Berger and Johnson are both on the wrong side of 30 and were playing for contracts last season. The bet now is can they do it again. Johnson did well in limited snaps rushing the passer but if he is forced to play significantly more snaps will he be able to have the same production or will his stamina be tested?
Shaun Hill is an OK signing and comes in less than Matt Cassel but neither one really moves the dial for me. I would rather have a young QB with some possibly upside remaining. Oakland did that by signing Ponder and letting old Matt Schaub go. Maybe the Vikings will grab a QB prospect in the draft or right after as an UDFA?
DuJaun Harris is a curious signing considering the Vikings supposedly really want and expect AP to be back. When will he ever see the field? Heck, when will McKinnon and Asiata see the field? Toby Gerhart saw very little action in his last two years here sitting behind AP. I do not see much changing if he comes back.
Asiata is in the same boat as Harris in terms of likely snaps played if AP comes back. Asiata is a good signing because of his red zone rushing ability. Just not exciting.
Mike Harris could be a decent backup and does want to compete for the left guard spot. We'll see.
Casey Matthews is a curious signing too. Maybe he will make the team as a backup?
Terrence Newman is a really curious signing. He turns 37 in September which is not good. I mean cant they find anyone younger? Is he that good still and will he be in 2015? Not really a fan of this signing but at least it is a cheap one year deal. Perhaps he does not even make the final 53 as he only has 750K guaranteed.
Taylor Mays is a signing I like but I am biased. He is a backup level player who can play in nickel situations. He plays well on special teams too which adds value.
Greenway taking less to stay is a good move but I still do not like it too much. His play is declining if it has not already. The question is will he start or will Audie Cole start? Audie Cole needs a chance to compete. I hope that Mike Zimmer is not handing out starting positions without allowing for legitimate competition. If Greenway starts along side Barr and Hodges that means Cole does not get much playing time unless Greenway gets hurt which is a possibility (I hope not though). That will just leave unanswered questions about Cole and makes a contract extension for him hard to predict.
The disappointment for me is that the Vikings have not been able to "close" the deal on some players that they wanted and I think would have helped them out more long term and especially heading into the draft. Not getting Michael Johnson and Clint Boling was a disappointment. Heck, they could not even land George Selvie.
The question now is what can they do going forward? I see very little happening in terms of signing free agents. Maybe they are waiting for some free agents to lower their asking price? I can see them looking at a veteran guard like Justin Blalock or Mike Pollak. Maybe another defensive end like Alex Carrington, Anthony Spencer, Jermaine Cunningham, or Da'Quan Bowers?
I think the three I would be interested in are Jah Reid OG, Gabe Carimi OG, Da'Quan Bowers DE/DT.
Obviously the biggest story is what is going to happen with AP? The Vikings have recently stated emphatically that they expect AP to be back in Minnesota for the 2015 season so that should close the doors on all trade rumors right? Right.
If the Vikings truly want him back then I am confused as to why they do not offer him a restructured deal? It has been rumored that AP wants 25 mil guaranteed (over 3 years) on any new deal. I would give it to him if I am the Vikings and really want him back. Why not? Future dead money cap hits don't matter. Future cap hits do matter.
If AP comes back under his current deal with no restructure then he will get 13 mil this season which is guaranteed when he makes the 53 man roster. In 2016 he is set to make 15 mil. In 2017 he is set to make 17 mil. So his current deal gives him 28 mil over two seasons. Seems like giving him 25 mil over 3 seasons is a better deal.
Why not give him a new 5 year 57 mil extension with 25 mil guaranteed now? They could give him zero signing bonus and a roster bonus this year of 4 mil. His annual salaries could be 7 mil in 2015, 7 mil in 2016, 7 mil in 2017, 15 mil in 2018, and 17 mil in 2019. The cap hits would be 13.4 mil in 2015, 7 mil in 2016, 7 mil in 2017, 15 mil in 2018, and 17 mil in 2019. They probably would not be able to cut him until after the 2017 season.
Basically they would just push his current last two seasons out 3 more years and give him the 25 mil for the next 3 seasons which comes to an average of about 8.33 mil per year. This is a reasonable amount for AP going forward IMO.
But alas, I do not think AP is interested in doing a restructure with the Vikings. It is probably the reason why we have not heard anything about the Vikings wanting or offering a new deal. They may have but that is all behind closed doors.
