We are only days away from the 2nd best part of the offseason …. Free Agency. Come Thursday we’ll see guys switching teams at a rapid pace, and if the hype is true we should see the Vikings as one of the more active teams. Below are a few tiers of players that I feel the Vikings could be interested in, sticking to some of the more prominent needs when it comes to position with offensive line, defensive line and running back.
Also check out the Vikings current Free Agents and our thoughts if they will be back or not
The “Potential Holy Sh!t” Possibilities
These are the homerun type signings that will get every Viking fan talking about a Super Bowl run in 2017. The guys that everyone talk about prior to free agency and your team actually lands them …. aka Steve Hutchinson… Antoine Winfield.
Ricky Wagner OT, Ravens
Would instantly fill the right tackle spot and be a HUGE upgrade. Wagner at the ripe age of 27 years old has slowly become one of the best right tackles in the entire league. He still has a good 3-4 years left in the tank and would be welcomed with open arms. I actually see the Vikings as a one of the top contenders for his service come Thursday, so while this is a big boy signing it is absolutely possible.
Kevin Zeitler G, Bengals
Zeitler is the best guard available in free agency, hands down. Like Wagner this would be a game changing signing for the offensive line. Zeitler is still young at the age of 26, and still has plenty left in the tank. Zimmer has familiarity with the former Wisconsin Badger which could give him a leg up … they just need to be willing to pony up on the high price that he will command.
Tony Jefferson S, Cardinals
Let me be clear from the start, the chances of the Vikings tossing a ton of money at the safety position when they have greater needs is slim to none. But remember, this is a “Holy Sh!t” type of signing we are talking about. Jefferson is one of the better safeties in the league and pairing him up with the Hitman would be magical. At only 25 years of age the Cards simply can’t afford to bring him back and where ever he lands, he will have a huge impact on their secondary.
The “Still Sexy But More Realistic” Possibilities
Here we have the signings that don’t get as much love but usually end up being the better signings. These guys fly mildly under the radar but are still considered better than average, they just don’t get the buzz to go along with it….. aka Chester Taylor.
Latavius Murray RB, Raiders
Murray to the Vikings picked up steam immediately after it was announced AP would be hitting the free agent market. Murray has been a good not great running back during his time in the league. He has managed to put up some good numbers, but has also been behind a very good offensive line. His main attraction to the Vikings is his great ability to pass block … but what he is going to command in $$$, I just don’t see it being worth it, especially with the talent at RB in the upcoming draft.
Riley Reiff OT, Lions
Former 1st round pick Reiff has the ability to play either left OR right tackle which makes him extra appealing. Minnesota has gotten to know the big man quite a bit during his time in the league, and like Kalil he has had his ups and downs. He has enough talent to get himself a good chunk of change this free agency and I see him as a real possibility if the Vikings miss out on any targeted top guys (Wagner, Okung)
Larry Warford G, Lions
I gotta be honest, it is a toss-up on who I would rather have when it comes to Zeitler or Warford. Warford is only 25 years old and has a total of 57 starts under his belt during his time in the NFL. I would consider him an above average guard who has really yet to meet his potential, while it is a bold statement, I think the Warford signing could make as big of an impact as the Steve Hutchinson signing from years past.
The Just …. “Sure OK ” … Possibilities
These are the guys that don’t really get you excited, but deep down you know they have a shot to contribute and help the team. I compare this group to the mid-rounds of the draft, this is where you can find the hidden gems, aka, Tom Johnson.
Nick Fairley DT, New Orleans Saints
I have loved Fairley ever since his days at Auburn, while he hasn’t lived up to his hype coming out he has proven to be a late bloomer. He notched 6.5 sacks last year in part-time duty and might have finally reached his stride. Pairing him up with Linval Joseph and (if healthy) Sharrif Floyd, Minnesota would have a pretty damn solid group of interior lineman. I would LOVE to see what Zimmer could do with this guy.
Austin Pasztor, OT, Browns
Pasztor is a 26 year old right tackle who has started 43 games over his career. While I think a guy like Pasztor would be an instant starter with the group the Vikings currently have, I wouldn’t consider him a game changer. I see him more of a stop-gap until the Vikings groom the rookies they draft in the coming years.
Andre Ellington RB, Cardinals
Ellington showed promise early in his career but after some injuries ended up buried on the depth chart behind David Johnson and Chris Johnson. Ellington is a homerun type runner who can take it to the house on any touch. He can be an explosive player at times makes plays in the run and pass game. But don’t let me sugar coat it too much, he is a low-risk/high-reward type of guy out to prove that he can be a number 1 back in the NFL.
The “Head scratching What The” Possibilities
These are the signings that either make you physically ill …. or just boggle your damn mind. The signings that don’t get you excited and are usually casualties come final cuts … the crap shoot signings, aka, Taylor Mays.
Luke Joeckel, G/OT, Jaguars or Chance Warmack, Titans
Here are a few guys that are former top picks in the draft who will be looking for new homes. Both haven’t even come close to living up to their hype, but still have the intrigue and potential to turn their careers around. I honestly love signings like this, you get a young guy who is hungry to prove people wrong, worst case they get beat out by a better player and don’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Christine Michael RB, Packers
Vikings tried to put a claim on him when he was available but were sniped by the Packers. So we know the interest is there, and we absolutely know the Vikings will be looking for depth at the running back position. But Michael is just a guy who has never lived up to his potential, he would be on a prove-it deal and would be pushing just to make the roster.
Geno Smith QB, Jets
Truth is the Vikings need more bodies at quarterback. Teddy won’t see the field in ’17 and Shaun Hill is a free agent that nobody expects back. Smith fits the mold, he is a younger guy coming off his 1st contract who could add depth on the cheap. Minnesota wouldn’t be a horrible spot for Smith to land, get him out of the lime light and allow him to just concentrate on being a back-up in the NFL.