10 Minnesota Vikings Who Won’t Be Back in 2014
10 Vikings Who Won't Return to Minnesota in 2014
2013 has been a very disappointing season for the Minnesota Vikings. There's no denying that expectations were set at winning the NFC North and returning to the playoffs for a second straight year for Leslie Frazier's team. After several early season late-game collapses, the postseason quickly became an unrealistic thing. Now, Vikings' fans are wondering how good of a pick the team will land in next May's NFL Draft.
The thing with this Vikings team is that is they're not awful. There's a lot of talent on both sides of the football in Minneapolis. For whatever reason, that talent hasn't come together at the same time in 2013. This means the Vikings are not in a 'blow it up' situation. Instead, they're in need of a few key tweaks.
First and foremost, Minnesota needs a new quarterback. I believe they will hold on to Matt Cassel for now, but that's basically by default. They need to have at least one QB on the depth chart to start next season. There's no doubt that a franchise QB should be priority number one for the Vikings in 2014.
But beyond the QB position, which players should go and who should Rick Spielman bring in? In this slideshow we'll take a look at some players on this year's squad who won't be back next season. Many of these players will simply walk away in free agency, while others could get cut. For one reason or another, their days in Minnesota are numbered. But no matter the circumstance, Spielman needs to fill these positions with fresh talent.
Here are 10 Minnesota Vikings who just like the Metrodome, won't return for the 2014 season:
The star DE (free agent to be) was almost traded at the deadline, which if it wasn't already clear, means that he'll be looking for a new home next season. Even if he wanted to stay, there's no way the Vikings would pay him near as much as he's making now.
Cook has been one of the bigger disappointments in Minnesota in 2013. He basically assumed the No. 1 cornerback spot with Antoine Winfield's departure, but he's never played like a true No. 1. His contract is up and the end of the year and he simply hasn't shown enough to warrant a re-signing.
The TE hasn't panned out to be the player the Minnesota front office thought he'd be. He's already restructured his contract once and he's making an awful lot of money ($5 million/season in 2014) for a guy who goes games at a time without more than a couple receptions. His production has improved in 2013, but that's only because Kyle Rudolph is on the shelf. The Vikings could easily replace Carlson and save some money in the draft.
Gerhart has been a solid backup running back, but who wants to back up the best in the game? Gerhart is gone in free agency and you can't really blame him for wanting to step out from behind Adrian Peterson's shadow.
The big DT has had a good run in Minnesota, but his contract is up and he's too old for Spielman to re-sign.
Webb's stint at QB failed and his sting at WR has proven ineffective. His contract is also up and he's simply an expendable player at this point.
With a suspension likely to be handed down to the WR in 2014 for his latest arrest, Simpson is done in Minneapolis. He's proven to be a solid pass-catcher this season, but he's not in team's long-term plans.
Freeman made an awful lot of money playing in just four games in 2013. Will he be brought back? Only if he's willing to take a massive pay cut. Chances of that = unlikely.
With an expiring contract and the fact that he hasn't been overwhelming good this season, it's unlikely Mitchell will return to the Vikings in 2014. Look for Spielman to continue to rebuild the linebacking corps with youth.
It's clear that it's time for the Vikings to move on from Ponder. He had his shot, he failed, time for the franchise to go in a different direction.
After two DUI arrests in 2013, Henderson is unlikely to be back in 2014. You can't blame the Vikings if they cut him, simply because he's going to be suspended for a many games in the future for violating the league's substance abuse policy.
Don't be surprised if Minnesota parts ways with its starting LG.
The Vikings tried unsuccessfully to re-sign Griffen during the season. It seems like he's holding out for a big payday and Minnesota might not be willing to give it to him.