I told you we'd start talking football eventually. With Vikings rep/advocate/spiritual advisor/resident bad ass/whatever the guy that informs the team about labor issues now that the NFLPA has decertified Steve Hutchinson has predicted 'some good news tomorrow' regarding how the players will vote, I think we can assume football will start poste haste.
So with football ready to get underway, what do the Vikings need to do? Well, there are several things that I can think of, right off the top of my head, so let's go over them. Now, I'm going to skip the obvious ones, like 'get everyone in camp ASAP', and 'sign undrafted free agents', because they're no brainers.
After the jump.
1) Re-sign Sidney Rice: As we discussed earlier today, re-signing Sidney Rice is the top priority. Granted, with his injury history, the Vikings don't need to break the bank to keep him, but I don't think they'll have to. I don't think his price tag will be exorbitant because of that injury history, and as long as somebody doesn't swoop in and ridiculously overpay for him, Minnesota needs to keep him in the fold. I'm not sure they will, but they must make every effort to try.
2) Release Bernard Berrian: Berrian has a huge salary due (approximately eleventy jillion dollars), and his production has been almost zero the last two years. QB Christian Ponder has no history with any of his receivers, but he does need legitimate targets to throw to. I don't think Berrian can be that, consistently, over 16 games.
3) Determine what the defensive line depth will be: If DE Ray Edwards does leave, there will be a 75% turnover on the defensive line when the season begins. Pat Williams won't be back, and Kevin Williams will have to serve that BS four game suspension. Jared Allen got off to a low start last year, and that cannot happen this year, but he will need someone to step up to take the heat off of him. Brian Robison will take over for Edwards, and DT will be very unsettled.
4) Sign Chad Greenway to an extension: Chad Greenway is one of the few players I've ever heard of who was happy to be hit with the franchise tag, but he's one of the core defensive players, and keeping him in the fold is important. The defense is getting older, and guys like EJ Henderson, Kevin Williams, and Jared Allen will need guys to follow behind them, and Greenway is one of those guys.
5) Get a veteran QB: This seems like a no-brainer, which is why I put it down on the list. The Vikings will sign somebody; they've said as much. Who it is is still a reason for speculation, and talk has centered the last few days on Marc Bulger or Bruce Gradkowski. I do know who it's NOT going to be, and that's The Quarterback Who Shall Not Be Named In These Parts.