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Vikings 2011 Free Agents

Much has been made about the Vikings payroll exceeding $150 million in 2010, especially since they are struggling to remain out of last place in the NFC North.  There has also been a lot of talk about the roster turnover expected to hit this offseason and the possibility of a rebuilding process.

Not counting some of the recent small time additions to the roster, I count 21 guys that are set to become free agents whenever the new league year begins (not known because of CBA negotiations still unresolved).  I know guys like Patrick Ramsey, Thomas Welsch, and Marcus Sherels are probably supposed to be on this list, but I’m not sure at the moment of their contract status.

The 21 guys listed below account for $45 million of the 2010 salary, which should actually leave the Vikings in pretty good shape to re-sign the guys they want to keep and perhaps show some aggressiveness in free agency. 

Of course, some of these guys could end up being restricted or tagged, and the new CBA will determine much of those details.  But, for now, let’s take a look at who won’t have a contract at the end of the football year.  The salaries given are for the 2010 season.

Sidney Rice, WR, Age 25 ($0.55 million)

Number one receivers don’t grow on trees, as Vikings fans can remember from a time not that long ago.  Rice has proven he is capable of producing like a number one guy but comes with concerns in his ability to stay healthy.  I have a hard time seeing the Vikes let him get away, but don’t be surprised if he demands a contract similar to the six-year, $57 million deal that Miles Austin signed this season.  At age 25, Rice has a lot of upside and could be had on the cheap as a restricted free agent for one more year.

Chad Greenway, OLB, Age 28 ($3.17 million)

Greenway is coming off a solid season in which his consistency improved greatly.  The former first round pick has never quite established himself as a superstar linebacker, but he is pretty solid in about every aspect of the game, after struggling with missed tackles earlier in his career.  The Vikings really have to put Greenway right up there with Rice in terms of priority this offseason.

Pat Williams, DT, Age 38 ($4.85 million)

It is hard to tell if Pat Williams would be willing to accept a dramatically reduced paycheck as a result of dramatically reduced snaps taken.  He wants to play for a contender, and recently expressed worries about the Vikings entering rebuild mode and his desire to win a Super Bowl before retirement.  I have a feeling the run stuffer will not be back in purple in 2011.

Brett Favre, QB, Age 41 ($16.00 million)

He’s going to retire (again).  If he decides to unretired (again), please, please, please let it be to join a different team.  Favre clears a bunch of cap space and reduces the circus atmosphere surrounding this team.  Thanks for the memories… see ya.

Ray Edwards, DE, Age 26 ($2.52 million)

Edwards stock had to plummet since the end of last season.  Reduced production combined with getting dinged up means he won’t be getting a blockbuster deal.  Edwards bothers me when he runs his mouth, but he is a decent player capable of getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and staying home to stop the run.  I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing the Vikings re-sign him, but I suspect he’ll be hell bent on testing free agency.

Brian Robison, DE, Age 28 ($0.55 million)

Here we have a fan favorite who seemingly always makes an impact despite taking very few snaps every game.  I have long argued that Robison might be better than Edwards, especially when rushing the passer, and I would like to see him remain a Viking.  He has repeatedly expressed a desire to play somewhere that he can start, so the Vikings may have to choose between Robison and Edwards.  I choose Robison.

Lito Sheppard, CB, Age 30 ($1.5 million)

The Vikings found themselves in a bind after they traded away Benny Sapp and then Cedric Griffin and Chris Cook suffered injuries.  Sheppard was a decent pickup who had his good and bad moments, as expected, throughout the season.  The Vikings have to focus on finding an upgrade this season, however, and Sheppard cannot be considered a long term option.

Husain Abdullah, S, Age 26 ($0.48 million)

From no-name to starter, Abdullah surprised a few people by playing somewhat well this season.  He is young and has a season of experience under his belt.  He should come cheap.  I’m not saying the Vikings shouldn’t be looking for upgrades at both safety spots, but what would be the harm in bringing back Abdullah?  At the very least, he’d be a solid backup and special teams guy again, capable of stepping in at any moment.

Ryan Longwell, K, Age 37 ($2.00 million)

This is an interesting one, as we have seen many teams struggle to find a dependable field goal kicker this season.  Longwell is certainly dependable in that area, but struggles with getting much leg behind his kickoffs.  His age is also a consideration.  I suspect the Vikes will be going into 2011 with a new kicker, but who knows.

Ben Leber, OLB, Age 32 ($4.00 million)

Leber is more than just a media favorite, he is a smart and versatile linebacker that I think has been the most consistent linebacker on this team for three years and running.  His age and cost has to be a consideration here, but if the price is right, they should certainly bring him back.  If there was ever a veteran presence I’d want on my defense, it’d be that of a classy guy like Leber.

Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Age 28 ($1.18 million)

Once again, I am tempted to compare T-Jack to the potential free agent class and suggest the Vikings should keep him, but even I have to be honest with myself.  It is time for a change.  That simple.  Let him go.

