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

Buffalo 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 103 FINAL
Miami 95
Indiana 110 FINAL
Brooklyn 85
New Orleans 100 FINAL
Chicago 107
Atlanta 90 FINAL
Milwaukee 85
Philadelphia 71 FINAL
Utah 88
New York 129 FINAL
Sacramento 135
Minnesota 97 FINAL
Golden State 110
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Nashville 4
Anaheim 1 FINAL(SO)
Arizona 2
Chicago 5 FINAL
Colorado 2
Edmonton 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
San Jose 1 FINAL
Los Angeles 3
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 46 FINAL
Tennessee 67
Kennesaw St 45 FINAL
Illinois 93
Colorado State 58 FINAL
New Mexico St 57
Portland 61 FINAL
San Diego 58
Wayland Baptist 63 FINAL
Utah State 75
Bristol University 59 FINAL
Weber State 109
Sacramento St 74 FINAL
Utah Valley U 49
Southern Utah 45 FINAL
UNLV 79
SD Christian 50 FINAL
San Diego St 72
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 42 FINAL
(24) USC 45
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
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 Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close