Hartman: A year later, Vikings need no overhaul

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 10, 2013 - 12:37 AM

 After replacing 19 free agents last offseason, the team's roster is a lot more stable --and youthful.

hide

Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt

Photo: Rick Osentoski, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

What a difference a year has made for the Minnesota Vikings.

A year ago, the Vikings had 19 free agents whom they didn't re-sign from a team that had gone 3-13.

This year, they have 10 free agents from a 10-6 team, and there is a good chance they will make a strong effort to re-sign most of them, including starters Jasper Brinkley, Phil Loadholt, Jamarca Sanford, Jerome Felton and Erin Henderson.

Losing those 19 players last offseason made the Vikings much younger and created an opportunity for all of their draft choices and a number of free agents to make an impact.

Going into the 2011 season the Vikings were ranked 21st in the league in age, averaging 27.4 years.

But the roster overhaul they underwent allowed the Vikings to transform themselves into the league's fourth-youngest team with an average age of 25.6 -- nearly two years younger than the 2011 team.

They ranked behind the Rams, Eagles and Browns and were just ahead of the Packers, who averaged 25.7 years of age.

The roster turnover from last year has to go down as one of the biggest overhauls in recent history.

A year ago, the free agents included tight ends Visanthe Shiancoe, who signed with the Patriots and eventually was released, and Jim Kleinsasser, who retired; offensive linemen Steve Hutchinson, who signed with the Titans, Anthony Herrera, who didn't catch on with anybody, and Scott Koostra, who retired; defensive lineman Remi Ayodele (signed with the Saints); linebackers Kenny Onatolu (Panthers), Xavier Adibi (Bears) and E.J. Henderson, who surprisingly never caught on with anybody.

There were also defensive backs Cedric Griffin (Redskins), Tyrell Johnson (Dolphins), and a few who didn't sign on elsewhere: Benny Sapp, Jared Page, Husain Abdullah and Asher Allen; wide receiver Greg Camarillo (Saints); running back Lorenzo Booker (Bears); long snapper Matt Katula (Steelers) and placekicker Ryan Longwell, who just caught on with the Seahawks.

Re-sign top free agents

Among this year's free agents are several who would leave big holes if they got away.

This group includes Loadholt, the right tackle who has had a good year and is one reason the offensive line can be even stronger if it remains intact.

Then there is Brinkley, the starting linebacker who, after being idle for a season, had a solid year. Sanford also performed well at safety, and Felton did a great job blocking for Adrian Peterson.

There's also wide receiver Devin Aromashadu, who saw a lot of action late in the season, and Henderson, who started every game at linebacker.

That's a far cry from last year, when there were few starters among the free agents whom the Vikings felt they couldn't replace through their own reserves, the draft or free agency.

This year's other free agents didn't contribute as much, although wide receiver Jerome Simpson played well when he got healthy and the Vikings are thin at that position.

Free-agent linebacker Marvin Mitchell, who played only on special teams, and offensive linemen Joe Berger and Geoff Schwartz played little this season.

With a much more stable 53-man roster, General Manager Rick Spielman and the front office should be able to focus on positions of need this offseason and not worry about completely revamping the team like they had to do last offseason.

Vikings sponsor awards

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Football Foundation announced that the Vikings will be the presenting sponsors for the 2013 "Honoring Legends-Inspiring Leaders" awards.

This prestigious event, held each year at the University of St. Thomas, honors outstanding individuals in Minnesota, including legendary figures and the state's top scholar-athletes.

The awards will be presented on Sept. 28.

Oakes back to work

Longtime Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes, who has been with the team for more than 15 years, had been laid up since last June while undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia.

But now he is in remission after receiving a bone-marrow transplant from his brother, and he has been cleared to go back to work with the team.

And there was additional good news: Oakes' doctor told him he doesn't have to get another checkup for a year. Oakes' sons T.J. and Tyler pitched with the Gophers. ...

The construction of the new Siebert Field has been completed, and it will be available for the Gophers during their upcoming outdoor schedule.

However, it does not have lights (cost: $400,000) or a covered batting cage. Additional money is being raised to add those.

Jottings

Torii Hunter Jr., the son of the great former Twins center fielder, recently suffered a broken left femur during practice for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. But the fifth-rated receiver prospect in the country said Notre Dame is not pulling its scholarship offer because of the injury.

"It takes 12 weeks to completely heal, but there will be a full six months to rehab and then I'll be back running," Hunter said. "I'm trying to come back before that."

• Gophers basketball recruit Alvin Ellis recently had a nice game for De La Salle (Ill.) against St. Rita, scoring 25 points while hitting four three-pointers in a 73-67 loss. De La Salle is now 10-5 on the season. ... Forward Alex Foster, the Gophers' other 2013 signee, scored 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in Chicago Seton Academy's loss to Romulus last Friday.

