It’s been 16 days now since free agency opened across the NFL. Here’s your comprehensive report on how the Vikings have operated in the market over the past two-and-a-half weeks.
Leslie Frazier loves Henderson’s energy, growth potential and position flexibility at linebacker. Henderson is pleased with his new one-year, $2 million deal and hopes a superb 2012 will lead to a much bigger pay day next March.
The Remi Ayodele experiment at nose tackle was a failure. Now the 24-year-old Guion will get a shot to flourish in a leading role there. In what will be an under-the-radar storyline but important nonetheless, Guion’s development under new defensive line coach Brendan Daly will be worth monitoring.
After a 26-catch, 468-yard season in 2011, Aromashodu will be back for another year. The Vikings have no plans on making him a featured offensive weapon but believe he can be a valuable contributor on the perimeter.
Starting quarterback Christian Ponder is 24 and entering his second season. Back-up Joe Webb is 25 and entering his third season. Rosenfels may be highly unlikely to see the field on game days – he hasn’t thrown a pass in a game since 2008 – but the Vikings feel his veteran presence and intelligence will provide a healthy environment for their two other young signal callers to learn in.
Evans is entering his sevent season and will be asked to push Guion at nose tackle.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is tweaking his playbook for the new two Notre Dame tight end sets. The pairing of Carlson with Kyle Rudolph should add a new dimension to the offense. Musgrave and General Manager Rick Spielman expect Carlson to be fully recovered after missing all of 2011 due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder.
The flashes of brilliance Bowman showed in 2009 when he had six interceptions with the Bears were enough to convince the Vikings to roll the dice. Working with head coach Leslie Frazier and new defensive coordinator Alan Williams, both of who have good track records developing defensive backs, may provide Bowman a boost at corner.
Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson vouched for Schwartz’s talents, having coached him in 2009 and 2010 in Carolina. Like Carlson, Schwartz missed all of 2011; he had hip surgery. But he has an ability to help at both guard and tackle and should enter training camp with an opportunity to compete for a starting spot inside.
Hilliard received his Vikings’ internal vote of confidence from running backs coach James Saxon, with whom he worked in Miami in 2009 and 2010. He has value as a multi-dimensional fullback.
Drafted in the fifth round in 2008 by Detroit, Felton is entering his fifth season with his fourth different team and will compete for a job at fullback.
STILL OUT THERE
Abdullah missed the final seven games of 2011 after suffering his second concussion of the season and fourth in two years. Durability is a concern. But the Vikings have offered Abdullah a contract and a chance to come back. The dependable safety is currently mulling the offer.
Odds are good Henderson will be separated from his younger brother. He’s 32, entering his 10th NFL season and spent much of last year dealing with nagging knee pain. But E.J. has yet to sign elsewhere and the Vikings say they’ll leave the door open a crack for a possible return – but only if they can get him to accept a lessened role and a discount deal.
With Carlson on board, Shiancoe’s five-year run in Minnesota (208 catches, 2,424 yards, 24 TDs) is over.
A linebacker who was at his best on special teams, Onatolu has signed a new deal with the Panthers.
Ball security was an issue last season with Booker stumbling in his limited opportunities as a tailback and kick returner.
The veteran receiver is still on the open market but doesn’t help the Vikings address any of their needs.
The Vikings’ second-round pick in 2008, Johnson never really broke through and ended last season on injured reserve after tearing a hamstring.
Sapp’s seven-game return to Minnesota late last season came only after the Vikings’ secondary went through major attrition. Prior to signing, Sapp had spent the previous nine weeks out of football. He might want to get used to that lifestyle again.
Another late-season addition in 2011, Page arrived in Week 13 and was simply a crutch to help the Vikings stumble to the finish line of a miserable season. Earlier this month, Page signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The young linebacker barely saw the field in 2011, his first and likely only season with the Vikings.
Brought in after long snapper Cullen Loeffler broke a bone in his back, Katula was erratic. Kicker Ryan Longwell missed two field goal attempts and a PAT during Katula’s five-game stay.
Kooistra, an offensive lineman, suffered a serious and potentially career-ending neck injury in the first preseason game last season.
It’s also worth mentioning that since March 10, the Vikings have released a quartet of veterans: cornerback Cedric Griffin, guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera and defensive tackle Remi Ayodele.
WISH LIST GOING FORWARD
- A standout left tackle.
- A dynamic receiver who can provide a vertical threat to the passing game.
- Lots and lots of safety help. The only safeties currently under contract are Mistral Raymond, Jamarca Sanford and Eric Frampton.
- Additional help at cornerback – though at full strength, the nucleus of Antoine Winfield, Chris Cook, Asher Allen, Zack Bowman and Marcus Sherels should steady a shaken unit.
- A reliable No. 3 running back who can backup Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart.
- Added depth at linebacker.
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