So, every off-season teams draft new players, say goodbye to veterans and sign a few of new FAs if they are lucky.

As we look forward to next year, you have to wonder, did we get better versus our competition? How do our off-season moves compare?

Frequentley, drafted players thrown into starting roles won’t improve a team for 2 or 3 years, and often they pull down the performance of a team in the first year or just break even.

Sometimes teams draft into a strength based on players available to them and it works out more as insurance to sustain performance than anything else.

The most reliable way to improve a team is to bring in a reliable Veteran in an area of need.

So keeping those things in mind I looked at our competition (teams that challenged for the playoffs) and found only 3 teams that looked like they have legitimately improved themselves for next year.

Miami – The addition of Marshall and Dansby would seem to make this a blow-out, but, they lost both starting OLBs in Free Agencey. They did draft a great OLB , Koa Misi, but that won’t make up all of the difference.

Jacksonville – While a lot of people may rag on the Jacksonville draft they really focused their energies on their defensive weaknesses. They dropped a poorly performing Henderson but drafted 2 DTs and added Kampman and Kirk Morrisson. This team got better.

New England – It was a TE turnstyle in New England this offseason. For next year, it’s probably just a welcome to the NFL kind of year. They also added several other players thru FA and the draft for depth, but the Patriots made a real improvement on special teams by adding a quality Punter in Zoltan Mesko (their Punting Unit Stunk last year). If they didn’t have to go after TEs they would have probably scored big this year.
Let’s compare those teams to the Vikings:

Minnesotta – Most picks were for depth, no player will be asked to take a starting role. Following a down year by CT, Gerhart should be an upgrade. Even Degeare, Triplett and Griffen can be expected to contribute as back-ups/special team players next year. We signed Lloyd and Shepard who should both add to the teams performance compared to last year. Webb is a a wildcard player that would really put this offseason over the top . That’s a pretty good offseason…maybe a “stealth” offseason so far, but solid.

As it stands now, I think Jacksonville has made the most improvements for next year among the playoff level competition teams.

Now if we sign a FA Olineman like Pitts as insurance for the Hicks departure I would rate our off-season right up there behind Jacksonville’s.

I will wait until pre-season to look into players recovering from injury and Free Agent transactions between now and then, but, up to this point it looks more promising than I thought. (Knock on wood with Henderson and Griffin)