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.