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It took a while for the Minnesota Vikings to start signing their 2012 NFL Draft class, but they inked a majority of their picks to four-year deals at the end of May. Details of the four-year contract their second first round pick SS Harrison Smith received have emerged, courtesy of 1500ESPN:
The four-year contract rookie safety Harrison Smith signed with the Minnesota Vikings last week included a $3,631,672 signing bonus and $5,775,109 in guarantees, an NFL source said on Tuesday.
The 29th overall pick in April's draft out of Notre Dame, Smith received fully guaranteed base salaries of $390,000 in 2012, $714,479 in 2013 and $1,038,958 in 2014.
The only non-guaranteed portion of the deal is a $1,363,437 base salary in 2015, for a total value of $7,138,546.
The Vikings still have yet to sign their first overall pick, LT Matt Kalil.
The Minnesota Vikings took quite awhile to get to the signing of their 2012 NFL Draft class. On May 22nd, they signed their first picks - but they did it in a big way by getting six players inked to four-year deals. They followed that up by announcing the signing of fourth-round pick Rhett Ellison the next day, making it seven of 10 picks signed.
Now they've signed one of their two first-rounders. According to the Pioneer Press, the Vikings have agreed to terms on a four-year deal with safety Harrison Smith. The Vikings traded up into the first round to draft Smith, who likely would not have hung around for much longer as one of the better safety prospects in the draft.
This means the Vikings have signed eight of their 10 draft picks, leaving Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson and first-round pick Matt Kalil, the offensive tackle out of USC. Robinson was a third-round pick, while Kalil was the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, after the Vikings moved down one spot in a trade with the Cleveland Browns.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings signed fourth-round selection Rhett Ellison to a four-year contract. Ellison is now the seventh member of the team's 2012 draft class to come to terms with the club, leaving just three players left to sign. Ellison was one of three players selected in the fourth-round of last month's draft, all of which are now under contract with the club.
Ellison split time at fullback and tight end while attending USC, which is what many project he will have to do with the Vikings.
With Ellison under contract, the Vikings' attention will now turn to their top three picks. Deals have not yet been worked out for USC tackle Matt Kalil, Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith, and Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson.
The Minnesota Vikings made an effort to solidify their offensive line position on Friday afternoon, signing former Chicago Bears practice squad player Levi Horn to an undisclosed contract.
Horn, who played tight end in high school, was waived by the Bears earlier in the week despite never actually appearing in an NFL game. The 6-foot-7, 315 pound tackle originally signed to play college ball at Oregon, but struggled to find consistent playing time and eventually transferred to Montana.
He caught on with the Bears as an undrafted rookie in 2010, and was a strong presence in the organization's practice squad for essentially the last two years. Horn will hope to provide much-needed depth behind starters Phil Loadholt and rookie Matt Kalil at the tackle positions, and will benefit from blocking for arguably the most talented tailback in professional football in Adrian Peterson.
Let's hope he didn't unpack his bags.
The Vikes picked up Murphy from the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday, one day after he was waived.
Murphy was ranked as the No. 27 offensive tackle by NFLDraftScout.com.
It's been a busy week for the Vikings. They released wide receiver Kris Adams and signed Tyler Holmes, and then released Arkansas offensive tackle Jose Valdez in order to make room for Murphy. Minnesota also signed defensive end Nick Reed, who was first drafted in 2009, and released defensive end Kevin Cyrille.
For more on Vikings free agency, check out this story stream. For more on the Minnesota Vikings, go to Daily Norseman. You can also get all of your professional football news over at SB Nation's NFL hub.
The offseason has been full of new faces for the Minnesota Vikings from the draft and free agency, and the Vikings continued to add bodies to the group on Tuesday when they picked up two more players.
They first signed former Harvard OT Kevin Murphy, releasing former Arkansas OT Jose Valdez in order to get room on the roster for him. Murphy was NFLdraftscout.com's 27th overall ranked tackle in the 2012 NFL Draft class and had originally been signed by the San Francisco 49ers before they waived him back on May 14.
The Vikings also signed Nick Reed, a defensive end who was originally drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft but was out of the league by 2010. He was with the Vikings back in their rookie camp and before that had been with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Since the team is at the 90 man roster limit, they had to release DE Kevin Cyrille in order to make room on the roster for Reed.
The Minnesota Vikings have made a roster move, though it's a decidedly inconsequential move, in the grand scheme of things. Aaron Wilson reported on Twitter that the Vikings have released wide receiver Kris Adams. Adams has yet to play a game in the National Football League, and originally signed with the Vikings in December of 2011.
Adams played college ball at the UTEP, and had more than 30 touchdowns with the school. He was among the NCAA leaders in regards to yards per catch, and was a highly sought-after undrafted free agent following the 2011 NFL Draft, but now he's failed to catch on with three teams.
He previously spent time with the Chicago Bears and the St. Louis Rams. According to the Pioneer Press, the Vikings released Adams so he has time to catch on with another team. He was set to receive a futures contract from the team. According to the piece, the Vikings also signed guard Tyler Holmes. He was a Conference USA honorable mention for the Golden Hurricanes in 2011.
Jerome Simpson is trending on Twitter right now, and there's definitely good reason for it.
Earlier on Tuesday it was announced that he was suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season due to violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Luckily for Simpson, it didn't hurt his free agency status for long, because the Minnesota Vikings have just signed him to a one-year deal. According to Fox's Jay Glazer:
Vikings have agreed to terms on a one year deal with WR Jerome Simpson. Even tho he's suspended to start the season he's got a lot of talent— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) April 24, 2012
Glazer's instant analysis of the deal is pretty spot on. The signing obviously comes with a fair amount of trepidation--Simpson is undoubtedly a talented player but he's had difficulty staying out of trouble. If he can stay on the field after his suspension is up and contribute, he's exactly the type of player that the Vikings need--a wide receiver that can stretch the field and make big plays. (Exhibit A: his ridiculous front flip into the end zone last year.)
