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.
It’s been 16 days now since free agency opened across the NFL. Here’s your comprehensive report on how the Vikings have operated in the market over the past two-and-a-half weeks.
It's not the splash that Vikings fans were hoping for, but Day 2 of free agency will bring possibly the best young tight end available to Winter Park for a visit. The news was first reported by TheSidelineView.com.
John Carlson, a Litchfield, Mn. native who has played his four NFL seasons in Seattle, would make an intriguing tight end combination if he chooses to return to his home state. A second-round pick of the Seahawks in 2008, Carlson, 27, would team with fellow Notre Dame alum Kyle Rudolph, a second-round pick of the Vikings in 2011.
As Vikings fans know, the Vikings love multiple tight-end sets. Carlson would replace Visanthe Shiancoe, who turns 32 in June. Shiancoe is a free agent and won't return because he's on the wrong side of the over-30 purge taking place at Winter Park.
Carlson, like Rudolph, is considered a pass-catching tight end. Carlson had 55 catches and five touchdowns as a rookie in 2008. He had 55 catches and seven TDs a year later. He then had 31 catches and one touchdown in 2010 before a shoulder injury caused him to miss the 2011 season.
In other free agent news, former Vikings right guard Anthony Herrera will visit the Bears. This is a no-brainer visit. Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice basically discovered Herrera in 2004. Tice was the Vikings' head coach when Herrera was signed as an undrafted free agent out of Tennessee.
Herrera's NFL success has been fueled ever since by the snub he felt on that draft day eight years ago. Although Herrera doesn't mesh with the youth movement at Winter Park, he could definitely help a Bears line that has struggled, to say the least.
Looking for a quick guide to NFL free agency, which opens this afternoon at 3 p.m.? We've got you covered. Already, our analysis at the Star Tribune has brought you the following.
Finally, just to prime the pump even more, we're happy to direct you to the list of the top free agents at each position delivered by NFL.com senior writer Steve Wyche. And then there's this "Hot 100" list provided by Evan Silva of ProFootballTalk.com.
Yep. It's time. Let the free agency frenzy begin.
Rick Spielman? As Michael Corleone? Take a look and we’ll explain.
The Vikings have signed offensive lineman Pat Brown to a one-year contract extension. Brown was set to become an exclusive rights free agent next month. But that designation basically means that, due to Brown's two-year tenure in the NFL, the Vikings would have been the only team in the league able to sign him for 2012. Which they have now done.
Brown saw limited action last season, playing mostly on special teams. He was originally undrafted out of Central Florida in 2009.
The Vikings now have 17 players due to become free agents when the market opens on the afternoon of March 13. The most notable players on that list are linebackers E.J. Henderson and Erin Henderson, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, safeties Husain Abdullah and Tyrell Johnson and receiver Devin Aromashodu.
Running back Lorenzo Booker and linebacker Kenny Onatulu are both set to become restricted free agents, which will give the Vikings an opportunity to match offers that come from other teams.
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