Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Rice decision adds even more uncertainty

Posted by: under Off the field, Vikings, Leslie Frazier, Vikings players, Brian Robison, Kevin Williams, Leslie Frazier, Pat Williams, Ray Edwards, Sidney Rice, Vikings draft Updated: February 28, 2011 - 11:10 AM

The NFL Scouting Combine is still taking place in Indianapolis, but the media portion concluded on Sunday. Judd has returned from Indy and we'll have an Access Vikings video recap on Startribune.com later today focusing on the events from this past weekend.

There is a lot to mull over from the combine, particularly with the quarterback situation, but the Sidney Rice news from Sunday night also adds some uncertainty to the Vikings offseason thinking.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus told ESPN that Rice will test the free agent waters first before deciding where to sign. The Vikings have offered Rice a multi-year deal. This is not surprising because it makes sense that Rice would want to see what his market is before making a decision.

The key question of course is whether Rice will be a restricted or unrestricted free agent when a new collective bargaining agreement gets done. He has four accrued seasons but it's unknown at this point whether that will make him restricted or unrestricted in the new deal.

If a new CBA does not get done before the draft, the Vikings face a dilemma: There's a good chance Rice would sign elsewhere as an unrestricted FA. Does that force them then to take a wide receiver in the early rounds just in case?

Wide receiver obviously would become a higher priority if Rice does not resign. But with the labor uncertainty and the threat of a lockout looming later this week, it's hard to know what the end result will be.

Alabama's Julio Jones had a huge performance in his workout at the combine on Sunday. But would the Vikings use their 12th overall pick on a wide receiver without knowing whether Rice will return?

The quarterback question remains the biggest talker around the Vikings. Judd delved into the situation extensively throughout the weekend, and it's going to remain front and center until draft weekend.

Cam Newton was impressive in the physical testing portion but had a poor showing in passing drills. Ryan Mallett threw the ball extremely well but the rumors about drug use and leadership are concerning. Jake Locker rebounded from a subpar Senior Bowl with a strong showing Sunday in all facets. But is No. 12 overall too high for him?

Coach Leslie Frazier also made it clear he wants to upgrade the defensive line. It seems pretty obvious that Pat Williams will not return and Ray Edwards likely will get more money elsewhere. Kevin Williams turns 31 in August.

Defensive end Brian Robison also is a free agent so it's unclear if he'll return, and does the team trust Everson Griffen  on and off the field right now?

I'm interested to see what defensive tackle Letroy Guion can do with more playing time. He showed some potential in limited snaps last season. But the Vikings could use their first-round pick on a defensive lineman.

They also need to address needs along the offensive line and also at safety.

That's a lot of questions against the backdrop of labor uncertainty and possible lockout. The combine is not over and a lot will transpire between now and draft weekend. But what are your thoughts about which direction the team should go?

 

  

 

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT