Category: Vikings Off-season Outlook 2012


Only a few days after the NFL draft and it appears that everyone’s offseason schedule is starting to take form. The Vikings young roster should hopefully benefit from a full off-season (unlike the train wreck that took play last season). Here’s how the Vikings Schedule breaks down thanks to Profootballtalk.com.

Organized Team Activities (OTAs): May 29-31, June 5-7 and 11-14.

Mini-camps: May 4-6, June 19-21.

So, Tomorrow, the Vikings will begin their mini-camps.  Time to start getting excited about football again.

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Secondary

There is great news for the Vikings’ secondary regarding last season, it is finally over. Unlike all the other personnel groups that attributed to Minnesota’s terrible year, the secondary actually has a pretty good excuse. They were decimated by injuries throughout the year. Antoine Winfield played only 5 games before having a season ending injury. Asher Allen also missed 4 games due to injury. Chris Cook’s strong start to the season was marred with legal troubles. Cedric Griffin managed to stay healthy but has had surgeries on both knees following past injuries and is not the same player as he used to be. Marcus Sherels was a player that many weren’t sure would make the team coming out of the preseason. He made it as a kick returner but ended up starting a few games as well. This just shows how badly injuries hurt the Vikings. The safety position is in just as bad a shape. Hussain Abdullah has suffered 4 concussions in the past 2 seasons and was just recently cleared to play football again, but he is a free agent and his return is by no means certain. Eric Frampton’s value is on special teams and not much else. Mistral Raymond is a rookie who was done a disservice by being forced into action early. His athleticism is apparent but he still has much to learn. A full training camp and offseason will help him starting next year. Finally, we have Jamarca Sanford. He is probably the best known Viking because you saw his name on the back of his jersey while he was chasing countless receivers he let get behind him on their way to the endzone.

The first step to upgrade next years secondary will be getting healthy. Then we need Chris Cook’s legal issues to be resolved. It is highly possible he could be cut depending on those results. Simply looking at Continue reading

Linebacker

The Vikings are in a sticky situation in regards to the linebacker position. They return one starter from last years mediocre group in Chad Greenway. A series of injuries to other players lifted Greenway to his first ever Pro-Bowl. He did finish the year 3rd in the NFL in tackles, unfortunately, he failed to make that many splash plays. The other two starters from last year were E.J. and Erin Henderson. Both are set to become unrestricted free agents and it is highly unlikely the Vikings will keep both. E.J.’s age and nagging injuries finally caught up to him and he has little to no chance of returning. Losing his talents on the field won’t be Minnesota’s main concern, it will be his loss in the locker room. E.J. was a leader on defense and that role will have to be filled by someone else starting 2012. This brings us to the next Henderson, Erin. He likely won’t sign an extension with the Vikings before Free Agency starts, but he does have a chance to return. Minnesota will probably make him an offer but let him shop around. If that price can match his production, then he may be on the roster for 2012 but won’t be guaranteed a starting position. Kenny Onatolu is scheduled to be a restricted FA and will get a qualifying offer but his value is as a special team player. Larry Dean is  the other linebacker returning, but he is entering his second year and is not a viable NFL starter.

Minnesota heads into Free Agency and the NFL Draft with Continue reading

Defensive Line

The Vikings Defensive Line was the one bright spot on the Defense, and one of few bright spots on the team. Jared Allen had 22 sacks, as those of you not living under a rock know, just a half sack shy of the NFL record. But when you go 3-13, things still need to be looked over. Jared Allen was masterful, playing well against the run too, and Brian Robison showed that the Vikings don’t need Ray Edwards anymore. Everson Griffen is a guy who played well in the situations he did play, with his physical stature and gifts he could play LB or DT in passing situations. He is also a solid special teams player. During 2011 he played MLB in the 3-3-5 package, but I felt like he should have even seen some more time in the Dime as a DT to rush the passer, early in Robison’s career he did that on occasion, so why not Griffen? But it was the run defense that was painful to watch without old Fat Pat Williams, one of my favorite players to ever play DT. Kevin Williams wasn’t his old self until late in the season (perhaps having finally recovered from Plantar Fasciitis, an overuse injury, resting a bit more than normal this offseason may be beneficial for Williams). The worst part was that Remi Ayodele was no Pat, and Guion and Evans were no Ayodele.  Ballard looked young at times, but still shows he has some great physical gifts to offer this team. Those 4 create struggles up front. Ayodele is a fine player, but not the force that Pat was, Guion is one of my Continue reading

Updated 4/28/2012

Free Agent Acquisitions

TE John Carlson – Signed for 5 years $25M

RB/FB Lex Hilliard – Signed for 1 year $615,000

FB Jerome Felton – Signed for 1 year $700,000

OL Geoff Schwartz – Signed for 1 year $1.5M

CB Zack Bowman – Signed for 1 year league minimum

CB Chris Carr – Signed for 1 year

LB Marvin Mitchell – Signed for 1 year

WR Jerome Simpson – Signed for 1 year $2M

Unrestricted Free Agents

LB Erin Henderson – Re-Signed with Vikings 1 year $2 Million

QB Sage Rosenfels – Re-Signed with Vikings for 2 years

DT Letroy Guion – Re-signed with Vikings for 3 years $9M, $2.5M guaranteed

DT Fred Evans – Re-Signed with Vikings for 2 years

DT Remi Ayodele (Released)

OL Steve Hutchinson (Released) – Signed with Titans for 3 years $16M, $6M guaranteed

OL Anthony Herrera (Released)

CB Cedric Griffin (Released) – Signed with Redskins for 1 year $2.5M

TE Visanthe Shiancoe

WR Devin Aromashodu – Re-Signed with Vikings for 1 year

WR Greg Camarillo

OL Scott Kooistra

LS Matt Katula

LB E.J. Henderson

LB Xavier Adibi

S Husain Abdullah

S Tyrell Johnson – Signed with Dolphins

S Jarrad Page

CB Benny Sapp

Restricted Free Agents

RB Lorenzo Booker

LB Kenny Ontaolu – Signed with Panthers for 3 years

Trades

None

Offensive Line

The Vikings offensive line was a thing of beauty to watch this season. At times, I was wondering if they would let me sneak through.  I’ve never seen such an artful display of mediocrity. Ok, in all seriousness the Vikings need a lot of help up front, possibly more there than anywhere. Charlie Johnson at LT was like a classic Vikings QB situation (“well, we’re screwed here, let’s just get this average guy who isn’t really going to fix things long term and plug him in” is what I assume the coaches said). Many fans talked about moving Loadholt there at the beginning of the year, that may have actually been a worse option, because I feel that at times Johnson was our best O-linemen. Hutchinson sadly looked old. He’s been such a solid player for so long, but near the end of the 2010 campaign and stretching through all of the 2011 campaign he looked old and weak compared to younger interior D-linemen. Sullivan was the most consistent guy up front and was rewarded for that by receiving a 5 year extension from the team. Herrera, Berger, Fusco, and others who played RG looked awful, it was often frustrating to watch all of our O-line, but this spot was the worst.  Which again brings me back to Phil Loadholt. Loadholt is a monster, and at times can absolutely dominate and close down his side of the O-line, but when that isn’t occurring, it’s during pass plays. Loadholt looked awful against the pass, being mostly embarrassed for 120 minutes of the games vs. Green Bay.  Clay Matthews seemed to toy with him at times easily getting to Continue reading

Wide Receiver

The Wide Receiver position was a huge weakness for the team this season. After losing Sidney Rice over the offseason they did not add any big names to replace him. The team added Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins to add depth to the position and drafted Stephen Burton in the late rounds of the draft. None of them stood out as a great option for the quarterbacks to throw to. Bernard Berrian tried to have a bounce back year after getting his contract restructured but ended up being cut after showing nothing on the field at the beginning of the season and missing team meetings. Greg Camarillo was another guy who didn’t do much for the team this season. Percy Harvin is obviously their go to guy in the slot as a possession receiver. He is the team’s best option to provide yards after catch and was even used in the backfield quite a bit this season.

I think it’s clear that the Vikings need a major upgrade to their wide receiver core this offseason. Percy Harvin will obviously return as the slot receiver. Michael Jenkins has two years remaining on his contract so he will return as an outside receiver that will provide sure hands and a size advantage. Everyone after that is still to be determined. The Vikings are in desperate need of a number one outside receiver. To the benefit of the Vikings the free agent WR class this year could be filled with some big names as you can see below. The only problem will be convincing someone to play here for a Continue reading