Very good post.I agree with most of it.
Keep in mind that I do not claim to be any type of football analyst or sports genius.
This is just a compilation of my thought regarding each position on the Vikes roster.
I don't care if you poke holes in it and interject your opinion.
in fact, I welcome it.
Healthy, informed debate makes the off season go by that much faster...
In summary, I expect us to pursue two WRs, a verteran QB backup, a DE, and a LB in the FA or through trades.
I believe we will draft an OL with our #7 pick, and a CB in the second, and a WR in the third.
After that it is anybody's guess.
My offseason wish list / Evaluation by position
Jackson and Bollinger will be back, but both will probably be competing for roster spots against a veteran brought in through FA or trade.
While the name Schuab seems to grace a lot of wish lists, he will be a RFA with a high price tag. Plus, despite all of the good press, he is actually rather unproven (6 career TDs, 6 career INTs).
I think Jeff Garcia or Jake Plummer are more likely candidates, with the later being my personal choice.
I expect Jackson to be the starter next year though.
Where to start.
With M-Rob gone, and Taylor probably on his way out, this is our biggest area of need.
I'll admit that I was drooling a little watching Calvin Johnson in the Bowl game, but there is no way we can bank on him dropping to us in the draft.
Besides, skill positions like WR usually need at least a year to get into the swing of the NFL, and we need help immediately.
Kevin Curtis has shown a couple flashes of excellence, and Donte' Stallworth has the speed to stretch the field.
Either would be a welcome addition to the Vikings WR corps, but neither could be the number 1 we need.
To fill that role, I see us going after Jerry Porter aggressively.
The Raiders are looking for a team to take him off their hands, and we could probably get him for a third round draft pick.
Before all of the Moss supports pipe up... yes, I know we could probably get moss for the same, but remember that Childress makes the calls when it comes to personnel, and he already lived though one WR mess with T.O.
If we can secure a number 1 and 2 WR through FA or trade, then look for us to bundle a couple of low round draft picks to grab a rookie WR in the late third round.
Childress has already demonstrated that he is willing to part with a sixth or seventh rounder to make a move if he sees someone he likes.
Williamson, if he returns, will have to compete for the slot position against Carter, McMullen, and the new WR.
Sauce and Wiggy, two fan favorites since they came to the Vikes, have probably see their last days in a Vikes uniform.
Childress's scheme calls for a faster TE who can stretch the field and generate some YAC.
Unfortunately, there are any fast, tough TEs available with good hands in FA.
Maybe Daniel Graham, but I wouldn't hold my breath.
Owens and Dugan weren't bad this year, so it is possible that we could just stick with them if nothing opens up.
This area remains the biggest question mark for me, so I will wait to see what Childress has in the works...
Finally a position were we aren't hurting!
Chester Taylor turned out to be the workhorse we thought he would be.
A lack of any vertical threat allowed defenses to stack the box against the run constantly, but Taylor still put up decent numbers. Moore, Fason, and Pinner all were solid back ups.
As longs as we keep at least three out of the four over the offseason, we will be fine.
Richardson is a YAC machine, but we could use a solid back up.
Owens, Pinner and Dugan took turns in the role, but none excelled.
We have Owens for a couple more years, so this isn't a glaring need.
We could look at someone in the late rounds of the draft, assuming we don't package those picks in a trade.
Our left side finally started to mesh.
McKinnie still gets beat consistently by a fast DE, but we have committed to him for several more years.
Our right side, however, needs a lot of work.
Cook is a work in progress, and I personally like Rosenthal.
Hicks and Herrera are back ups at best, so we need to address both the right guard and right tackle positions.
I expect Childress to take an OL with the number seven pick in the draft.
He has made it clear that the OL and DL are always high on his priority list.
And there are several that fit our needs.
Jake Long played great in Michigan, and would be a great right tackle.
Joe Thomas and Sam Baker are also excellent linemen likely coming out in the draft, but I expect the Cardinals to take Thomas, and Baker hasn't announced whether or not he will opt for the draft or play his last year with the Trojans.
Our number 1 rush defense was also the number 32 pass defense, and it all starts up front.
Darrion Scott simply can't bring the pressure like James can.
In 2005, after James replaced Scott on the line our average yards per game dropped from 361.1 to 293.8.
When James went out for the season, it allowed opposing lines to double team Kevin Williams almost every play, with a back swinging out to put an extra man on Udeze.
This effectively eliminated our pass rush for the entire season.
The good news is this is a fairly deep position in both FA and the draft.
Robert Geathers, Jared Allen, and Bobby McCray are all solid ends, but are all also RFAs, and I don't see the Vikes spending too much for someone who will basically be a backup or designated pass rusher.
Patrick Kerney or Justin Smith are more likely candidates IMHO.
Their numbers have slipped recently, and both could be solid DEs willing to come in at reliever for James and Udeze.
Leonard Little would be a steal, but I expect the Rams to retain him.
If it comes down to the draft (which I would be surprised if it did), Quentin Moses is a nice prospect who would easily be there at #7.
Ray McDonald and Anthony Spencer could also slip into the second round, and might be a possibility then.
The Williams's are the premier run stuffing DTs in the league.
Phat Pat is getting up there in age though, and I wouldn't be too surprised to see another struggle between him and Childress regarding his offseason weight.
That being said though, I expect both to return.
The Vikes might look for a little more depth in FA or the late rounds of the draft, but this isn't a glaring need.
With Smoot most likely gone, Griffin will retain the starting job opposite Winfield, with Devonte Edwards coming back in at nickel.
Whitaker and Gordon are OK in relief or dime back, but neither one can fill one of the top three spots if we have another CB go down.
If Leon Hall is still on the board when the Vikes pick comes up, Childress will face a difficult decision between picking him up or fixing our patchy OL.
My guess is he would still go with the OL.
Expect us to look into the second or even third round to find another Cedric Griffin.
Marcus McCauley had a horrible senior season in Fresno, and his stock has easily slipped into the second round.
Harris is probably gone, but Greenway will be back.
Still, we need a solid veteran LB who understands the Cover 2 scheme.
After New England showed the world how to beat the Vikings, everyone began dumping passes just over the linebackers once the WRs cleared the zone.
We need a MLB with more speed and vision to drop back and prevent that type of pass while still being able to come up and meet a runner at the line.
Unfortunately we can't clone Urlacher, so we will have to look in FA and trade instead.
Adalius Thomas is at the top of my list, and the last I heard he was a UFA this year.
There should be enough skill between Sharper, Blue, Smith and Tank (if he returns) to make this a solid position.
Still, there are rumors about Sharper being unhappy with the first losing season in his career, and Childress obviously isn't afraid to bring in competition in training camp.
I wouldn't be surprised to see another veteran brought in, although no names come to mind immediately.
Longwell had a good year, going 21 for 25 and kicking 100% at everything less than 40 yards.
However his leg strength is an issue.
Considering our special teams coverage isn't exactly stellar, we could use a kicker who could consistently put it in the end zone.
No big names come up, but don't be surprised if a few other kickers aren't brought in for looks during the offseason.
Kluwe started out rough this season as he learned how to kick the ball directionally.
However, by the end of the season he had pulled his average up to 42.3 yards, over half of which came down inside the 20.
I don't think his job is in jeopardy, and he will continue to develop his directional kicking and we will start pinning opponents more this year.