Hey, everybody. I’m not sure if everyone’s entirely aware of this or not, but in about 48 hours or so, the Minnesota Vikings (and a lot of other teams that don’t matter nearly as much) will be reporting to Mankato to get Training Camp started for 2016.
I know, I didn’t think we’d ever get here after January, either, but here we are. Oh, and to clarify, they won’t all be reporting to Mankato. That would get awkward fast.
At the present time, following the retirement of offensive tackle Phil Loadholt, the Vikings only have 87 of their 90 roster spots filled. That means they can sign three more players before they get to Mankato. Obviously, at this point, there aren’t going to be a whole lot of “splashes” to be made in free agency, and it’s pretty likely that anyone the Vikings add is going to be more of an under-the-radar, “camp body” type. Still, there are a couple of names that folks may have heard of that are possibilities.
If the Vikings want to continue to supplement the offensive line, the biggest name out there is probably Will Beatty, formerly of the New York Giants. Beatty did a solid job for the Giants while he was there, but missed all of 2015 with a shoulder injury and appears to be getting near the end of the line. There’s also Jake Long, who you know because he’s a former #1 overall pick. He hasn’t played to that level for a long time, though. If the need for a former Green Bay Packer is still there, Don Barclay is a possibility, but we don’t want that because Don Barclay is awful.
Another name that could be a possibility on the interior of the offensive line is former Saints guard Jahri Evans. Evans used to be one of the top guards in the league, but at the age of 33 is closer to the end than to the beginning as well. Former Broncos guard Louis Vasquez is available as well.
I’d be surprised if one of those three remaining spots did not go to a punter to provide competition for Jeff Locke. We know that the team had Texas Tech punter Taylor Symmank and West Virginia punter Nick O’Toole in camp earlier this spring but wound up signing neither. The biggest name remaining among more veteran punters would probably be Ryan Quigley, formerly of the New York Jets. Considering that the weakest spot on the Vikings’ roster might be punter. . .and isn’t that a nice problem to have. . .you’d have to think that there’s going to be a competition at some point.
Outside of those two positions, folks, I’m not sure where the Vikings should be directing their focus to fill these final three roster spots. I wouldn’t expect any of the spots to be filled by players we’ve heard of, but Rick Spielman and company could surprise.