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.


Easy, folks. Here are reasons not to panic just yet about free agency

Posted by: Mark Craig under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFC, Super Bowl, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin Updated: March 13, 2012 - 6:25 PM

Closing in on the completion of the first 3 1/2 hours of free agency and, well, zzzzzzzzz.

Those of you in Purple haven't had much to smile about as receivers and cornerbacks -- the Vikings' top two needs -- have either flown off the board or have visits planned elsewhere. Meanwhile, amidst the giant splashes taking place, the Vikings have dropped two pebbles into the water: They locked up two of their own players -- agreeing to terms with a No. 2 defensive tackle (Letroy Guion) and announcing the signing of a No. 3 quarterback (Sage Rosenfels).

But let's not go crazy just yet. The Vikings never were a logical candidate to go bananas on Day 1. They have too many holes to fill and a youth movement that will take a few years to execute properly. Their big picture goes beyond three hours on Day 1 of free agency. To build lasting success, all the pieces have to fit together over years, not hours. They have to think about things like next year when the contracts for guys like Jared Allen and Percy Harvin expire.

This also is a marathon. Not a sprint. So we probably should wait to judge the Vikings at the end of the offseason and not three hours into it.

A year ago, one of the consensus "losers" through the first wave of free agency were the Giants. They were absolutely RIPPED for doing nothing but signing backup QB David Carr. And all the Giants did was win the Super Bowl while the Eagles went from free agency "Dream Team" to missing the playoffs entirely.

That's NOT to say the Vikings will do what the Giants did last year. It's just meant to point out that today's hoopla and pats on the back often don't translate into success in the fall.

Here are some other reasons to take a breath, unclench that jaw and firing off angry emails and tweets about the Vikings being so quiet on Day 1 of free agency:

  • Considering the Vikings' current state of rebuilding, do you really want to give receiver Pierre Garcon $42.5 million over five years with $21.5 million guaranteed? That's a crazy deal and could come with future cap issues.
  • Remember who signed Garcon and other receivers Eddie Royal and Josh Morgan. It's the Washington Redskins. If the league handed out trophies in April, the Redskins wouldn't know where to put all the hardware.
  •  The Vikings never were in the running for Vincent Jackson, who appears ready to sign with Tampa Bay. And, at 29, Jackson never would have been a good fit for when the Vikings are ready to compete for Super Bowls.
  • The Vikings still have the No. 3 overall draft pick. And considering the top two picks are going to be quarterbacks, the Vikings will have their choice of the league's best rookie non-quarterback.
  • Free agency goes on forever for awhile. There will be some helpful players left after this initial wave ends.

Other highlights:

  • Ryan Slaton, the agent for Vikings free agent Lorenzo Booker, said Booker and the team have left open the possibility of re-signing. That doesn't mean Booker won't test the market, but he doesn't have anything lined up yet.
  • The smartest free agent of the day is Marques Colston, the Saints receiver who re-signed with New Orleans. He's sharp enough to know you don't leave Drew Brees and that offense.
  • Minnesota native John Carlson, 27, is one of the top tight ends, if not the top one, on the market. A Seahawk his entire career, it looks like Carlson might end up with Kansas City. He's going to visit the Chiefs. Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki is coming off a torn ACL.
  • Harold Lewis, the agent for Cowboys free agent receiver Laurent Robinson, confirmed a trip to Jacksonville for tonight. Robinson is among the remaining second-tier receivers who might be a good fit for the Vikings.
  • 84
  • Comments

  • Results per page:

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT