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  1. #1
    Lando's Avatar
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    Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    Vikings Readying For Free Agency Premium Story
    Brad Childress
    Brad Childress

    By Tim Yotter

    Date: Jan 22, 2006

    The Vikings may have the salary cap room to spend and an owner willing to dish out the dough, but that doesn’t mean they are committed to an all-out shopping spree.

    The Minnesota Vikings are expected to enter the March free agency period with an estimated $25 million under the NFL-imposed salary cap. That cap number is expected to approach nearly $90 million this year and could go over $100 million in the next year or two.

    For now, however, the Vikings are reportedly in the best cap shape of any team in the league with an owner who is on the record that money won’t be an obstacle to acquiring free agents.

    “I think everyone here who has gotten to know me knows that my goal is to get a championship here,” owner Zygi Wilf said earlier this month. “I will do whatever it takes within the guidelines. Money will not be an object to get myself a championship.”

    Wilf’s comments came before the hiring of new head coach Brad Childress, who might be putting a damper on fans that expect the organization to just go and throw money around. Team chemistry is an important aspect, as Childress found out last year in dealing with discontented wide receiver Terrell Owens in Philadelphia. And, Childress said, there isn’t a direct correlation between winning teams and the biggest spenders on free agency.

    “We certainly have enough ammo financially, but I don’t think you spend just to spend. In the free agent business the last few years, we’ve done lots of studies on (teams) that spend in free agency and there isn’t any direct correlation to winning and how much you spend. Those things really don’t line up necessarily. I just think it’s a whole need thing – does the guy fit athletically and also does he fit personality-wise, as much as anything team-wise,” Childress said. “Have I been given any indication? We’ll do what we need to do, but again I’ll just say it’s a thing where you feel like you’re getting a guy at the right value.

    “There is always that initial wave of free agency and then things slow down. Then you see that the market kind of gets established a little bit. Nothing says you’ve got to run out the first day and go shopping. There may be those guys that you’re really eyeing as you go 10 days, two weeks, three weeks into free agency.”

    Last year, the Vikings rode both waves, the initial wave of free agency and then a few weeks later. It started with the signing of nose tackle Pat Williams to a three-year, $13 million contract about 18 hours into free agency. Williams turned out to be one of the team’s best defensive players last year.

    Then they pursued former Washington Redskins middle linebacker Antonio Pierce, who reportedly was scared away by the Vikings’ request to defer his signing bonus until the summer, when Red McCombs wouldn’t be on the hook for paying it.

    The busy month of March continued with the signing of free agent cornerback Fred Smoot, formerly of the Redskins, to a six-year, $30 million deal. The Vikings had inquired about several top cornerbacks during the first week of free agency, and Smoot may have been the last option to really try to upgrade.

    It continued with the acquisition of safety Darren Sharper, quarterback Brad Johnson and wide receiver Travis Taylor, as well making a trade for middle linebacker Sam Cowart.

    The Vikings were aggressive initially and found value later in March, and they could follow that same approach this offseason.

    Childress must first decide which of his own free agents he wants to keep, and he has 16 unrestricted free agents to consider – QB Shaun Hill, RBs Michael Bennett and Moe Williams, WR Koren Robinson, OL Cory Withrow, Melvin Fowler and Toniu Fonoti, DE Lance Johnstone, LBs Keith Newman, Raonall Smith and Cowart, CBs Ralph Brown and Brian Williams and safeties Corey Chavous and Willie Offord, as well as kicker Paul Edinger.

    “I do feel like if you want to keep some of those guys, you should probably take care of the guys that are in-house,” Childress said.

    A new director of player personnel likely would influence some of those decisions, and Childress might like to see that decision made soon so he and the director could start plotting the scouting process, from next week’s Senior Bowl to the NFL combine in late February to free agency in March to the NFL draft in April. Childress, however, is expected to have the most say in the personnel triumvirate that includes vice present of football operations Rob Brzezinski.

    “You’re going to have the combine that comes up here… you’re going to kind of be in lock step for certain parts of the days where you’re looking at players together when you’re getting closer to the draft,” Childress said about working with a new personnel director. “I think the first thing is what your needs are team-wise, where do you need to augment things, where do you need to pop a young guy in there because you’re getting a little bit older or you don’t have a player there. I think those needs will be pretty easy to ascertain. You spend a lot of time looking at tape together. That doesn’t mean you always agree, but you kind of can see, ‘Oh, OK, that’s the kind of guy you’re looking for in this offense. That’s a kind of guy you need to have there at that position. (Defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin has) got some strong ideas, too, in terms of what specifically they need in terms of defensive line, linebackers, secondary, so Mike will be actively involved with this too.”

    The chain of command seems to be set and the purse strings at the ready. Now the team just has to wait until March to see which free agents make it to market.

  2. #2
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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    "Lando" wrote:
    Team chemistry is an important aspect, as Childress found out last year in dealing with discontented wide receiver Terrell Owens in Philadelphia.
    This is good to hear from our new coach!!

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    We don't have many needs..

    I'd go OL.. Get Hutch or Bentley

    And Safety maybe.. Depends on some things

  4. #4
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    danny wat about linebacker?

  5. #5
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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    We could use a stud...

    Could draft one.. There are a ton of talented ones in there..

    If not we have some good ones.. DT will develop nicely.. EJ plain stud now.. Newman is a beast.. Cowart.. I think even Napo is better then people give him credit for

  6. #6
    SamDawg84 Guest

    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    we better resign cowart and k rob. they are 2 really good players. cowart had like 85 tackles and you guys know how good k rob did

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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    "Vikez4Lyfe" wrote:
    We could use a stud...

    Could draft one.. There are a ton of talented ones in there..

    If not we have some good ones.. DT will develop nicely.. EJ plain stud now.. Newman is a beast.. Cowart.. I think even Napo is better then people give him credit for
    tomlin said we need fast and athletic linebackers that can cover, not EJ Henderson, who is slow..the guy makes big plays and stops the run, but he is by no means a stud, he doesnt have the all around game and ability to cover anybody..he should obviously stay, but if we find something better to replace him on the weak side, then they should sign someone better and move EJ to the middle, or else resign cowart and demote EJ to backup both positions
    People who see life as anything more than pure entertainment are missing the point.

  8. #8
    VikingsTw is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    "olson_10" wrote:
    "Vikez4Lyfe" wrote:
    We could use a stud...

    Could draft one.. There are a ton of talented ones in there..

    If not we have some good ones.. DT will develop nicely.. EJ plain stud now.. Newman is a beast.. Cowart.. I think even Napo is better then people give him credit for
    tomlin said we need fast and athletic linebackers that can cover, not EJ Henderson, who is slow..the guy makes big plays and stops the run, but he is by no means a stud, he doesnt have the all around game and ability to cover anybody..he should obviously stay, but if we find something better to replace him on the weak side, then they should sign someone better and move EJ to the middle, or else resign cowart and demote EJ to backup both positions
    I strongly disagree, EJ has wheels and i believe he's alot faster then he was coming out of college, his lower body strength has improved since his rookie year. EJ looks just as fast as dontarious thomas for exept he's not trailing the play he's in pursuit.

    Maybe you didn't watch any games this year, he was hurt last year, causing him to be slow and inafective. This year he was healthy and was our best LB. I think EJ has a strong work ethic and Tomlin will get the most out of him, they could move him back to MLB but he must become more vocal.

  9. #9
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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    I agree... EJ is the man! He had a great year... especially the second half of the season! I think he learned a little more about playin MLB this year, after watching a verteran like Cowart. However, EJ deserves to move back to the middle, he is developing. If he keeps working to be more vocal, he is gunna be great. He was not the Butkis award winner in college for nothin. I say we get rid of cowart... cause he is gunna want some big $$$ after proving he can still play this year without being hurt for most of it. But now we move EJ back to the middle... and get a out side veteran linebacker to keep EJ calm and talkin out there!!!! Can you say Julian Peterson!!!! Holla!!!

  10. #10
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    Re: Vikings Readying For Free Agency

    We have to get atleast 2 new LB's. Via FA or the Draft.

    Theres NOTHING greater then a Florida Gator!
    "I promise everyone this. When Childress is let go in two years I can honestly say this.
    "I am not surprised"."-PurplePackerEater

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