• With the Wild getting ready to start play again, it's nice to look down at the Houston Aeros' performance this season and see three 20 year-old players in the top five of scoring for the Wild farm team.

Jason Zucker, a former WCHA rookie of the year, is leading the team with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in 31 games; Finnish superstar Mikael Granlund is fourth in scoring with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 21 games; and Charlie Coyle, whom the Wild received in the Brent Burns trade with the San Jose Sharks in 2010, is fifth with 20 points (12 goals, eight assists) in 35 games.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 32 FINAL
Team Carter 28
Miami 96 FINAL
Chicago 84
Oklahoma City 98 FINAL
Cleveland 108
Dallas 106 FINAL
New Orleans 109
Indiana 106 FINAL
Orlando 99
LA Clippers 120 FINAL
Phoenix 100
Minnesota 100 FINAL
Atlanta 112
Detroit 110 FINAL
Toronto 114
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
San Antonio 101
Boston 111 FINAL
Golden State 114
Washington 117 FINAL
Denver 115
Houston 99 FINAL
LA Lakers 87
Team Toews 17 FINAL
Team Foligno 12
South Florida 53 FINAL
Connecticut 66
Boston College 64 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Virginia 50 FINAL
Virginia Tech 47
Indiana 70 FINAL
Ohio State 82
Stony Brook 61 FINAL
Binghamton 54
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
UCF 46
Maine 70 FINAL
Hartford 61
Monmouth 64 FINAL
Manhattan 71
Fairfield 67 FINAL
Marist 73
Rowan 48 FINAL
Princeton 96
St Bonaventure 48 FINAL
Rhode Island 53
Duke 77 FINAL
St Johns 68
Saint Peters 69 FINAL
Siena 55
Drake 40 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Vermont 61 FINAL
UMass Lowell 50
Seton Hall 57 FINAL
Butler 77
NJIT 72 FINAL
South Alabama 55
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Illinois State 53
Louisville 80 FINAL
Pittsburgh 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Albany 69
Niagara 64 FINAL
Iona 87
Notre Dame 81 FINAL
NC State 78
Belmont 63 FINAL
Tennessee St 55
Creighton 50 FINAL
Villanova 71
Northwestern 67 FINAL
Maryland 68
Washington 56 FINAL
Utah 77
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 99 FINAL
Georgetown 85
St Johns 69 FINAL
Villanova 81
Arkansas 58 FINAL
Florida 72
Maine 56 FINAL
UMBC 42
Vanderbilt 55 FINAL
Alabama 52
Lafayette 60 FINAL
Lehigh 65
UCF 61 FINAL
SMU 57
Utah 51 FINAL
Washington 63
James Madison 73 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 53
Delaware 56 FINAL
Drexel 61
Hofstra 56 FINAL
William & Mary 57
Hartford 58 FINAL
Albany 82
Binghamton 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 67
Towson 63 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 71
Wake Forest 80 FINAL
(17) Florida State 110
Georgia Tech 68 FINAL
Virginia 62
(22) Georgia 51 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 59
Drake 79 FINAL
Evansville 62
Iona 80 FINAL
Canisius 62
Fairfield 33 FINAL
Monmouth 59
Northwestern 75 FINAL
Penn State 76
Wisconsin 71 FINAL
Michigan State 77
Ohio State 79 FINAL
Purdue 71
Northern Iowa 57 FINAL
Indiana State 55
Butler 58 FINAL
Xavier 54
Creighton 93 FINAL
Marquette 75
Providence 42 FINAL
DePaul 90
Northeastern 77 FINAL
Elon 80
(2) Connecticut 96 FINAL
Cincinnati 31
Oregon 78 FINAL
Arizona 81
Bradley 46 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
NC State 49 FINAL
(23) Syracuse 66
(7) Maryland 84 FINAL
Indiana 74
Illinois State 35 FINAL
Missouri State 58
Colorado 68 FINAL
Washington St 73
Tulane 45 FINAL
South Florida 64
(14) Kentucky 83 FINAL
Missouri 69
(9) Oregon State 68 FINAL
(13) Arizona State 57
Vermont 63 FINAL
UMass Lowell 72
Iowa State 58 FINAL
(8) Texas 57
Southern Ill 61 FINAL
Wichita State 80
(15) Duke 74 FINAL
(12) North Carolina 67
Miami-Florida 55 FINAL
(4) Louisville 68
(21) Minnesota 61 FINAL
(25) Rutgers 66
California 72 FINAL
UCLA 57
(11) Stanford 71 FINAL
USC 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close