I haven't posted a ton here, but I sure do love playing armchair GM, and so I've put together my own mock offseason...
This isn't an *ideal* offseason, I don't assume we're going to max out the cap space or trade away AP, I'm focused on moves I think are more *likely* to happen and make sense in my view. This may not result in a Superbowl in 2014, but may be a QB away from one (and an all-in draft trade up to get one) in 2015.
I've based this on the assumptions that Norv Turner will want QBs that are more prototypical of what he's done well with in the past, and that we'll play more press-man coverage on defense. I think our biggest need for corner is actually in the slot. Playing more press-man, the position may not be as specialized as it was in the Tampa-2, but I'd bet it still helps to have played it more, as I'm sure that guy will be expected to be there more in run support than your typical outside corner. I also assume that Greg Childs will actually successfully return from his injuries. (the Vikings didn't just cut him when he came back this year) He's a big, tall, fast guy like Norv likes, and may end up our base #1 WR if Patterson doesn't develop his route-running skills fast enough.
So here's what I'm thinking:
26.7m in free cap space avail to start with
Everson Griffen – I think he's chasing big bucks, he's not an every down guy, and we won't want to pay three DEs
Matt Cassel - He probably makes the best decisions on the team, but doesn't fit Norv's style
John Carlson (retire)
+14m = 39.7m avail.
+3m = 43.7m avail.
Josh Freeman – 2yr, 3m/yr - I know you think I'm crazy here, but he theoretically fits Norv’s scheme better than Cassel, and won't command any more money than Cassel would
Chris Cook - 4yr, 2m/yr - Again, you think I'm crazy, but I think Cook can be a good press-man corner, and he's a lot cheaper than guys like DRC. As long as we have Josh Robinson for depth, I think this works.
Kevin Williams - 2yr, 3m/yr - If Kevin's willing to go for a fairly cheap contract, I think he's worth bringing back for a couple more years
Fred Evans – 2yr, 1m/yr
Marcus Sherels – 4yr, 800k/yr
Joe Webb – 3yr, 800k/yr – Joe Webb brings great energy to the locker room, and big impact blocks on special teams
Matt Asiata – 2yr, 700k/yr
-15.3m = 32.8m avail.
Michael Johnson – 5y, 9m/yr – Played for Zimmer in Cincy, and a knowledge of his system which is likely important at DE
Linval Joseph – 5yr, 7m/yr - We need a NT, he's good enough and should be available
Jeff Schwartz, G – 5yr, 4m/yr – Has healed/developed well, and has familiarity with our line coach and scheme. We don't need a superstar here.
Depth DE – 1yr, 800k/yr
-20.8m = 12m available for Rookies, carryover, unique short term opportunities, and next year’s extensions for Fusco, Rudolph, and Kalil, Smith after that. If Freeman works out, we'll need more money to sign him long-term.
1/8 - CJ Mosley – ILB - A true "QB of the defense" that everyone raves about, which we've missed for a long time
2/8 - Mettenberger - fits Norv’s scheme without reaching. Maybe Jimmy G if Norv likes him
3/8 – Tre Boston, FS – With a little more speed at safety, smith could work well as a SS, and together they can allow our big corners to be more aggressive (Seattle Model)
3/32 – Kareem Martin, DE - good size/speed for a 4-3 DE
4/8 – Jaylen Watkins, Nickel Corner - Someone with experience with the Nickel will be especially important if the Vikes get an outside guy in FA or decide to re-sign Cook. We may even want to grab him or someone like him earlier, and get a different DE in the 4th
5+ BPA – targeting depth for T, G/C, TE
QB – Freeman, Mettenberger, Ponder (may the best man win, if we don’t hit on one of these, we grab Mariota next year)
RB – AP, Asiata, Line
FB – Felton, Line
TE – Rudolph, Ford, Ellison, Draftee?
WR – Jennings, Patterson, Childs, Wright, Webb, Smith
T – Kalil, Loadholt, Kevin Murphy
G – Fusco, Schwartz, Baca
C – Sullivan, Draftee
DT – Floyd, Joseph, Williams, Evans, Randall
DE – Johnson, Robison, Martin, FA Depth
LB – Greenway, Mosley, Mauti, Hodges, Cole, Dean
CB – Rhodes, Cook, Watkins, Robinson, Prater, Sherels
S – Smith, Boston, Sanford, Sendejo
K – Blaire Walsh
P – Jeff Locke
PH – Cullen Loeffler