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Who Is Left?

Well, the first wave of free agency has come and gone without much change to the Vikings roster.

Their signing of Kickoff Specialist Rhys Lloyd and the departures of Artis Hicks and Chester Taylor hardly signify major roster overhaul.  While significant, the lack of offseason activity has left many Vikings fans more eager than ever for this year’s NFL Draft.

There is no doubt that pickings are slim right now as far as free agents go.  The Vikings may just be better off not signing anybody and hoping to get 2011 compensatory picks for Chester Taylor and Artis Hicks.  Either way, let’s take a look at “the best” of the remaining unsigned free agents:


QUARTERBACK:  Derek Anderson, Age 27

Having shown in the past that he is capable of leading an offense full of talent, Anderson has tanked along with the Browns.  It’s a chicken and egg type of question:  Did Anderson ruin the Browns once powerful offense, or did a lack of talent destroy Anderson’s ability to succeed?  Somebody will assume the latter (perhaps the Cardinals) and give him a shot.  I highly doubt it is the Vikings.


RUNNINGBACK:  Brian Westbrook, Age 30

Concussions and other injuries will cast doubt, and for good reason, over the ability for Westbrook to be a contributor at this stage of his career.  If there were any signs that he could possibly be over the hump and back to his old self, well, let’s just say somebody would have already signed him.  It’s very sad to see such a great player fall so quickly.  The Vikings may consider bringing him in for a workout, but word on the street is that they think he’s done.


FULLBACK:  Tony Richardson, Age 38

Last year, Richardson showed he’s still one of the best lead blockers in the NFL and also showed an ability to carry the ball effectively in a pinch.  It was a mistake when the Vikings let him walk a few years ago, and they could make it right by bringing him back.  But they won’t.


WIDE OUT:  Bobby Wade, Age 29

I really wasn’t sure who to pick here because there are very few wide outs available that aren’t washed-up old guys like Torry Holt and Terrell Owens.  Wade, however, would be the best option for a team in need of some sure hands or a boost on special teams.  At age 29, he would be worth a two or three year contract.  Luckily, the Vikings don’t need any wide outs.


TIGHT END:  Alge Crumpler, Age 32

This isn’t a guy that will make a lot of catches or change a game for your team, but he’s a veteran with very good blocking skills.  If the Vikings didn’t already have Kleinsasser, I would probably be saying they should go after Crumpler.


OFFENSIVE TACKLE:  Mike Gandy, Age 31

The one and only reason Gandy tops this list is because of his starting experience but he is a horrid option for anyone in need of a starter.  How bad are the options out there?  Ryan Cook might have beat out Gandy had the Vikings not tendered him.


GUARD:  Bobbie Williams, Age 33

Williams is one of the few solid free agents left, but his age has kept him from finding a new job.  Known as a terrific run blocker and team leader, Williams could be a good addition to anyone’s roster.  I think the Vikings should bring him in for a visit.


CENTER:  Kevin Mawae, Age 39

Despite being almost as old as Brett Favre, Mawae can still get it done.  Think about it, this guy played center for league’s leading rusher last year.  Much like Bobbie Williams, he brings leadership and experience to any team in need of a temporary upgrade at center.  However, he probably isn’t real popular with league owners right now, as he’s the head player when it comes to Union negotiations.


DEFENSIVE END:  Adewale Ogunleye, Age 33

There are virtually no young and talented ends available.  Ogunleye really faded in the second half of 2009 and his skills will only continue to diminish.  He may not even be signed until a team becomes desperate after preseason injuries occur.


DEFENSIVE TACKLE:  Tank Johnson, Age 28

Johnson could play a role like Jimmy Kennedy’s role in the Vikings defense, a rotational and depth guy.  His character is a concern, but some G.M. will sign him and hope that he has matured.  The Vikings should look to the draft for help at this position instead of free agency.


OUTSIDE LINEBACKER:  Keith Bullock, Age 33

A late season ACL tear and his age will make teams shy away from Bullock.  If he can somehow prove he’ll be back to his usual form at some point in 2010, however, then he may become a hot commodity.  Until he proves that, though, he’ll probably remain unsigned.


INSIDE LINEBACKER:  Andra Davis, Age 31

Davis was surprisingly cut by the Broncos after another solid year of play, particularly against the run.  He is almost sure to be signed this week, but will probably be more heavily sought after by teams running the 3-4.  The Vikings will probably not give him any attention.


CORNERBACK:  Phillip Buchanon, Age 29

Prior to re-signing Benny Sapp, the Vikings were rumored to have interest in the guy that was actually able to catch Adrian Peterson in an open-field foot race.  Buchanon’s image suffered when he played for the Lions, but one has to wonder how many corners would look awful on a team with virtually no pass rush at all.  If the Vikings were seriously interested, they probably would have brought him in already.


SAFETY:  Darren Sharper, Age 34

Recent surgery has sparked reports that Sharper could finally be done.  His age and health even scared away the team that he just helped to win a Super Bowl.  Sharper made a lot of big plays in 2009 but was a huge liability against the run.  Despite the perceived poor play from the Vikings safeties, I still think letting Sharper walk was the right move, and I wouldn’t expect the Vikings to reverse that decision in 2010.  Not that he’d want to come back anyways.

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2 Responses to “Who Is Left?”

  1. Fragile Freds says:

    That was an awful lot of work to say there is nothing but crap left in free agency.

  2. krugjr says:

    Report: Favre was heavily involved in recruiting Tomlinson
    Posted by Michael David Smith on March 15, 2010 2:29 PM ET
    One of the factors in LaDainian Tomlinson’s decision to sign with the New York Jets instead of the Minnesota Vikings was the uncertainty regarding the playing status of Vikings quarterback Brett Favre.

    But according to Bob Glauber of Newsday, Favre himself attempted to assuage any doubts Tomlinson had.

    Glauber reports, citing a source familiar with the Vikings’ situation, that Favre was heavily involved in the recruitment process and spoke to Tomlinson by phone.

    I’m not among the 35 online subscribers to Newsday, so I can’t tell you what else Glauber’s story says, but Glauber notes that if Favre is actively trying to recruit players for the Vikings’ 2010 roster, that’s a pretty big clue that Favre himself plans to be on the Vikings’ 2010 roster.

    Of course, even if that’s what Favre plans right now, the chances are pretty good that he’ll change his mind in the next few months. Probably several times.


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