The move is most likely a calculated risk on the part of the Vikings--it's probably no coincidence that the signing was announced on the heels of the suspension. One would think that the terms of the contract were based on the amount of time that Simpson would miss at the beginning of the season.
Bengals free-agent WR Jerome Simpson is being suspended three games under the substance abuse policy, per NFL source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 24, 2012
In September 2011, police intercepted a package containing 2.5 pounds of marijuana that was shipped to Simpson's home. It was later revealed that the package was not addressed to Simpson -- but that was after police found six pounds of marijuana upon entering his home.
Earlier this month, Simpson was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years' probation after striking a plea agreement.
Last season Simpson had 725 yards receiving and four touchdowns, including the now-famous flip. The St. Louis Rams are also reportedly interested in Simpson.
In what has been a very, very quiet free agency period so far for the the Minnesota Vikings it has been a breath of fresh air to hear about the team looking at talented WR Jerome Simpson. Even if they don't end up signing him, it's an intruding look at a troubled guy that the Vikings are looking to perhaps sign from the Cincinnati Bengals.
With discipline problems and a couple of criminal elements in Simpson's past, it looks like one of the big things that could determine his status being signed will be the NFL's indefinite timetable for putting disciplinary action on him. The situation is currently, and has been for a while, under review by the NFL. If they hand out anything to Simpson for his marijuana trafficking charge, it could change some teams ideas on signing him.
It looks like there are plenty of nice things being said about Simpson by those he has worked with, though.
But as general manager Rick Spielman and his staff have done their due diligence in researching Simpson’s background and character in recent weeks, they have heard glowing reviews from those around the receiver.
Marvin Lewis, Simpson’s head coach with the Bengals, wrote a letter to the sentencing judge on the receiver’s behalf earlier this spring. Others have spoke in glowing terms of Simpson’s laidback and caring nature and the abundance of charitable work he has been involved with during his NFL career.
If the problems that Simpson has gotten into the past few years are merely blips on the radar of a good guy and good football player, the Vikings could certainly do worse than picking the young talent up.
The Minnesota Vikings are desperate to add a vertical threat at the receiver position in free agency this spring, and the team has already set its sights squarely on former Cincinnati Bengal Jerome Simpson as a possible option.
Simpson visited the Vikings' facilities over the weekend, but according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, did not leave the city with an offer on the table. Before the Vikings go all-in, it seems, the team will apparently reach out to a number of sources to inquire about Simpson's background and upcoming legal situation with the NFL.
The 6-foot-2, 26-year-old speedster plead guilty to receiving two pounds of marijuana that was shipped to his Kentucky home back in September, and has been viewed as a significant red flag to scouts since the news broke. On April 5th, he was sentenced to 15 days in jail and three years of probation for his involvement, further worrying NFL decision-makers.
An elite athlete known prominently for his insane front flip touchdown last season, Simpson has drawn interest from a number of teams as he makes the rounds as a free agent. Minnesota's refusal to jump right in with both feet is probably a smart move, but it's clear the team might not have been totally enamored with Simpson after seeking out more information directly after his visit. Stay tuned with SB Nation Minnesota's StoryStream for more Vikings free agency coverage.
With the NFL Draft less than a week away, it seems as though the Minnesota Vikings may be interested in bolstering their roster prior to stepping up to the podium with the third overall pick. On Friday afternoon, Dan Wiederer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the team may be interested in signing troubled free agent wide receiver, Jerome Simpson who will be visiting the team this weekend.
Simpson spent last season with the Cincinnati Bengals and recorded 50 catches for 725 and four touchdowns in 2011. However, Simpson is probably best known for his highlight reel catch against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve.
Unfortunately, trouble also comes packaged with the talented receiver. Back In September he was tied to a package that was being sent to his house that contained 2.5 pounds of Marijuana. Upon investigating his property, authorities found six more pounds of the substance and believe that Simpson's home was a distribution spot.
In April, he pled guilty to a drug trafficking charge and received 15 days in jail in addition to three years of probation. He will be able to play this season and could potentially do it with the Vikings.
The Minnesota Vikings announced the signing of free agent linebacker Marvin Mitchell on Tuesday.
The Tyrell Johnson era has come to an end in Minnesota. ESPN 1500's Judd Zulgad passed along the following information via Twitter:
"Did not work out as the Vikings hoped" is sort of an understatement. Most Vikings fans won't mourn the loss of Johnson too much. After being drafted out of Arkansas State in the 2nd round of the 2008 draft (43rd overall), Johnson's tenure was average at it best and gravely disappointing at its worst. He played in 49 games during his four-year career with Minnesota, starting 27 contests. He has recorded a meager two interceptions so far in his NFL career, and zero since the 2009 season.
Johnson was supposed to be the perfect blend of size, speed, and smarts when he came out of college, but it never materialized on the field with the Vikings. He has been banged up fairly often throughout his career and missed the final five games of the 2011 season due to injury. Letting Johnson go further signifies the major overhaul that the Vikings are performing on their beleaguered secondary this offseason.
Carr, 28, has played for the Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans and most recently the Baltimore Ravens. Last season, he played in nine games and started one game. He recorded 19 tackles to go along with three pass deflections.
Carr had his best season in 2010, starting all 16 games for the Ravens. He made 61 tackles, deflected eight passes, forced three fumbles and intercepted two passes.
The Vikings have been trying to improve their weak secondary this offseason, signing former Chicago Bears cornerback Zack Bowman on Monday to a one-year deal. Carr recently visited the Minnesota Vikings practice facility before signing.
If you are unfamiliar with the career of Walters, the Pioneer Press described it thus:
With three career catches for 27 yards, Walters will have much to prove in training camp to make the roster.
The former Cornell standout went undrafted in 2010 and signed with the Chargers, who released him because of a hamstring injury, re-signed him to the practice squad, dressed him for four games in 2011 and released him again last month.
Incidentally, two of Walters' three catches came in the Vikings' season-opening loss to San Diego.
While Harvin and Jenkins are solid, the rest of the crew has yet to prove themselves. Aromashodu had 26 receptions last season, while Arceneaux has one career catch, Burton two career catches, Adam and Taylor zero.
Employing a draft strategy that focuses on a "wait and see" approach isn't a very popular for the fans, but it's a direction that teams often go. For the Minnesota Vikings, they've had a very quiet free agency period, but have brought in a few guys who will likely end up being solid contributors in John Carlson and Zack Bowman. They've also made some key re-signings, like bringing back Erin Henderson.
That being said, the Vikings could have afforded to be a little bit more aggressive if they felt as though they needed to. Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network took a look at all of the cap room for each team in the NFL, and the Vikings definitely have some to spare:
Current contracts: 51
Previous year carryover: $1,912,200.00
Adjusted cap: $122,735,044.00
Team cap: $108,160,594.00
Cap room: $14,574,450.00
Team cash: $93,778,562.00
It's somewhat odd to see that Minnesota has 51 contracts - more than most teams with less room, but are among the highest in teams with free space. They're not paying many players big dollars, and really, there's $14 million sitting there, unused. Around five million of that will go signing the 2012 draft class, but what then? It's not to be critical of the Vikings, but they're certainly in good shape if there's some new deals they want to get done.
The Minnesota Vikings have had an overall quiet free agency period, but they've been quietly making a few signings. ESPN Chicago's twitter account reported on Monday that the Vikings made another one, picking up cornerback Zack Bowman on a one year deal.
The former Chicago Bears CB out of Nebraska wasn't getting very much playing time in his last couple of seasons in the Windy City. Last season he played in every game but only got one start, as such his stat line was a meh-worthy 15 tackles. His last big season playing time-wise was 2009, when he started 12 games and got six interceptions and a forced fumble alongside 66 tackles in his sophomore year in the NFL.
In the somewhat weak Vikings secondary, Bowman is likely to receive a lot more playing time than he had the past couple years.
Aromashodu will likely return as the team's No. 3 or 4 receiver, depending on what happens in free agency. The Vikings have Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins and presumably will select a receiver in the first three rounds of April's draft.
Aromashodu was fourth on the team in receptions last season with 26 but second in receiving yards with 468 yards and 18.0 yards per catch average. At 6'2" and 200 pounds, Aromashodu combines with Michael Jenkins to give the Vikings a physical presence at receiver to compliment the dynamic play-making ability of Percy Harvin.
Minnesota will also look to the NFL draft to add to their wide receiver depth.
Our own Sid Hartman called minutes ago to report the transaction. The contract is worth $2 million. Henderson started last season alongside his brother, middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, and Chad Greenway.
Henderson, 25, has played all four of his NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings. In his first season as a starter last year, Henderson recorded 70 tackles, 1.5 sacks and forced two fumbles. He started 11 games and played in 15 games last season.
In his four years with the Vikings, Henderson has 96 tackles, three forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks. He is 6-foot-3, 244 pounds and played his college ball at Maryland.
The Minnesota Vikings may have a respectable cornerback position in 2012, but that heavily depends on whether or not they'll bring the recently acquitted Chris Cook back. If not, they're definitely hurting for some help, and even if they do, things are less than guaranteed. So they've been looking for a little outside help here and there this free agency period.
Perhaps Chris Carr qualifies as some outside help, as Jason La Canfora tweets that he's visiting with the Vikings after his visit with the Kansas City Chiefs. Carr is a seven-year pro, but hasn't seen significant action as a starter, outside of his 2010 season with the Baltimore Ravens. In that season, he started and played in all 16 games, had 61 tackles and had two picks. On top of that, he had three forced fumbles.
But he quickly fell down the depth chart in 2011, starting just one game and appearing in nine. The Ravens released him at the beginning of March. He's also spent time on the Tennessee Titans and the Oakland Raiders, who drafted him in 2005. Aside from the 2010 season, he's never started more than four games in a single season. But he could be a player who is looking for a change of scenery and another opportunity to prove himself.
Schwartz made the news public himself with a Wednesday tweet that read,
Excited to be a Minnesota #Viking!!!— Geoff Schwartz (@GeoffSchwartz74) March 21, 2012
The Carolina Panthers made Schwartz a seventh-round in 2008. The Oregon product debuted in 2009 and started a total of 19 games in 2009 and 2010. He was a full-time starter in 2010 but missed all of last season with a hip injury.
The Panthers didn't offer him a restricted free-agent tenure. As 1500ESPN reports, Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson coached Schwartz in Carolina.
The Vikings were in need of offensive line help after releasing Anthony Herrera on March 10. More help could be on the way if Minnesota, as is tentatively expected, draft USC's Matt Kalil third overall.
The Minnesota Vikings were looking for some fullback help and, thus, had free agent Jerome Felton in town on Tuesday. Felton must have liked what he saw because he has reportedly already agreed to a deal on the same day:
The Vikings announced they had signed the 25-year-old Felton, who was a free agent.
Specifics of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
The Detroit Lions selected Felton in the fifth round of the 2008 draft out of Furman and he appeared in 42 games over three seasons before being waived last summer when the team opted to go with more tightends. Felton was picked up off waivers by the Panthers, but they cut him on November 25. He spent the rest of the season with the Indianapolis Colts.
The Minnesota Vikings are looking for some help on special teams, or more accurately, may be looking for some help for Percy Harvin. That's because Harvin does just about everything on the Vikings, from returns to playing receiver, to rushing the ball, and lightening the load can only help his effectiveness in the long run. How will they lighten the load? By bringing in another player who can do a lot, though they're likely only interested in one area in particular.
According to the Pioneer Press, the Vikings are set to bring in wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. for a visit on Tuesday. Ginn is an explosive kick returner and one of the league's best and most consistent punt returners, but his production as a wide receiver leaves a lot to be desired. While the Pioneer Press piece states that Ginn was not a primary option for the 49ers offense last season, he actually was in many ways, given the injuries and lacking production of Braylon Edwards.
But Ginn has come a long way from the guy who couldn't catch a ball to save his life that played with the Miami Dolphins after they made him a first-round pick. Ginn's hands have improved leaps and bounds, and he's just as fast as ever. His biggest problem is that he's still a poor route runner, and is not very good at tracking the ball.
He's got value to stretch the field, but is not a reliable target for Christian Ponder. So it's very likely that the Vikings want to take a look at Ginn as a returner, so Harvin can focus more on being a multi-tool for Ponder and the offense. Ginn has also visited with the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams.
Last season Abdullah played nine games, tallying 49 tackles, one sack and one interception.
Abdullah has battled concussions for years, a fact that may have prevented the Vikings from signing him during this last season:
The Vikings discussed an extension during the season, but nothing materialized. Abdullah's concussion history -- two in the past four years, prompting a five-game stint on injured reserve last season -- gave the Vikings pause, but a concussion specialist out of Pittsburgh recently cleared Abdullah, 26, to continue his career.
Abdullah has played his entire four-year career in Minnesota. The Vikings picked him up as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and the Washington State product proceeded to play in 16 games as a rookie. He had a career-high 75 tackles in 2010.
The Minnesota Vikings are on the lookout for smaller pieces to supplement their offense. While they've brought in John Carlson and have been repeatedly linked to various offensive linemen in the NFL Draft, it all seems to be about helping Christian Ponder. Now, they're looking into bringing in someone who could help the running game, and possibly protect Ponder a bit, as well.
ESPN is reporting that the Vikings are going to bring fullback Jerome Felton in for a visit. The team is apparently a fan of his, having submitted a waiver claim for him in September of 2011, but didn't have priority over the Carolina Panthers. Felton has played for the Detroit Lions, and was drafted by them in 2008. He played three seasons with them, before joining the Panthers - who eventually cut him in November, at which point Felton joined the Colts.
Now he's an unrestricted free agent, and scheduled to visit the Vikings on Tuesday. Minnesota is looking for an upgrade at the position, without a real true fullback on the roster. Jimmy Kleinsasser made it easier to go without one, but he's since retired and Felton could be an interesting pickup.
He hasn't necessarily been cut due to lacking play, he's just been expendable as a fullback from teams who don't really run a system that requires a lead blocker like him. Still young at 25 years-old, he could be come a productive member of a rushing attack that needs to be strong to supplement Ponder.
The Minnesota Vikings haven't made a lot of moves thus far in NFL free agency as the team is methodically advancing through the period, making John Carlson their biggest signing thus far. That could change this week, however, as they have a couple of visits scheduled and should have a better idea of the market.
The biggest thing that will need to be done is signing Erin Henderson -- something our Christopher Gates talked about in his most recent column -- but the Pioneer Press posted a solid roundup of other things that might happen in Minnesota this week.
The entire report is worth a look, but here's a quick breakdown: the Vikings want to re-sign Devin Aromashodu; O.J. Atogwe is not visiting the Vikings; the team is researching whether to pursue Ted Ginn Jr.; they will not pursue Alan Ball of the Dallas Cowboys; Rex Hadnot could be a possibility on the offensive line; and Geoff Schwartz' meeting with Minnesota on Monday isn't going to determine anything, as he still has a couple of visits left.
Hilliard, who lists at 5-foot-11 and 240 pounds, will add much needed depth to a position that has been debilitated by injuries in recent years. Despite only carrying the ball 16 times last season with Miami, Hilliard is expected to fight for time as a lead blocker and goal-line back.
A sixth-round draft pick in 2008, Hilliard played college ball in his home state of Montana for the Montana Grizzlies, where he accumulated 4,106 rushing yards and 50 touchdowns.
Seeing as how the Vikings shelled out $25 million to tight end John Carlson last week, it's clear this organization is actively trying improve on the offensive side of the ball. Hilliard represents a small piece of the puzzle, but an important one nonetheless.
The Minnesota Vikings appear to be in danger of losing one of their best young players to NFL free agency in linebacker Erin Henderson. Nobody is quite sure of the reason why, either.
The Minnesota Vikings are currently figuring out how to approach the free agent market and weigh the available players against the players they want to bring back from the 2011 season. That's not including the moves they'll be looking to make in the 2012 NFL Draft. One of the players they have not yet locked up for next season is starting weakside linebacker Erin Henderson.
Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports that Henderson took to Twitter on Friday to vent about his current status with the Vikes.
"In a nutshell...market value and franchise value aren't always going to match," Henderson wrote. "If someone can play 3 positions ... their value has to go up.
"I've watched every single 1 of my games from last (year) 10 (times) over. I know what I'm worth. Not to mention they (have not) even give me an offer. I don't come to (your) job and tell (you) what you (should and shouldn't) make. So how can (you) say what I'm worth?"
It remains to be seen whether the two sides will be able to come to an agreement, or if Henderson will be wearing different colors when the 2012 season kicks off.
The NFL is in the thick of the free agent season, with deals and meeting flying fast and furious ever since free agency opened on Tuesday. The Minnesota Vikings have been relatively quiet in their dealings thus far as they work on shoring up the team they will field in the fall of 2012. On Friday, the team made an interesting acquisition.
According to Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, the Vikings have signed defensive back Nick Taylor to a three-year contract. If you've never heard of Nick Taylor, that's understandable. Taylor is a former point guard at Florida International University, but impressed at FIU's pro day on Wednesday. He played on an arena league football team in 2011.
The move is certain to raise some eyebrows, but it will be exciting nevertheless to see how this unproven commodity works out for the Vikes.
Minnesota parted ways with Griffin earlier in the year, before free agency began on March 13. He was due a $4.1 million salary this season. The Vikings opted to save the cap room by Griffin and veterans such as guard Steve Hutchinson.
Griffin started 14 games last season for the Vikings. He missed all but two the year before with a knee injury. Griffin was a second-round pick in 2006.
The Vikings are expected to be seeking cornerback help in the draft this year.
The Minnesota Vikings are likely going to look to shore up their offensive line in the draft with USC tackle Matt Kalil, and they've now started to make moves in Free Agency that may improve it as well. The Vikings will be hosting free agent right tackle/guard Geoff Schwartz on Monday.
Schwartz was a seventh round pick by the Carolina Panthers back in 2008 and missed the entire 2011 season because of a hip injury. He is back in shape now and ready to help contribute, and on the Vikings especially he would add much needed depth and versatility to the line.
He did not get a restricted FA tender from the Panthers, which means the Vikings won't have to give up anything if they want to sign Schwartz to a contract after his visit.
The Minnesota Vikings finally took a dip into the free agent pool on Wednesday afternoon, signing former Seattle Seahawks' tight end John Carlson to a five-year, $25 million contract, $11 million of which is guaranteed money. Carlson, who was born in St. Cloud and grew up in Litchfield, was the Seahawks' second-round selection (38th overall) in the 2008 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame.
He missed the 2011 season with a torn labrum that he suffered in the pre-season, but in his first three seasons in Seattle he caught 137 passes for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns, including back-to-back 50+ catch seasons in his first two seasons in the Pacific Northwest.
While everyone understands that the Vikings need to add more weapons on offense, many. . .including yours truly. . .probably thought that the team would attempt to go after a wide receiver. That's a path they still might take, but Carlson isn't as crazy a signing as it would appear at first blush. In fact, it makes a lot of sense, given the offense that Minnesota offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave appears to want to run.
The Minnesota Vikings run a lot of two-tight end formations, and because of the lack of a deep threat on the outside, the Vikings are apparently going to attempt to copy the New England Patriots' model of building a passing attack around two big, mobile tight ends. Now, Carlson and Kyle Rudolph, last year's second-round pick by Minnesota, aren't in the class of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez at this point ... but if Christian Ponder can get a little bit of protection and a full off-season of work with the offense, they can certainly make strides in that direction.
There certainly won't be a lot of defenders that will be able to match up with that duo physically: Carlson stands 6-foot-5 and weighs about 250 pounds with Rudolph being an inch taller and ten pounds heavier. They both have pretty decent speed and agility for men their size, and both of them have shown very nice hands. With Rudolph and Carlson in the middle of the field and Percy Harvin lining up all over the place and being allowed to make things happen in the open field -- kind of a Wes Welker kind of role --the Vikings are at least going to attempt to find offensive success by emulating the Patriots.
Because, hey, if you're going to steal, you could just as well steal from the best, am I right? The Vikings will, undoubtedly, still be looking for weapons to surround Ponder with on offense, but the signing of John Carlson appears to be a pretty solid start.
The Minnesota Vikings were looking for a reliable target for developing quarterback Christian Ponder, and though they weren't able to (or perhaps didn't try to) snag one of the big name receivers out there, they did reach an agreement with former Seattle Seahawks tight end John Carlson. Now there's some more details regarding the terms of said agreement, per ESPN's Adam Schefter via Twitter.
Schefter reports that the Vikings are giving Carlson a five-year contract worth $25 million, which is a sizable amount, but not far off from where most figured Carlson would be. What hurt him the most was the fact that he missed the entire 2011 season with a knee injury, which definitely hurt the Seahawks in the end. Seattle was expecting to have a great duo of reliable tight ends with Zach Miller coming in.
There's no word on the guaranteed dollars or what the incentives are looking like for Carlson, but even if it was a straight-up $5 million per-year, it wouldn't be far off from his value. It all depends on whether or not the Vikings think he's truly healthy and will come back at full strength. If he does, then he should help out Christian Ponder immensely.
The Minnesota Vikings didn't have a great 2011, but are hoping development of quarterback Christian Ponder will vastly improve the team's chances in 2012. As such, they've spent the majority of the 2012 free agency period on the sidelines, re-signing some guys and generally not being in on some of the bigger names. That isn't to say they aren't looking to improve.
Bill Williamson of ESPN is reporting that tight end John Carlson has decided to sign with the Minnesota Vikings. Carlson has played his career with the Seattle Seahawks and is only on his way out because they've got Zach Miller as the starter. Carlson wants more playing time, and is looking for a fresh start after a knee injury cut short his 2011 season. Carlson was reportedly close to getting something done with the Kansas City Chiefs before this news came out.
Carlson provides a reliable target who does just about everything well. Ponder lacks a real consistent target with good hands, and getting a tight end like Carlson is likely a good move for the Vikings to help along the young quarterback's development.
Former Seattle Seahawks tight end John Carlson will visit the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday, according to a report. Carlson, formerly a 2008 second round pick and teammate of current Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph at Notre Dame, missed the 2011 season with a shoulder injury.
The tight end has career marks of 137 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns and is also scheduled to visit with the Kansas City Chiefs, whose tight end coach Bernie Parmalee coached Carlson in college.
The first day of NFL free agency brought about a flurry of activity and an abundance of money being tossed around to players including WR Vincent Jackson and WR Pierre Garcon. The Vikings remained quiet, but the visit of Carlson indicates more activity could soon be on the way.
On the first day of NFL free agency, the Minnesota Vikings rested. For a team that isn't on the verge of contention, it was definitely the smartest way to go about things.
Guion, 24, has played all three of his NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, racking up 21 tackles last season in a back up role to Kevin Williams. He played in all 16 games last season and the Vikings are enamored with his potential.
Minnesota has a grand total of 17 players from last season's team that became unrestricted free agents at 4 p.m. The biggest needs for the Vikings in free agency and the draft appear to be at the wide receiver position and throughout the secondary. Minnesota finished a disappointing 3-13 last season.
Once thought as a viable free-agent option to fulfill the Minnesota Vikings needs at corner back, Brandon Carr will not be a target of the Vikings come the 3 p.m. CT start of the NFL free-agent period, sources tell TwinCities.com.
Despite the need for a top cornerback, the Minnesota Vikings are not expected to enter the free agency bidding for Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
In late February, The Pioneer Press floated Carr's name as an free-agent option for Minnesota, which desperately needs help in the secondary.
As already mentioned, Finnegan will be an option for the Vikings as he was not given the franchise tag by the Titans. Minnesota may also be trying to save its money to spend on a high-priced wide receiver.
In a few hours the NFL free agent period will begin at 3 p.m. CT, and the Minnesota Vikings will have a lot of decision to make in the next few hours, days and months. However, the Vikings already have made a few decisions Tuesday announcing that running back Lorenzo Booker and linebacker Kenny Onatolu will not be tendered and will be available on the open market.
According to a report by TwinCities.com, the Vikings notified Booker's and Onatolu's camps of their plans. Booker is expected to search for a brand new team, while Minnesota is very interested in resigning Onatolu for more years but less money.
Booker's "release" comes as no surprise after a tough 2011-12 season that featured him carrying the ball just 13 times and fumbling three teams.
Meanwhile, in three season with Minnesota Onatolu has 33 tackles.
Free agency opens on Tuesday afternoon and, following last season's debacle, it doesn't seem like many players will be back in purple next year if they're not currently under contract.
But with plans to inject youth into the locker room, the Vikings appear more interested in subtracting their own players than keeping them.
The article goes on to say that, with nearly $25 million in salary cap space, the Vikings are in position to pursue some big-name free agents. Writer Jeremy Fowler pinpoints cornerback and receiver as two positions that the Vikings could aggressively pursue in free agency.
The Vikings might want to sign Onatolu to a more cost-effective deal, with more years at less money per year.
An exclusive rights tender is a one-year offer ranging from about $1 million to $2.7 million. The NFL free agency period begins on Tuesday. The Vikings have two restricted free agents and 15 unrestricted free agents from last season's team.
Onatolu, a linebacker in his third season with the Vikings, is highly-regarded as a special teams player. He had 20 tackes last season and played in all 16 games. Onatolu played in the Canadian Football League until 2009.
After the Vikings released a bunch of players over the weekend, it appears that they are bringing a familiar face back to Winter Park.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports is reporting that the Vikings and Sage Rosenfels have agreed on a new contract. The details of the deal weren't immediately available, according to Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press it's a two-year deal.
This is Rosenfels' second stint with the Vikings. He was acquired in 2009 via a trade with the Houston Texans. Rosenfels was expected to get a chance to compete with Tarvaris Jackson for the team's starting quarterback role. However, that all changed the moment that Brad Childress went and picked up Brett Favre from the airport. Rosenfels ended up never seeing any game action in 2009.
While Rosenfels isn't expected to challenge incumbent starter Christian Ponder for his job, he brings a solid veteran presence to the locker room. He has played for five different teams in his 11-year NFL career and knows a large variety of offensive schemes.
The Vikings still have question marks at a lot of positions this offseason, but quarterback shouldn't be one of them. Barring a surprising change or draft pick, it appears that Ponder, Rosenfels, and Joe Webb will be the team's three quarterbacks when they head to Mankato for training camp in August.
Last year after the NFL Lockout ended a lot later than most of us hoped, there was a bit of a weird glut in free agent signings by teams, even without checking out the players that they were signing to the usual level of detail that NFL teams usually do.
"This year, the fact that you can bring a guy in, talk to him, eyeball him, whereas last year, you were doing it on the phone just a few days before camp opened and you were saying, 'Hey, sign on the dotted line.' But that's a big part of it, man -- just finding the guy that's a right fit for what you do and not making those mistakes in free agency."
Case in point: Remi Ayodele, the big nose tackle who had started the previous two seasons in New Orleans. The Vikings gave him a three-year, $9 million contract that included a $3.565 million signing bonus and so far have gotten little in return.
It's not just the Minnesota Vikings who will need to be a lot more careful when scouting their free agent targets this season -- of course, they'll get a lot more time and ability to do so with no lockout looming this year -- but teams like the Vikings with smaller talent pools can't afford to miss quite as much in FA as teams like the Patriots can.
Yesterday it was reported that the Minnesota Vikings, in an effort to get younger and shed salary, released offensive lineman Anthony Herrera and Steve Hutchinson. According to the Minnesota VIkings in an official press release, they also cut the once highly touted cornerback Cedric Griffin:
With these three moves, the Vikings are now better positioned to make a splash in the upcoming free agency period, which against begins on Tuesday, March 13 at 3 p.m. CT. Could the likes of Chargers WR Vincent Jackson be in the Vikings future? How about Titans CB Courtland Finnegan? With lots of cap space and the No. 3 pick in April’s NFL Draft, things are certainly looking up for a team that hasn’t had a lot of things go its way since that fateful night in New Orleans 26 months ago.
Griffin tore his ACL in that NFC Championship game and then tore it again the next season; Hutchinson is now 34-years-old and has been battling shoulder injuries; and Herrera also suffered an ACL injury and has not been the same since. It's been downhill since the aforementioned game, but things do seem to be looking up for the Vikings, especially with a new stadium in the works.
The Minnesota Vikings will release a pair of offensive linemen, Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, according to Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press.
#Vikings to release starting OGs Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, according to person with direct knowledge of the situation.— Pioneer Press (@VikingsNow) March 10, 2012
The 34 year-old Hutchinson has been a fixture on the offensive line for the Vikings since 2006, when Minnesota craftily acquired him by implementing a "poison pill" into his contract.
Hutchinson played and started in 89 games for the Vikings in six seasons with Minnesota, highlighted by four Pro Bowl appearances and four All-Pro honors. He was also named the NFL Alumni Offensive Player of the Year in 2006 and 2009. However, it was widely assumed that the Vikings would not retain Hutchinson.
The Vikings signed an undrafted Herrera in 2004, and he went on to start 66 games over the past seven seasons.
Yesterday, we took a look at some wide receivers that the Minnesota Vikings could be looking at in free agency starting on Tuesday. One of the other areas of the roster that could use some shoring up is the defensive backfield. The Vikings could use some help at both cornerback and safety. We'll take a look at the safeties later on, but for now we'll focus on the cornerback position.
Here are five names to keep an eye on when the free agency period kicks off.
1) Brandon Carr, Kansas City Chiefs - In my opinion, Carr is the big prize in this year's free agency class at cornerback. He's a #1-caliber corner, and will get paid like it this season. He's got good size for a cornerback at 6' and 205 pounds, and would fit well in whatever type of scheme the Vikings will be playing this year under new defensive coordinator Alan Williams.
2) Cortland Finnegan, Tennessee Titans - He's one of the NFL's most hated players. . .partially because he's a pain in the tail, but he's also a very good cornerback. A feisty competitor that's become known for having a bit of a temper, he could be just the injection of attitude that the fairly passive Vikings' defense needs.
3) Richard Marshall, Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals aren't generally where you think of when talking about defensive back talent, but Marshall is a pretty solid player. He played well at corner this year for Arizona, and something that might make him even more attractive is his ability to play the safety position, which he did for the Cardinals when Kerry Rhodes went down.
4) Tracy Porter, New Orleans Saints - Porter is a name that causes Viking fans to cringe. . .he's the guy that intercepted Brett Favre's last pass of the 2009 season. . .but he would make a solid addition to the Vikings' defensive backfield. He might not be as high-profile as some of the other corners, despite his post-season heroics, but that just means he could possibly be had for a better price.
5) Carlos Rogers, San Francisco 49ers - Rogers would normally be a lot higher on this list, but his age (31) is a strike against him. Because of that, a team in rebuilding mode like Minnesota might not be quite as interested as they might normally be, but he would still be a nice get for the Vikings.
Manning was released yesterday by the Colts. Already, there are reports that 12 teams, perhaps more, have at least some interest his services, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Manning, if he is indeed healthy enough to play in 2012, is an add-water solution for turning around a team. He will be 35 this season, so it is not a long-term solution.
Minnesota has a long-term solution in Ponder, their first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Ponder took over for Donovan McNabb midway through the 2011 season. He struggled some behind a mediocre offensive line. Losing Adrian Peterson dealt him a particularly tough blow. Ponder completed 158 of 291 passes for 1,853 yards, 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
One of the glaring weaknesses of the current Minnesota Vikings' roster is a big-play receiver to take some of the heat off of Percy Harvin and assist in the development of quarterback Christian Ponder. However, the Vikings are in luck in this regard, as the free agent market at wide receiver this off-season is a pretty deep one.
Here are, in this writer's opinion, the top five wide receivers that the Minnesota Vikings should be targeting in free agency when things kick off on Tuesday afternoon.
1) Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers - The Vikings almost had a deal completed for Jackson in 2010, but the Chargers pulled out of the deal, leading to the whole Randy Moss v2.0 debacle. Jackson is a huge downfield target at 6'5" and 230 pounds, with the leaping ability to win a lot of jump ball situations. He's the top prize in this year's free agent class at the wide receiver position. . .but there's going to be a lot of competition for him, as the Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills (among others) have already been linked to Jackson.
2) Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis Colts - Garcon got the benefit of playing with Peyton Manning for a few years in Indianapolis, but actually put up his best numbers this season (70 catches, 947 yards) with Manning on the sidelines. He's not a big guy (6'0", 210 pounds), but he's got very good hands and is a good route runner. He also has the speed to stretch defenses, which is the main thing the Vikings need to be looking for.
3) Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints - Another big receiver at 6'4" and 225 pounds, Colston has a reputation for being a bit injury-prone. But he's also shown the ability to play through those injuries, and to be a very productive wide receiver. In six NFL seasons, he's had five seasons of at least 70 catches, 1,000 yards, and 7 touchdowns. That kind of production can't be denied, and is something the Vikings could use.
4) Laurent Robinson, Dallas Cowboys - After bouncing around the league a little bit, Robinson found a home in Dallas last year across from Dez Bryant. He recorded career highs in all three receiving categories in 2011, finishing the year with 54 catches, 858 receiving yards, and 11 scores. He's not that big either, measuring in at 6'2" and 195 pounds, but he still has plenty of potential.
5) Brandon Lloyd, St. Louis Rams - Splitting time between the Denver Broncos and the Rams last season, Lloyd hauled in 70 passes for 966 yards and five scores. He turns 31 in July and has already been around the National Football League for a while, but has an affinity for making incredibly athletic catches. He's been very productive the last two seasons, and though he's the smallest receiver on this list (6'0", 190 pounds), he would be a welcome addition to the Vikings as well.
The Minnesota Vikings acquired Steve Hutchinson during the 2006 NFL free agency period by implementing a "poison pill" into his contract. The Seattle Seahawks weren't happy about it then and, looking back, probably still aren't happy today.
The Vikings are a team that is looking to get younger, and Shiancoe turns 32 this August, which means that Shiancoe really doesn't fit into their plans. His play has declined in each of the past two seasons, as he has hauled in just five touchdown passes in the past two seasons after a career-high 11 scoring catches in 2009.
Shiancoe came to the Vikings prior to the 2007 season after a four-year stint with the New York Giants. He was selected by the Giants on the third round (91st overall) of the 2003 NFL Draft out of Morgan State University. Of his 243 career catches, 208 of them have come in his five seasons with Minnesota. He has also accumulated 2,424 receiving yards and 24 touchdown catches over the course of his career in purple and gold.
Shiancoe will likely catch on somewhere, as he is still a good receiving target and can be particularly effective in the red zone, but barring something miraculous happening, we've seen the last of him in a Vikings uniform.
The Minnesota Vikings need all the help they can get in the secondary this offseason. Someone that could possibly bolster one of the team's weaker areas was released by his team today.
Seattle officially released Marcus Trufant on Wednesday. He was due around $7 million in 2012, and his recent bout with injuries made it a pretty simple decision for the Seahawks. Trufant played only four games last year before being placed on the IR with a back injury.
When Trufant is healthy, he's among the top tier of secondary players. He has accumulated 21 interceptions in his nine year career and is considered one of the better tackling cornerbacks in the league.
Last year was only the second year of Trufant's career in which he played less than 15 games. If he's able to stay on the field, Trufant could be an important piece to improve a very, very ailing secondary.
Peyton Manning is not the only free agent quarterback making news on Wednesday. Sage Rosenfels got a split second of ink. The Minnesota Vikings have an interest in re-signing Rosenfels as a backup in 2012, according to Jeremy Fowler of the Pioneer Press.
Last season, the Vikings had toyed with Webb in special packages that took advantage of his versatility and athleticism. Webb was thrown into the fire after Ponder was injured. In late February, Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier said that the team would stick with Webb as a quarterback.
Free Agency for the NFL opens on March 13, and the Minnesota Vikings might need to let weak side linebacker Erin Henderson stick his toe in to see what he can get before he signs a new deal with the Vikings.
Henderson was picked up as an undrafted free agent back in 2008 by the Vikings, getting his first year of solid playing time in 2011 when he recorded 91 tackles, eight tackles for a loss and one and a half sacks on a mostly weak Vikings defense. He made only $1.2 million on a restricted tender last season and will be looking to get paid significantly more for the production that he provided.
ESPN Twin Cities reported Tuesday that the Vikings had made it clear that re-signing Henderson was very important to their offseason plans, but no deal had yet materialized as of Tuesday evening. The two sides have been working on a deal to keep Henderson in Minnesota for at least two or three more years.
Former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss worked out for the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday. According to Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, Moss exceeded expectations on the field. If Moss really is looking like his old self, he could find more than one team interested in his services in 2012.
hearing from multiple sources re Randy Moss workout today he lit it up. Was told he ran about 45 routes and "looked like the old Randy."— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 6, 2012
Another report from Pro Football Talk said that Moss was quick in and out of his breaks and showed "great football intelligence."
The 35-year old Moss announced his intention to return to the NFL earlier this year. Most still had visions of the 2010 version, the player who did little in stops with the Patriots, Vikings and Titans.
Adam Schefter reported on Tuesday morning that Moss has two other visits lined up after the Saints.
Follow all the free agent action in the NFL at SB Nation's NFL hub.
The Minnesota Vikings need to upgrade their corner back position, and a hot commodity is about to hit the free agent market, Cortland Finnegan. According to reports, the Tennessee Titans will use their franchise tag on free safety Michael Griffin and that decision will make Finnegan, a former All-Pro selection, a free agent.
The Vikings, however, will need to decided whether they'd like to upgrade at corner back or wide receiver via free agency. At the right price, Finnegan would be a solid move for Minnesota, which ranked 26 out of 32 NFL teams defending the pass.
The Minnesota Vikings must address the wide receiver position this offseason. Which NFL free agents would be the best fit?
The Minnesota Vikings are not too far away from being a contending team, with strong players in place at multiple positions. One place they'll certainly need to get better at in 2012 is the cornerback position, not surprising given the issues they've had with Chris Cook. It's definitely one of their biggest needs, alongside wide receiver and offensive tackle. They've got a high pick in the draft, so it will all be about who they can land in free agency before said draft.
With some very strong tackles at the top of the draft, it's likely Minnesota will need to take care of corner or wide receiver in free agency. The Pioneer Press floated an interesting name recently: Brandon Carr.
If the Vikings take one big swing in free agency - which I could see - then Carr would make sense. Yes, the cost is a concern, but signing Carr would allow the Vikings to focus on left tackle and receiver in the first two rounds of April's draft. Free agency and the draft are both deep at corner or wide receiver, so expect at least some activity on both fronts for the Vikings.
It's a move that does make sense, given the recent signing of Stanford Routt by the Chiefs. Carr is a big-name corner and the Vikings need to pay to get him. Their secondary was stretched thin this past season, with many players that fans had never even heard of on the field. Carr would be expensive, but he'd also fit right in and help out every other position on the defense.
The Minnesota Vikings have 18 of their own free agents to consider before they start taking a look at those from other teams. However, considering that the team went 3-13 last season and need to continue the rebuilding process, many of them will be free to seek their fame and fortune with other teams. However, they do have a couple of their own they need to seriously consider re-signing, and if they really want to work out a long-term deal with them, they might have to consider using the franchise tag.
The one player that I feel has the chance to end up with the tag is linebacker Erin Henderson. The younger Henderson, who will turn 26 just before the season starts, started at outside linebacker for the Vikings in 2011 after spending three seasons playing mostly special teams. He is apparently widely thought of around the league, as the state gurus at Pro Football Focus have ranked him as their #1 outside linebacker available in free agency this season.
The Vikings used their franchise tag on a linebacker last season when they placed it on Chad Greenway. However, because the franchise tags are computed based on a different methodology this season, it would cost the Vikings less to franchise Erin Henderson. The franchise tag for Greenway last year meant a one-year tender of $10.1 million (before a long-term deal was worked out), while the figure for Henderson would be around $8.8 million.
Other players the Vikings could potentially franchise would be tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and possibly safety Husain Abdullah, but if the team doesn't use it on Erin Henderson, I would be surprised if they used it on anybody.
One of the reasons that the Minnesota Vikings were so terrible in 2011 was just a blandness to their football, a lack of star power past guys like Jared Allen. On the offensive side of the ball in particular, the Vikings were just not all that exciting to watch; the Vikings offense only managed to score over 30 points three times the entire season. Christian Ponder's wide receiving corps are decent and they have a possible future star TE in Kyle Rudolph, but there's no real shining stars except maybe Percy Harvin.
Randy Moss is coming back to the NFL reportedly, but it's doubtful that he's going to want a third stint in Minnesota. There is a plenty intriguing candidate in the WR group for free agents this season that the Vikings may want to take a look at, Indianapolis Colts star Reggie Wayne.
Wayne is a savvy veteran who plays the game well every time he steps onto a field, Peyton Manning at the helm throwing him the ball or not. The Vikings could certainly use a guy who has over 10,000 receiving yards and over 70 touchdowns in his career, a guy who could give Christian Ponder a sure target no matter what the game situation. The Colts look very likely to break up the band as it were after such an abysmal year so there's a pretty good chance that Wayne will be available as well.
There have been rumors of Reggie heading to a team like the New England Patriots, but it certainly couldn't hurt an offensively stalled team like the Vikings to dust him off and take a look.
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