I've always been a big fan of Bill Barnwell, former writer for Football Outsiders and now one of the main folks over at Grantland. And not just because he did not one, but two sit-downs with us during his Football Outsiders days about the Minnesota Vikings, although that doesn't hurt.
In his latest piece over at Grantland, Barnwell takes a look at how the NFL teams fared in free agency last season, and finds that the Vikings did pretty darn well for themselves.
Re-signed: Matt Cassel, Everson Griffen, Matt Asiata
Arrived: Captain Munnerlyn, Linval Joseph, Tom Johnson
Departed: Jared Allen, Chris Cook, Toby Gerhart, John Carlson, Kevin Williams
The Vikings bet big on Griffen, giving a pass-rusher with just one career start a five-year, $42.5 million deal with nearly $20 million in guaranteed money. It paid off; Griffen had 12 sacks despite playing on a team that faced the fifth-fewest pass attempts in football. Johnson was quietly impressive in a limited role, Asiata was a serviceable goal-line back, and both Allen and Gerhart performed far worse outside of Minnesota.
Now, while "B-plus" might not sound like an amazing grade or anything on the surface, it's a mark that was bettered by only three other teams from last year's free agent bonanza, all of whom made the playoffs. Our division rivals, the Detroit Lions, garnered an A-minus, while the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots both received a solid A.
With the start of free agency for 2015 a little more than 48 hours away, we'll have to see what Rick Spielman and company have up their sleeves this year. So far, they've said they'd like to keep running back Adrian Peterson and linebacker Chad Greenway, and that they were going to sort of sit back and let things sort themselves out in free agency. But, if my English-to-Rickspeak dictionary has taught me anything, it's that what he means is that Peterson and Greenway will both be gone by Tuesday, and the team will make a couple of big signings early on.
Such is the world of NFL free agency, ladies and gentlemen.