Much has been made of the Vikings' offseason. Personally I see it as pretty much nuetral. I'll analyze it at this time. I am only basing my analysis on how the quality of the roster will change from this year to next year, relative to other teams. I am not looking long term at all. So getting younger means nothing in this analysis.
The key departures were Harvin and Winfield. I don't look at the Brinkley and Kluwe losses as being that hard to replace, but I will address them in a moment anyways.
The Harvin and Winfield departures yielded cash and picks. The top pick was used to get a CB to (sort of) replace Winfield. Much of the money was used to bring in Jennings, with the remainder used to retain other FA's. Overall I think this is somewhat neutral. Harvin is better than Jennings, but with the baggage we might be better off now. Both players missed time last season. While I love Winfield, considering his age I'd rather have Rhodes, but not by much. Long term Winfield is better but I'm just focused on the now.
Brinkley and Kluwe were basically "replaced" using extra draft picks that we had mostly acquired last season. I see these departures as just eating up some capital that the team had built.
Excluding the picks used to replace Rhodes, Kluwe, and Brinkley, the team had about as much remaining draft arsenal as every other team. Sure it is easy to get excited about Sharif and Patterson, but let's face it, every team got some players that they are excited about too.
With all of that said, I would see the offseason as basically neutral. Does that mean I don't think the team will be improved? Heavens no.
There are two remaining considerations that every team faces. Did the young guys improve enough to counter the old guys decline? Since the Vikings have one of the younger teams in the NFL, I would tend to say yes. Allen and Williams are getting old, but other than those guys most of our key players are at a point in their careers when they should still be improving. Peterson will start the season 100% as opposed to last season which should help early. Ponder almost certainly will be much improved (though with how mediocre he's been an improvement may not be enough).
Also the Vikings still have a little extra cap space left. Barring any significant moves, they have about 3.5 mil which might be enough to bring in an Urlacher or Woodson. While I do like our safeties, I think having a proven ballhawk like Woodson to play alongside the hard hitting Harrison would give us a nice ying and yang duo back there with options. Urlacher I am just not as sure about. If he has something in the tank, then hell yes. But I have a feeling he'll be out most of the year with this or that.
Of course injuries are the ultimate equalizer. Last year the Vikings were pretty healthy, but they did spend time without two of their better players Harvin and Winfield. Hopefully we get lucky there.
My bottom line point is that everyone is stoked about the offseason whereas I am more excited about the fact that we had a neutral offseason which bodes well for a team that is very young and was already ascending upwards.