Free agency season is nearly upon us, folks. Teams can start entering into negotiations with agents for players that are hitting free agency on Saturday, and can start signing guys to contracts starting at 3 PM Central time a week from tomorrow.
With the salary cap shooting all the way up to $133 million, the Minnesota Vikings have about $35 million to spend, and could possibly have more depending on what they do with a few players (or less if they finally start re-signing a few of their own free agents). The Vikings have plenty of holes that they could choose to fill in free agency, but in order to get ourselves going into free agency season, I wanted to put the question out there.
Excluding in-house free agents, who is the one guy you would like to see the Minnesota Vikings bring in via free agency?
For my pick, I'm going to go a bit off of the reservation here and look to a guy at a position that doesn't get a lot of ink, that being the guard position. The Vikings are pretty well set on offense with the exception of the quarterback position (which has pretty much nothing to offer in free agency) and at left guard, where Charlie Johnson has been fair-to-middling at best over the last couple of years. If the Vikings could find themselves a good, young player to plug into that spot, they would have all the pieces in place around whatever quarterback Norv Turner finds to run his offense.
Enter guard Jon Asamoah, who has spent his career thus far with the Kansas City Chiefs.
According to Pro Football Focus, Asamoah is the #2 guard available in free agency this year, behind his teammate and former Viking Geoff Schwartz. I'd suggest bringing back Schwartz, but based on this, I think we can forget about it.
That's not happening. Ever "@ChaseCarder15: come back to Minnesota"— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) January 10, 2014
Not sure what happened to sour Schwartz on Minnesota so much, but that's not important now.
Asamoah was the Chiefs' starter at right guard until injuring his shoulder in Week 11 last year. He was replaced by Schwartz, and remained on the bench for the remainder of the season. He's just 26 years old, and has received positive grades from PFF in each of the past three years. Here's what they had to say about him.
Asamoah may have played the same right guard position as Schwartz this season, but the two are on complete opposite sides of the physical spectrum. Asamoah is a relatively svelte 6-foot-4, 305-pounds, but his size hasn't limited his performance in the running game. The Illinois product moves well laterally and his agility has allowed him to be an effective run blocker in the Chiefs' zone-heavy scheme the past four seasons. He's finished the last two seasons with positive run blocking grades overall.
While Asamoah can hold his own in the running game, his real value is in pass protection. He's finished in the Top 10 in Pass Blocking Efficiency two of the last three seasons. The right guard has exceptionally quick feet and hands that he uses to mirror defenders movements. Asamoah may have gotten benched after he injured his shoulder diving in pass protection during Kansas City's Week 11 game at Denver, but it was through little fault of his own. The Chiefs' coaching staff just thought, like we also do, that Schwartz was the better of the two. The benching may have hurt his earning potential, but it didn't do anything to change my opinion of the 26-year-old free agent who could be a difference-maker in whichever city he ends up.
Picking up someone like Asamoah in free agency would allow the Vikings to use their remaining money, as well as the lion's share of their draft picks, upgrading a defense that may have been the NFL's worst in 2013. Putting Asamoah up front with Matt Kalil, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco, and Phil Loadholt would make a solid Minnesota offensive line even better, which would benefit both Adrian Peterson and whoever ends up taking snaps for the team in 2014.
Who's the one free agent that you would like to see the Vikings bring in during this off-season?