The news coming out of the Minnesota Vikings headquarters at Winter Park seems to change by the hour. Depending on who you ask, veteran free agent linebacker Brian Urlacher is either extremely close to signing with the Vikings, or isn’t part of their plans at all.
According to a report on NFL.com, the Vikings have decided to lean on the linebackers already on their roster “barring an unforeseen move.” Now, as anybody who has followed the NFL for any amount of time knows, this is the type of verbiage you expect from senior personnel who just don’t want to talk about it.
But given the length of time that Urlacher has been a free agent, and the fact that he wasn’t asking much money from the Chicago Bears to stay with the only team he’s ever played for, what else could be holding up a deal?
From Total Access: #Vikings source on Urlacher report: Giving current players chance to compete at ILB “barring unforeseen circumstances”
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 15, 2013
I’d like to be able to tell you that signing Urlacher wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but right now I’m not so sure. I was of the opinion that Karlos Dansby, now of the Arizona Cardinals, made a lot more sense for the Vikings. Unlike Urlacher, Dansby had a productive season in 2012, and at 31-years-old, he is four years Urlacher’s junior.
Now, however, the Vikings have apparently decided to stick with Henderson sliding over to the middle, and rookie Gerald Hodges will likely be thrust into the starting lineup in Henderson’s old spot.
I don’t think the issue for the team right now is talent. The Vikings defense certainly took a bit of a hit with the losses of Antoine Winfield and Jasper Brinkley, but Chad Greenway, the team’s most productive tackler in 2012, will return to his spot on the outside, and the pass rush will still be headlined by Jared Allen (and his famous mullet).
Maybe Urlacher just wants a bit of the Brett Favre treatment, happy to sit back until training camps begin, skipping a lot of the grind of two-a-days and the dorms of Minnesota State University-Mankato. However, depth at linebacker is not something to play around with, and Urlacher would need to get used to a new scheme.
If a deal is going to happen, it needs to be sooner, rather than later.