The rebuilding has begun for the Minnesota Vikings, who watched their 2013 postseason hopes come to an end less than a week ago.
With a number of holes to fill and several positions that need significant upgrades, the Vikings will be looking towards free agency and the 2013 NFL Draft to make the necessary moves to find their way back to the playoffs in 2014. Before those avenues are available, though, they’ll have to deal with what’s currently on the open market.
On Wednesday, the Vikings signed two new players to the roster in hopes of giving themselves more options when spring rolls around: punter T.J. Conley and cornerback Greg McCoy.
Conley, undrafted out of Idaho in 2011, spent his first year in the NFL as the starting punter for the New York Jets. During that year, he averaged 42.7 yards per punt on 92 attempts while pinning the opponent inside their own 20-yard line 32 times. His average landed him at No. 18 in the league, while his 38.8 net yards average wasn’t much better. Although Conley’s rookie performance wasn’t anything near award-worthy, the youngster proved that he was capable of punting at a professional level.
With current starter Chris Kluwe going under the knife to repair a torn meniscus, the Vikings needed an insurance policy. They got one in Conley, who might not last long once Kluwe returns to full health.
McCoy, a 2012 seventh-round pick by the Chicago Bears, spent most of his rookie year on the Arizona Cardinals practice squad. Although the former TCU standout has shown potential as a return man, the young cornerback doesn’t offer much on the defensive side of the ball. If he’s going to have any chance of sticking with the Vikings, he’ll have to prove his worth as a special teams contributor.
As usual, these early roster moves aren’t going to suddenly make the Vikings favorites to win the Super Bowl. They will, however, provide the spring roster with some extra bodies who will undoubtedly push the tempo when 2013 practices get under way.