Fahu Tahi, FB, Age 29 ($1.18 million)

Like T-Jack, I used to defend Tahi.  I’m done with him, too, however.  Let him go, bring in new blood.  LeRon McClain, Mike Tolbert, and Vontae Leach could all be free agents fullbacks that would be an upgrade.  There are a number interesting options in the second half of this draft.  It is time for a change.

Greg Lewis, WR, Age 31 ($0.81 million)

Greg Lewis paired with Favre provided us with one of the most exciting moments in Vikings history last season.  Outside of that, he has been a decent blocker and below average receiver.  Considering his age, the quality of this receiver free agent class, and youthful options in the draft, it is time to move on from the miracle man.

Ryan Cook, OT, 28 ($1.18 million)

I have been somewhat surprised at how well Cook has played along the line this season, replacing injured starters.  His versatility gives him some added value.  Considering he isn’t terribly old and wouldn’t be terribly expensive, I think the Vikings should consider keeping him around as a reserve. 

Fred Evans, DT, Age 27 ($1.76 million)

We haven’t seen a ton of Evans this year, with Letroy Guion getting a high number of reps.  Evans will likely never be more than a backup, and if the Vikings want to find a replacement for Big Pat, they may want to use Evans roster spot to bring in someone with more potential and upside.  Re-signing him would probably be pretty low risk, however.

Erin Henderson, OLB, Age 25 ($0.48 million)

Henderson was quite impressive this preseason but seldom sees any action, outside of special teams, during the regular season.  He will likely be restricted and I imagine the Vikings will be interested in bringing back EJ’s brother on the cheap yet again.  He has shown enough flash to suggest he could surprise a few people if he gets the chance to play.

Frank Walker, CB, Age 29 ($0.53 million)

Following injuries in the secondary, Walker stepped in as a serviceable replacement. 

Albert Young, RB, Age 25 ($0.35)

Young had his big chance but came up short prior to seeing his season ended with an injury.

Jaymar Johnson, WR, Age 26 ($0.24 million)

Johnson got a bum deal this season when the Vikes put him on injured reserve for a broken finger injury that he could have played with as early as week three.  He is young and has some talent.  No harm in bringing him back to see if he is worth keeping around or not.

Eric Frampton, S, Age 27 ($1.10 million)

Frampton is a decent special teams player and okay as a last resort backup.  I wouldn’t be too surprised if he comes back.

Hank Baskett, WR, Age 28 ($0.56 million)

His wife wants him out of Minnesota and so do I.

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24 Responses to “Vikings 2011 Free Agents”

  1. Ole says:

    Would like to see Abdullah and Peter Frampton return
    Take the next bus outta town Tahi, T-Jack and Hank Baskett

  2. bigjohnny84 says:

    Cant argue with that Ole. It’s good to see Adam chewing a little crow on Tahi and Tjack. I didnt realize Adam was such a big fan of Baskett. lol!

  3. Fragile Freds says:

    Keep & pay an additional buck if you have to:


    Make a good market based offer if they don’t like it…leave

    Ray Ray
    Abdullah ( special teams only – 3rd stringer at safety)
    Leber (solid guy, hopefully will return)
    Tahi ( not as down as most on yahoo tahi)
    Cook (not a starter but worth having a guy that is able to be mediocre at any offensive line position)
    Walker (who knows? He may suck but it’s hard to tell because everyone was throwing at Asher Allen)
    J. Johnson
    G. Lewis (maybe below market offer here..special teams)

    Time to move on, just let them go.

    Pat William (Freds loves Pat, but binezz is binezz)
    EJ’s brother
    Hank Baskett
    Al Young (dude,that is enough)

    Time to take out back and beat with a stick:
    Asher Allen – My man I don’t even see potential here. Wow! Ashley had a very tough year.
    Darren Bevell – Just for fun

    • stortorden says:

      Asher Allen in the new Willie Teal. All we saw in the 80’s was the back of Teal’s Jersey and that all we’ll see in the futer is Allen’s Jersey. Once Frampton is gone, Allen should take #37 that way us old timers will feel right at home next season. Seeing Allen getting toasted again and again. I would take Frank Walker using a peg leg over Allen.

    • RedWing77 says:

      I think you gotta move Leber and Longwell into that top bracket…Love Robison – he’s earned a turn at starting DE.

    • Bud Grant says:

      i liked a lot of what you were thinking here, especially the part about pat williams hahahaha. Only place i differ with you is on Abdullah. I really like the guy and i also may like him too much but i think he deserve a chance to compete for a starting spot. Granted he may only look good by comparison to our atrocious other safties but the man is phenomenal at special teams which means he knows how to find the ball. Which also means great in run support which i really like. He also showed that he doesn’t drop gimmie interceptions like frank walker and lito sheppard. I could be wrong but i like what i see with him and don’t be suprised if he is still on this team next year and starting. I would also like to respectfully disagree with you about Aaron Henderson. We can get him back for really cheap and he is a great special teamer. He finds the ball well and had a lot of great kick cover tackles. Granted i do seem to remember at least one bad penalty out of him this year maybe more

  4. Favrelous says:

    I like longwell. He has been money fir his time here. …no gary Anderson type memories.

  5. vk4life says:

    Rice, Greenway, and Robison are the only 3 on the list worth keeping 100%. someothers maybe but these 3 have to be #1 priority in the off season.

  6. […] number of Vikings are set to have their contracts expire this offseason (my list is here) including a number of starters.  While quarterback Brett Favre won’t be back, fans are hopeful […]

  7. […] few days ago, I listed off all of the Vikings current free agents and said at the beginning of the post that I was sure I was missing a couple, especially with the […]

  8. […] by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginTweetThe Minnesota Vikings free agents list with many thanks to Vikings Gab for their excellent list, from which I based my […]

  9. Bud Grant says:

    You know for being the “number one vikings blog” you could get the players names right. It is Naufahu not Fahu. Good try though. that is why i get my information at the ONLY vikings blog, The Daily Norseman. Also, you could not be more wrong, do you really think that we would bring in Tolbert, that guy is going to get paid and not going to be cheap after what he did this year. Why would you spend money on a big name full back when you have the best runningback in the league and can arguably run better without a fullback. Why does everyone hate on tahi? He has decent hands for a big man and would have had a few touchdowns this year if Favre didn’t blatantly look him off every time. “Greenway has never quite established himself as a superstar linebacker”? He led the NFC in tackles (not willis or urlacher or laurinitis), and as a true outside linebacker nonetheless. I would consider that superstar caliber. He had more tackles than ray lewis for god’s sake. I would also argue that leber is the most inconsistent linebacker on our starting corp. If you see a linebacker miss a tackle or drop a sure pick you know it is going to be Leber. One additional thing is that Abdullah was not a “no name guy” as you say, he has been a special teams ace along with farwell and frampton the past three years. If you don’t know that you shouldn’t blog about the vikings

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Dear Coach Grant,

      I apologize for taking the shortened version of Naufahu’s name, which is often used by coaches and players, and using it in this article. I am aware, however, of the proper spelling of his name.

      I am glad you follow the Daily Norseman. They are a quality site and I do not blame you one bit.

      You are correct, Peterson prefers running without a fullback. That is why I think the team should bail on their “blocking” fullback (Tahi, Naufahu) and switch to a guy that can run (the examples I wrote). Anything to improve our short yardage, take at least one set of eyes off of Peterson, and relieve some pressure on whomever is our QB. Other than that, I’m done defending Tahi… which I have for years. He was crap this year.

      Chad Greenway, in my opinion, has not achieved superstar status. Of course I knew who Abdullah was prior to this season, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a no-name. I know who Rhett Bomar is, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a no name. Or Albert Young. Or Ryan D’Imperio. Or many others. The phrase was meant to point out he had not yet made a name for himself, not that he actually had no name.

      Thank you for your comments. Please feel free to come back anytime.

      • Adam Warwas says:

        And just to be clear, I’m not saying Greenway doesn’t deserve superstar status. His stats certainly back it up. But, for a variety of reasons including his ability to keep his mouth shut, he isn’t there yet. There was at least one occassion this season, however, where Greenway had the easiest of INTs slip right through his hands.

        Leber is much more consistent than you give him credit for.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Do we call ourselves the #1 Vikings blog? If we do, its because we have the best readers and commenters. Nothing against the fine folks over at DN.

  10. Bud Grant says:

    well i guess you say definitive, but that is similar. You don’t have any response to my critiques?

  11. Adam Warwas says:

    In all seriousness, your comments are both humbling and smart. While I don’t expect you to stray too far from DN, please know you are welcomed here anytime. Even if you don’t like my articles for whatever reason, we have a gaggle of great Vikings fans that know their stuff around here. However, you may have to change your moniker, as there is already a B. Grant known to show up from time to time, and that may get confusing. 🙂

    • B. Grant says:

      Alright, that’s enough now, Franklin. Go re-polish your river rocks before someone takes you seriously. And thanks again for the Christmas gift. I didn’t even know their was a Neil Sedaka Gold 3-Disk Collection to be had. I’m sure I’ll get around to listening to it some day.

  12. Bud Grant says:

    well in all fairness this is a pretty good article and i shouldn’t give you a hard time. we are all vikings fans after all. this is actually the first article that i have found that lists all free agents for the vikings. A few were news to me (mostly the backups and special teamers). Also everyone has a different eye for what they see as talent on the field. Either way at least we can all be happy about leslie frazier and the shake up he is making in the front office. Not sure how i feel about McDaniels though, don’t know how much of what he did in NE was him and what was the talent of the players, weis and belichick

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