Coming off of their surprising 10-win season in 2012, expectations are high for the Minnesota Vikings this offseason. Unlike a year ago where everyone conceded the team was rebuilding, it’s now become a matter of making the team a legitimate contender in the NFC.
Most of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of GM Rick Spielman. Nearly all experts agree that Spielman did a tremendous job a year ago with his offseason acquisitions, and so far he’s doing the same this year.
It started on day one of free agency when the team re-signed RT Phil Loadholt. Then over the course of the next few days, all the other key Viking free agents were brought back, including FB Jerome Felton, LB Erin Henderson. and S Jamarca Sanford. These were all players Minnesota needed to bring back, and Spielman got the job done.
The focus then shifted to the gaping hole at wide receiver. They did re-sign Jerome Simpson on day one, but really only for depth purposes. The Vikings were still in need of a replacement for the departed Percy Harvin, and on Friday night they got it in the form of Greg Jennings.
The Jennings’ signing alone makes this free agency period a success, but Spielman and the Vikings can’t stop there.
Numerous positions are still in need of quality players and depth, including – middle linebacker, cornerback, and receiver. If Spielman really wants to hit a home run, he needs to bring in a veteran linebacker and another receiver.
Minnesota has been in talks with Brian Urlacher, and you have to wonder if they might take a look at the recently released Brandon Lloyd at receiver. It wouldn’t surprise me if they signed another corner, but it seems like that could be a position they address with one of their first round picks.
All of this, and I haven’t even mentioned the signing of Matt Cassel. Some fans grumbled over this, but Cassel serves a need on the team. The Vikings have a better backup quarterback than they did a year ago – fact. All good teams have solid depth at QB, and Cassel provides that. In addition, he will push Christian Ponder, and the leash will no doubt become shorter for the third-year QB in 2013.
Spielman and the Vikings have done a tremendous job so far this offseason, but there are still a few moves to be made. All in all though, Minnesota has earned an ‘A’ grade so far.
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