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  1. #1
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    From KFAN Radio

    Anthony Maggio
    KFAN dot com

    Thanks in large part to free safety Darren Sharper, the 2005 Minnesota Vikings finished tied with Chicago for second in the NFL in interceptions with 24 picks. But Sharper’s nine interceptions last season were made possible by both the pressure up front on the quarterback and the steady play of the defensive backs around him, allowing him to take chances to make plays.

    But can the Vikings defense pick up where it left off last year and once again be among the tops in interceptions in 2006?

    “It depends on who comes back,” Sharper said. “But as long as you keep everything together it should always improve because you’ve got that chemistry. Guys are more familiar with one another. I fully expect every guy to know how each one plays, that should allow us to go out and play better.”

    The good news for Sharper is that most of the secondary will remain intact. Antoine Winfield and last year’s oft-injured Fred Smoot return as the starting cornerbacks, and Sharper will be back as the starting free safety. But who will join Sharper on the back end of the ‘Tampa-2’ defense brought to Minnesota by new defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin is yet to be determined.

    Corey Chavous is a free agent, and wasn’t sure if he even wanted to return to the Vikings as the season came to an end.

    “As long as the team is focused on trying to win that Super Bowl, that’s pretty much all I have left in my career,” Chavous said. “I don’t have a tremendous amount of individual goals, but I do have the goal I want to get that ring.”

    Before Mike Tice was relieved of his duties as Vikings head coach, Chavous said he knew that the people currently in the organization were focused on winning a Super Bowl. He even mentioned Jeff Robinson and Scott Studwell by name, and both have interviewed for Minnesota’s newly created player personnel executive position.

    But owner Zygi Wilf seems intent on hiring someone outside of the organization for the new role, and Chavous will then have to decide if he feels the Vikings’ new regime is headed in the right direction. And the new regime has to decide if Chavous fits what it wants to accomplish.

    Backup safety Willie Offord was injured most of last season and is also a free agent, leaving just Will Hunter and Dustin Fox on the roster at the position. Fox, a third-round pick in last year’s draft, spent his first season on injured reserve with a broken arm.

    Minnesota’s new coaching staff likely won’t want to go into the season with an untested second-year player (Fox) or special teams stalwart (Hunter) opposite Sharper in the defensive backfield, meaning re-signing Corey Chavous or nabbing another free agent safety is a must.

    Sharper plays free safety and likely will stay there, meaning a strong safety would be preferred. The list of free agent safeties is long, but only a few names jump out as reasonable options for the Vikings.

    Baltimore’s Chad Williams is an intriguing option, as the strong safety is entering his fifth season and has played every game in his career. He started three games this season and finished with 46 tackles and an interception. Twice in his career he has picked off three passes in a season.

    Carolina’s Marlon McCree is another strong candidate, as he started all but two games for the Panthers this season, recording three interceptions and 74 tackles. He also has two picks in two games this postseason.

    Other starting strong safeties that are decent options include Atlanta’s Keion Carpenter, St. Louis’ Adam Archuleta, Washington’s Ryan Clark and Cincinnati’s Ifeanyi Ohalete. Jacksonville’s Deke Cooper and Oakland’s Jarrod Cooper both started at strong safety for most of this season and are free agents, but are not as likely to draw interest from the Vikings.

    Also expect Tampa Bay’s Dexter Jackson to get a long look, as Jackson played under Tomlin with the Bucs last year. Jackson missed five games due to injury this season, but started the other 11 at free safety. If willing to make the switch to the strong side, the seven-year veteran could follow his position coach and form a solid tandem with Sharper. Other quality free safeties available in free agency this year include Pittsburgh’s Chris Hope, Dallas’ Keith Davis and Miami’s Lance Schulters, who had four interceptions this season and has picked of six passes in a season twice during his eight-year NFL tenure.

    As for the cornerback position, the Vikings have to make up for the imminent loss of Brian Williams. The former Minnesota starter was miffed by the pickup of Smoot last offseason and was listed as the nickel back on the depth chart. But with Smoot injured much of the season, Williams got several chances to show his wares and didn’t disappoint.

    Williams finished tied for second on the team with four interceptions, also picking up 40 tackles and a sack. But with Smoot expected to be healthy coming into next season, Williams is not about to be a nickel back again.

    “I feel like its pretty much starter or bust,” Williams said. “I’m definitely going to be a starter. I don’t think that nickel role will fly too far. We had a good situation here for the organization, the opportunity to bring Smoot in and me still being here, that gave us a lot of depth. It was a good situation for here, but I don’t think I’m that type of player.”

    When Smoot was injured and Williams a starter, Ralph Brown was the nickel back. But, Brown is also a free agent this year. That leaves Minnesota with Dovonte Edwards, who had a strong rookie campaign and got plenty of playing time towards the end of the season, and Laroni Gallishaw, another undrafted free agent who got limited action on special teams before hurting his ankle and landing on injured reserve.

