With teh season over its time to look to the offseason. We have some key free agents, and other positions with major decisions. As of september 1st, we had 4.3 million dollars under the cap. (http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/columns/story?columnist=clayton_john&id=2229972)
Free Agents: Shawn Hill
Players undercontract: Daunte Culpepper, Brad Johnson
Outlook: The health of culpepper is still up in the air, but even if he does not start the year, we are still preatty set at this position. Brad Johnson lead the team to a 7-2 record, managing the game and allowing the defense to win games. Although he is getting up their in age, he should be good enough to keep the team together before culpepper comes back. It will be intresting to see when or if the teams goes back to culpepper. I think, we should do the same as the bears, allow the starter to get healthy then put him back in. Third stringer shawn hill is a free agent, but isnt a major part of the team. I wouldnt be surpised if we let him go, then draft a qb later in the draft, and allow brad johnson to teach him.
Free Agents: Micheal Bennett, Moe Williams, Onterrio Smith
Players undercontract: Mewelde Moore, Ciatric Fason, Adimchinobe Echemandu
Outlook: I think Moe williams will retire, and bennett and smith will be let go. Echemandu probably wont make the team, and if he does will not be a factor, leaving moore and fason. Fason is still too young and rare to be considered compeating for the starting job. That really only leaves Moore. I am a fan of moore, and think he can carry the load with success for the entire year. However, he hasnt proven he can. I would draft a runner in the first or second round (if one is availble), or sign a younger, free agent. I dont think we will or should sign a big name guy like alexander, james, or jamal lewis (if availble), because runners get injuried alot, and all the money spent could be wasted. I would look for a second tier back, like a chestor taylor from baltimore.
Free Agents: Koren Robinson, Nate Burilson (Restricted)
Players undercontract: Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson, Troy Willamson
Outlook: We have 5 good/decent recievers, but no one has proven they should start. Last year, burilson made his case, but injuries derailded him this year. If he can regain his health, he is very good after the catch. Koren Robinson gave the vikings a good deep threat, and likely will be the starter next year. Travis taylor is a good option for the third reciever, as he is good position type reciever. Troy Williamson had a decent rookie year for a reciever. Started off strong, but then his role deminsed as koren got more playing time. Will see more time next year though. Marcus Robinson will be the one who sees his role shrink the most. He will likely be only used near the redzone, where his tall, stature is great at winning jump balls on fades. Next year, i think Koren will get the number one spot, but then there will be a traning camp competion for the 2nd through 4th spot between Burilson, taylor, and williamson. I think williamson will be ahead of taylor, only because he has a much bigger upside. The wild card will be burilson, because he can stay healthy can be the #1 reciever.
Free Agents: none
Players undercontract: Jermain Wiggins, Jimmy Klinesauer, Richard Owens, Richard Angulo, Jeff Dugen
Outlook: This will depend on the type of offense the vikings will play. this year is seemed the TE, FB and Hback positions were the same, but this probably will change. Wiggins and Klinesauser both have strengths which are the others weakness, as wiggins is a poor blocker, but a good reciever, while jimmy K is teh opposite. They are very good complements.
Owens, Angulo, and Dugen really havent shown much to distringuish from each other. The only weakness this group has is little red zone threat. Wiggins, the best reciever, only had 1 tds this year, and 5 in two year, although has caught 69 and 71 catchers each year. I wouldnt really be against drafting a tight end to fulfill the red zone weakness in teh 4th-7th round. Or possibly a cheap free agent could fill this weakness. I wouldnt expect major changes in this position.
