While the Vikings must determine this offseason what to do with expensive veterans like Chad Greenway, Greg Jennings and that Adrian Peterson fella, the organization won’t have to brace for any significant departures in free agency.
Of the players who made it onto the active roster this season, the Vikings will have only 10 free agents. Fullback Jerome Felton will make it 11 if he opts out of his contract in February. He is just one of two Week 1 starters who could reach unrestricted free agency, though several other key reserves who were forced to step into starting spots could become free agents as well.
In the coming weeks, we will dive into the likelihood of whether these pending free agents will be back in 2015. But for now, here’s a list of the Vikings’ free agents with a quick blurb on each.
RB Matt Asiata: A rare restricted free agent, Asiata shared the backfield with rookie Jerick McKinnon after Peterson was lost. The coaching staff likes him, so he should be tendered.
OL Joe Berger: I can count on one hand how many times I wrote Berger’s name in training camp, but the backup lineman showed his value by starting nine games after injuries at guard.
MLB Jasper Brinkley: Brinkley came back to the Vikings in 2014 on a cheap one-year deal. The Vikings need to find a three-down middle linebacker to start, but Brinkley could still have a role here.
OL Vlad Ducasse: Ducasse, a backup guard, ended up starting six games but struggled. The Vikings have to hope rookie guard David Yankey will be ready to step up into a larger role instead.
FB Jerome Felton: Felton is not a free agent yet. He technically still has a year on his contract. But with the team expected to cut him and go with Zach Line, he says he plans to opt out first.
OL Mike Harris: Yet another backup lineman forced to start, Harris held his own taking over for right tackle Phil Loadholt. Did the restricted free agent show enough to return as the swing tackle?
DT Tom Johnson: This journeyman thrived in a reserve role under head coach Mike Zimmer, recording a career-high 6.5 sacks. He is reportedly interested in a multi-year deal as a free agent.
OLB Josh Kaddu: Kaddu made his Vikings debut Sunday after being promoted from the P-squad.
LS Cullen Loeffler: His low snap cost the Vikings in their Week 16 loss to the Dolphins, but Loeffler has been one of the league’s steadiest snappers throughout his 11 seasons with the Vikings.
QB Christian Ponder: I’m guessing you are well aware of Ponder’s history. His time in Minnesota is up. Will another NFL team sign the 2011 first-rounder as a reclamation project? Count on it.
DE Corey Wootton: The Vikings signed Wootton for 2014 hoping he would provide pass-rush ability off the bench. He did not, though his celebration after his lone sack was tremendous.
*** LB Dom DeCicco and OG Josh Samuda were placed on injured reserve before the season, but both will be free agents, too. So will all of the players who finished the season on the practice squad, but the Vikings will likely sign many, if not all of them, to futures contracts in the coming days.
*** Note that I incorrectly stated earlier that S Ahmad Dixon and DE Justin Trattou are free agents. They actually signed through 2015. My apologies for the misinformation.