    In short, the Vikings will be looking to add two or three cornerbacks to the mix prior to training camp. Free agency won’t supply much, as none of the top available corners, like Williams, will want to come to Minnesota as a nickel back.

    Instead, the Vikings will look to sign a veteran who understands he won’t start over Winfield and Smoot, and then likely add a rookie corner in the draft. In the free agent market, Minnesota will likely again look to Tampa Bay, where a pair of cornerbacks who played for Tomlin last season are available.

    Tomlin said after being hired by the Vikings that he had a few of his former players in mind to bring with him to Winter Park, but did not want to name names. But expect to hear the names Juran Bolden and Torrie Cox when free agent signing rolls around.

    Bolden is entering his ninth season and has bounced around the league with Atlanta, Green Bay, Carolina, Kansas City, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. Bolden was the Buccaneers’ nickel back last season, tallying 42 tackles and two interceptions while playing in all 16 games and even making two starts.

    Bolden also has the reputation as a strong special teams player, earning the nickname “Big Stick” during his time in Atlanta for his special teams hits.

    Also a free agent this offseason is Torrie Cox. The third-year player saw action in 15 games as a dime back, notching 10 tackles.

    After personnel evaluations, the Vikings could also choose to re-sign Brown, who is entering his seventh season and played in all 16 games last year, picking up 37 tackles.

    But no matter who returns to Minnesota and who the Vikings add to the roster this offseason, big things will be expected out of each player. Tomlin’s defensive backs picked off 17 passes in Tampa Bay this season and the defense finished as the top-ranked unit in the league.

    Tomlin and new head coach Brad Childress will expect Minnesota to make as many plays defensively as it did last season, while vaulting that 21st-ranked defensive unit from a year ago into a defense that ranks among the league’s elite.
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

    When you require nothing, you get nothing; when you expect nothing, you will find nothing; when you embrace nothing, all you will have is nothing.

  2. #2
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    The whole article is based on the assumption that Chavous will leave because he MIGHT not think that the new personel brought in is serious about winning a superbowl.


    I think Chavous could move on, but out of Chavous and Bwill, Chavous is more likely to stick it out.

  3. #3
    mnvikes61's Avatar
    mnvikes61 is offline Team Alumni
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    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    Hey Del, did you ever finish that video of Chavous you were going to make?

    Thanks Josdin

  4. #4
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    Pretty much.

    I'm going to edit in some music and compress it down, then get it hosted. I have a free weekend finally so I am going to be getting a lot of stuff done that is on my list.

    Right now it is just a silent clip of him knocking the hell out of people and defending passes. I need to add some sound to get the full effect.

    It's a huge file so it's going to take some messing with.

  5. #5
    V4L's Avatar
    V4L
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    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    i want chavous to return. if he leaves it will suck. he is 1 of my fav. players. if we do let him go we should get archuleta to come to us. or get both and move archuleta back to linebacker. he used to play that in collage

  6. #6
    V4L's Avatar
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    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    LOL..


    I don't remember posting that there..

    Samdawggg!!!

  7. #7
    VikingsTw is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    Chavous seems a little lost to me, first he cry's about his contract, he almost gets 2 mill a year. Now he doesn't know if the team is headed in the right direction? Wow. See you later guy, i think he's replacable.

  8. #8
    Del Rio Guest

    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    He is definately not as big of a role filler as he used to be.

    I'm not going to hold it against him that he wanted a longer contract one that would let him retire a Viking. Especially since he showed up to camp and played good football for us despite having issues with his contract.

    Why would he say anything else about the superbowl? He doesn't have 10 more years in him. If the Vikes aren't serious about making the moves neccisarry to advance towards the bowl why wait around?

    There are worse people on the team right now that are bigger bitches then this guy. Some of em are in skill positions even.

  9. #9
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    "Vikez4Lyfe" wrote:
    LOL..


    I don't remember posting that there..

    Samdawggg!!!
    Change your password (and don't make it "ICP Rulez" or "KMK Rockz" pr something easy for SD to guess)!!! And don't let the computer save it for you...type it in every time!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

  10. #10
    cajunvike's Avatar
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    Re: Vikes will be looking for Strong Safety

    Even though I think that Dexter Jackson is overrated, it might make sense to bring him in next year to replace Chavous...also to take a good look at Bolden and Cox (the two CBs mentioned in the article above) as backup DBs...they all know the Cover-2 and have already played for our new DC...it might speed up the transition to the new defense. I would also LOVE to have Derrick Brooks at MLB, quarterbacking the new defense...so Wilf, open that checkbook up and start writing big checks!!!
    BANNED OR DEAD...I'LL TAKE EITHER ONE

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