It’s about time that we are able to talk some NFL. With the lockout finally over and an intense free agency period soon to come I wanted to outline what I think the Vikings priorities should be before the season starts.
1) Get a veteran QB:
Christian Ponder is the QB of the future in Minnesota since they used the first round draft pick on him, but asking a rookie QB to take control of the offense, especially with the lack of preparation due to the lockout, is unreasonable and not in the best interest of the team winning this season (No, I don’t believe that the Vikings are in a “rebuilding” mode since they still have a roster to win now). The most likely options are either Donovan McNabb or Kyle Orton. While Orton statistically had a much better season I believe that he was more a product of a pass heavy offense which saw him pad his stats since the Broncos were often trailing in games and needed to pass more. McNabb will have playmakers like Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, Visanthe Shiancoe, and hopefully Sidney Rice at his disposal in Minnesota which is a great improvement than what he had in Washington. The Redskins have made it clear that John Beck is their QB and McNabb would be a smart short term move that would improve the Vikings this season.
2) Re-sign Sidney Rice:
This will depend largely on what type of offers other teams are willing to give an injury prone but talented receiver. Rice had his breakout year in 2009 with 1312 yards and 8 TDs with #4 as his QB. He remains a very good red zone target but injury concerns should scare teams from giving him a long term deal. Hopefully the Vikings can come up with a fair offer that is also very incentive laden in nature, but I would say it is 50-50 on whether or not Rice will be in a Vikings uniform this season. If not then the Vikings will have to find another receiver to replace him.
3) Release or re-structure Bernard Berrian’s contract
The Vikings are going to be $5.1 million over the new salary cap and will be making some financial maneuvers to get under. Berrian has a cap number of $6.3 million and did not have a TD last season so unless he is willing to take a large pay cut I don’t see how the Vikings can keep him.
4) Re-structure All Day’s contract
Adrian Peterson is the face of the franchise and as he enters the last year of his contract it is essential that they hammer out a long term deal. Also, his cap number of $12.8 million for 2011 gives the Vikings even more incentive to re-structure his contract so they have more cap relief this season and can backload some of his contract.
5) Re-sign Pat Williams
Although this unfortunately seems like the year that the Williams Wall will be suspended for 4 games, Pat Williams remains a great run defender and someone the Vikings should sign for this next season. Their run defense has always been a strength and even if Williams only plays on running downs he is very valuable to the defense.
6) Re-structure Chad Greenway’s contract
Greenway has been the Vikings leading tackler for the past three seasons and before the lockout they placed the franchise tag on him, making his cap hit $10 million for this season. Similar to Peterson, the Vikings want to sign him long term anyways, and their cap concerns make the need for restructuring his contract even more logical.
I have faith that Zygi Wilf will do what is best for the Vikings as he has shown his willingness to spend money and make the necessary moves to put the best product on the field. This free agency frenzy will be very interesting to follow and I look forward to seeing the Vikings make moves to improve their team in 2011 and beyond.
About the Author
Written by Jonathan Fawkes
I was born and raised in Brooklyn but I'm a diehard Minnesota sports fan (Twins, T'Wolves, Vikings) because my Dad is from there. I met the best running back in football recently (Adrian "All Day" Peterson) and it was one of the highlights of my life. I look to analyze and drop knowledge about my passion which is sports. Follow me at JFawkes22 on Twitter and e-mail me at email@example.com. Thanks for reading!