellison the full-time fullback. . .and, according to the folks at Pro Football Focus, that might not be a bad thing, as you can see from the quote on the right.
Even though the benchmark for fullbacks is the three-year, $11 million deal signed by Vonta Leach signed with Baltimore in August, that still might not be a price the Vikings want to pay. This could be particularly true in light of the fact that Ellison is a couple of years younger and, according to Spotrac, has base salary figures for the next three years of $480,000, $570,000, and $660,000 compared to potentially paying Felton in excess of $3 million a year.
I still think the Vikings will end up getting something done with Phil Loadholt at some point. . .but the odds are increasing that he might be the only in-house free agent that signs with the Vikings this off-season. What do you folks think?