Free Agents: Melvin Fowler, Tonui Fonoti
Players undercontract: Bryant Mckinnie, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Herria, Chris Liwienski, Cory Withrow, Marcus Johson, Mike Rosthental, Matt Birk
Outlook: the offensive line is put together because there was so many players changing positions this past year. I feel this is our weakest area. Running the ball and protecting the qbs are extremely important. the only postion that is set is left tackle with Mikinnie. Goldberg was probably the second best lineman at the end of the year, and is likely to start next year at one gaurd position. I think long time starter Liwienski, who was benched midway through the year, deserves another shot and will likely get one. I would not count him out of starting at gaurd. At center matt birk returns, but the question will be for how long. I personally think his playing days are well behind him, after missing the entire season. He does deserve a chance though. I think Fowler will be resiged to compeat for the starting center job. That leaves right tackle, where Johnson should be the leader for the starting job. We have guys that can start at every postion but only one (Mckinnie) is a lock at starting. I think we should look at a lineman in the first or second round, or sign a big name free agent to sure up another lineman position.
Free Agents: none
Players undercontract: Pat Williams, Kevin Williams, Spencer Johnson, CJ Mosley
Outlook: the strongest postion on the team. Pat williams should have made the pro bowl, and kevin just started to get back into form after an offseason surgery, and ankle injury half way through the year. I am really looking foward to see how a healthy Kevin plays with Pat. Often injured spencer johson is a good backup when healthy. CJ Mosley played great his rookie season, when given the chance. With pat williams nearing his final years, Mosley will be grewmend to be the future starter.
Free Agents: Lance Johnstone
Players undercontract: Darrien Scott, Erasmus James, Keneci Udeze
Outlook: I don't forsee Johnstone being resigned unless he takes a good sized pay cut. I've never been a fan of bringing in a pass rusher for passing situations. At 32 years of age, and comming off his lowest tackle total (20) in his 10 years, and lowest sack total (8) in three years. If let go another backup will be needed. Expect a more balenced replacement. I would like to see a three man rotation between scott, james and udeze. Play scott and either james or udeze on rushing downs, then take scott out and play james and udeze. This serves each players strength. I feel this is a better option without johnstone because scott, james and udeze can both stop the run and rush the passer, while johnstone can only rush the passer.
Free Agents: Keith Newman, Raonall Smith, Sam Cowert
Players undercontract: EJ Henderson, Dontarrius Thomas, Rob Davis, Napolean Harris, Heath Farwell
Outlook: I think Newman should and will be resigned. He was our best linebacker last year. I dont think Smith would have a big impact next year, so he will be let go. Cowert is questionable. it could go either way. If he stays there would be a good chance that he will not start. Henderson should start along side Newman. That leaves the final starting spot. Thomas and Cowert (if resigned) will be the leading competitors on the roster now. I dont like those two starting, so I would like us to sign/ draft another linebacker. Rob Davis, and Napolean Harris will not likely play major roles and may be cut. Farwell will probably make the team again, due to his special team play.
Free Agents: Brian Williams
Players Undercontract: Antoine Winfield, Ralph Brown, Devonte Edwards, Fred Smoot, Dustin Fox
Outlook: Brian williams is a key free agent, that will likely be let go. I dont think it would be wise to pay a ton of money for a third corner (williams or smoot). if (big if) he takes a third corners salery, he could stay. another option would be resign him, but to play strong saftey. Winfield had another good year and will start next year. Smoot will likely start alongside him, unless williams in resigned. Although he was a disapointment his first year in purple, I would not write him off. the broncos went through the same thing with champ baily. Depth is not really a probably with reliable brown, talented rookie edwards, and fox rounding up the postion.
Free Agents: Corey Chavous, Willie Offord
Players undercontract: Will Hunter, Darren Sharper
Outlook: Like Birk, Chavous' best year are behind him, and will likely be let go. He has been a decent starter, but is starting to lose a step. After missing most the year, i expect offord to be resigned to compeate for the starting job. To compeat with him, I think brian williams, or dustin fox could change from corner to saftey. A early draft pick could be used on a safty, or money for a free agent. Some experienced could be lost because strong saftey Darren Sharper is a very good vetrien.
Free Agents: Paul Edinger
Players Undercontract: Chris Kluwe
Outlook: I think we should resign edinger. although he struggled outside sometimes, he made some big kicks late in the game. the punter postion is set with kluwe