With the combine over and free agency nearing, teams and fans are getting a clearer picture, or at least the illusion of what direction they feel is in the best interest their franchise. The Minnesota Vikings, in my humble opinion made the best acquisition in regards to teams that hired new coaching staffs this off season. In fact, at the beginning of the 2013 season there was plenty of talk of who was the best candidate for head coach in Minnesota once Frazier was inevitably fired. The ideal situation for most fans, including myself was Mike Zimmer, but many, myself included as well felt there was drastic change needed in philosophy on the other side of the ball as well. So, when Minnesota actually hired Mike Zimmer as the head coach and Norv Turner as the offensive coordinator; they not only made solid hires-they put possible the best coaching staff in place to coach the Vikings since Bud Grant.
In free agency; it's clear Minnesota cannot take the same approach they have over the past couple of years. Sitting back and waiting for the leftovers isn't going to cut it. There are some very good free agents this year, and some very good ones that are players of positions of need for the team. I think it is best for the team and Greanway to restructure a deal. If that is not done; I think there is a strong possibility that Greenway will not be back. It would also be in the Vikings' best interest to resign Griffen without bringing in any other big name DE. With a few big name cornerbacks out there this year; Minnesota cannot afford to sit back and watch them all get signed by other teams. They will have to shell out some money, but it could very well be worth it especially if they can sign Verner or Talib. The team sits comfortably with the sixth most amount of cap space. I would like to see them resign Cassel back onto the team as well, as this franchise needs as much stability as they can get at the QB position. And if the Vikings three biggest names they signed in free agency were Cassel, Verner and Griffen, those three moves would take a huge amount of pressure off the team going into the draft. The team is going to draft a QB, but need a viable back up, who may even go into the season as the starter in place, and Cassel is the best option Minnesota has. The Vikings also need to fill the void Jared Allen will leave, and Everson Griffen is the best option for the team as well. The team needs a lot of help on defense and if they can get Verner signed, and I think they could also sign Cook back reasonably cheap as a back up as well; the defense would take a big step in the right direction.
With the new coaching staff in place; I look for a lot of the current players on the Vikings to play much better. I think there will be a new sense of accountability where no starting job will be appointed to any player. I think Zimmer will award all starting positions to the players that earned them. The days of overwhelmingly questionable gameplans, play calling and depth chart are behind the Vikings, and believe there will be much more competition to bring out the best in players.
When the draft arrives, there is no doubt the team needs a QB, but they more than likely are not going to get the first guy on their list, or for that matter, the second or third guy either. Like many others; I think the best approach is to trade back if there is opportunity to do so. However, if one of the top 4 QBs is still on the board; I wound not condemn a move to select one of them, and at the present time it looks more likely if that were to happen, it would be Carr. But I think it is more likely that Minnesota selects a defensive player in the first round like Barr or Gilbert, and target Garrapollo in the second round. In a perfect world the Vikings would trade back acquiring extra picks while still drafting their guy. This year the Vikings might have to stand pat, select the best player available, and use one of their third round picks along with their second to move back up into the first round. That could garner a combination of maybe Mack and Carr, and if so; I wouldn't be too disappointed. The one thing that is most interesting to me is that if Minnesota goes BPA throughout the entire draft; they more than likely would never select a QB. We all know that they will though. So whether they trade back, trade up or stand pat; the QB the Vikings select better perform well under pressure because he is going to have even more pressure on him then Christian Ponder has ever had.