So if AP plays this season in Minnesota he will have virtually zero trade value next off season. Only the most myopic of Vikings fans will insist another team will give up valuable draft assets for a 31 year old RB (albeit probable HOF RB) and take on the last two years of his contract. That is a bet I would not make.
Next off season could be the time where the Vikings flat out release him. But I do not think they will. I think they are dumb enough to go ahead and pay him one more year at 15 mil in 2016.
I want him back but only at a reasonable contract going forward. I want the Vikings to get the job done on this front.
For this mock draft and future ones I will include trades of AP. I think he is going to get traded too. Too much is pointing towards this outcome and his value and contract next season almost make it a must do for the Vikings IMO.
1. The Vikings trade Adrian Peterson to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the #34 pick, William Gholston DE, a 2016 conditional 5th.
This trade may not bring enough for many Vikings fans but I think it is probably as good as they are going to get. Gholston may not make the team but my guess is he will because they need someone to replace Wooten.
So now I go onto the draft. The Vikings have these picks now 1.17, 2.34, 2.45, 3.76, 4.110, 5.137, 7.228, 7.232.
I used used the drafttek mock draft dated 03/25/2015 as a guide.
Note: they could update their mock and the new date will be listed.
1st trade - 1.11 to the Texans for 1.16, 3.18, & 5.16
2nd trade - 1.16 to the Bengals for 1.21 & 3.21
3rd trade - 5.1 and 7.15 to the Eagles for 5.9 & 6.20
4th trade - 6.20 to the Colts for 6.31 & 7.27
1.21 Arik Armstead DE/DT Oregon
2.34 Landon Collins S Alabama
2.45 Bernardrick McKinney LB Mississippi State
3.76 Breshad Perriman WR Central Florida
3.82 Cedric Ogbuehi OT/OG Texas A&M
3.85 Ali Marpet OG Hobart
4.110 PJ Williams CB Florida State
5.145 Christian Covington DT Rice
5.152 David Cobb RB Minnesota
6.207 Sean Mannion QB Oregon State
7.228 Davis Tull OLB Chattanooga
7.244 Dezmon Lewis WE Central Arkansas
Justin Coleman CB Tennessee
Frank Clark DE Michigan
John Crockett RB North Dakota
Corey Grant RB Auburn
Brian Blechen SS Utah
Takoby Cofield OG Duke
Andrew East LS Vanderbilt
Isiah Johnson S Georgia Tech
I realize that many people will probably not like the Armstead pick. But I think the Vikings really want to get a defensive end as evidenced by their free agent pursuits. Armstead fits the profile of some of the taller ends that were drafted when Zimmer was in Cincinnati.
I could not pass on Collins with that Tampa Bay pick. That seems like good value to me. Some people may not think he would be a good fit but I think that Zimmer will figure out a way.
McKinney is a no brainer and really does not need any explanation unless you are satisfied with the current linebackers.
I wanted to get another wide receiver and in this mock Perriman was there. Of course there are some folks who will contend that he will be gone much earlier and they may be right.
Ogbuehi is very good value in the 3rd IMO. His injury may cause him to slide but he will now have time to get fully recovered before being asked to compete and contribute.
Marpet is a draft riser (so to speak) and is very intriguing. Adding him only can help the offensive line depth.
PJ Williams in the 4th is not too bad. He can be groomed by Old Man River and maybe take over a starting spot or at least contribute more next season.
I always like to bring in MOAR defensive linemen and Covington is another decent prospect.
Cobb is a fan favorite around these parts and does not need explanation. But with the trade of AP another back is needed.
I like Mannion as a developmental QB who may or may not pan out.
Tull and Lewis are interesting prospects that could surprise.
Here is an alternate mock using the draftsite mock draft as a guide ...
1.21 Landon Collins S Alabama
2.34 Kevin Johnson CB Wake Forest
2.45 Stephone Anthony LB Clemson
3.76 Mario Edwards Jr DE Florida State
3.82 Laken Tomlinson OG Duke
3.85 Ronald Darby CB Florida State
4.110 Tyler Lockett WR Kansas State
5.145 Breshad Perriman WR Central Florida
5.152 Jeremy Langford RB Michigan State
6.207 Marcus Hardison DT Arizona State
7.228 James Castleman DT Oklahoma State
7.244 Davis Tull OLB Chattanooga
Well there it is.