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Continued: Hartman: A year later, Vikings need no overhaul

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

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

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Chicago 14 3rd Qtr 8:59
Detroit 24
Philadelphia 3:30 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
San Francisco
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 7:00 PM
Nashville
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 44 2nd Half 10:23
Butler 28
Austin Peay 26 1st Half 5:31
Brown 25
Princeton 17 1st Half 4:07
Texas-El Paso 20
Coastal Carolina 1:30 PM
Chattanooga
Kansas 1:35 PM
Rhode Island
Wisconsin 2:30 PM
Georgetown
FIU 2:30 PM
USC Upstate
Long Island 3:00 PM
Stony Brook
San Diego 3:30 PM
Xavier
Illinois 4:00 PM
Indiana State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Saint Josephs
Cal State Fullerton 5:00 PM
Wright State
Michigan State 5:30 PM
Rider
UCLA 6:00 PM
North Carolina
Marquette 7:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Long Beach State 7:30 PM
Western Mich
Stephen F Austin 8:00 PM
Prairie View
UAB 8:30 PM
Florida
Rice 8:30 PM
Mercer
San Jose St 10:00 PM
Washington
Washington St 10:59 PM
UC Santa Barbara
Baylor 10:59 PM
Memphis
LSU 6:30 PM
Texas A&M
(6) TCU 6:30 PM
Texas
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 36 2nd Half 7:06
Furman 44
Clemson 45 2nd Half 14:45
Ohio State 45
Idaho State 20 1st Half 4:48
San Diego State 23
East Carolina 11 1st Half 7:58
(22) Syracuse 30
Santa Clara 2:30 PM
Texas-El Paso
Florida State 2:30 PM
Washington
Wichita State 2:30 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
Wisconsin 3:15 PM
(1) South Carolina
BYU 5:00 PM
BYU-Hawaii
Kansas State 5:00 PM
LSU
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Montana
Illinois 5:00 PM
(9) Kentucky
Central Michigan 7:00 PM
Richmond
Oklahoma 7:15 PM
South Florida
Princeton 7:30 PM
Wake Forest
(19) Oregon State 8:00 PM
Butler
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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 Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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