10 Minnesota Vikings Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014
10 Vikings Who Should Pack Their Bags
It was a bad year for the Minnesota Vikings, who finished the 2013 campaign with a pitiful record of 5-10-1 only one season after earning a 9-7 record and making a playoff appearance.
While the Vikings’ first order of business should be finding a new head coach after the firing of Leslie Frazier, there are numerous other concerns the team must address this offseason. One of those is determining what players to carry over from the 2013 season to 2014.
Some players are facing expiring contracts, and are still waiting to see whether or not the Vikings choose to negotiate a new deal. Other players are under contract for 2014, but might not offer the same value the Vikings initially signed them for. If that’s the case, the team could choose to sever ties and look for replacements via either free agency or the 2014 NFL Draft.
One of the biggest concerns will be settling the quarterback situation. With Christian Ponder clearly not working out, Matt Cassel likely nothing more than a backup and Josh Freeman a complete failure, the Vikings will have to put another plan together for the upcoming campaign. Don’t get me wrong, though; there are numerous other positions with big problems to fix.
Here’s a look at 10 players who have likely played their last snap as a Viking. Whether they are not re-signed or will be released this offseason, GM Rick Spielman simply needs to make the tough decision and sever ties with these players in the next couple of months.
QB Josh Freeman
What a waste of $3 million. Freeman was a huge mistake on Spielman’s part, and the only option moving forward is kicking him back into the free agency pool. The Vikings need to move forward at quarterback, and the first step is getting Freeman out of Minnesota.
WR Joe Webb
The Joe Webb experiment needs to end. They gave him some opportunities at quarterback, but that never panned out. He then spent 2013 trying to be a wide receiver, and that didn’t go any better. As exciting of an athlete as Webb is, the Vikings can’t continue to waste time trying to find a role for him.
RB Toby Gerhart
While it’s not so much about Gerhart’s lack of ability – he’s a quality No. 2 runner, although he never panned out as a third-down back – there’s little chance he wants to continue on as Adrian Peterson’s backup. He’s going to find an opportunity as a complimentary starter elsewhere.
G Charlie Johnson
The Vikings offensive line had its fair share of struggles this season, and Johnson was easily the weakest link of the bunch. He’s never been a reliable part of the Minnesota line, and continues to allow unnecessary pressure on whoever is under center. If the Vikings want to improve their blocking, Johnson must go.
WR Jerome Simpson
It may have been a better year in 2013 for Simpson, but he’s far from the reliable receiver the Vikings need moving forward. To top it all off, he’s had trouble off the field lately, narrowly avoiding jail time due to a third-degree DUI. His off-field issues simply aren’t worth the inconsistent production.
QB Christian Ponder
It’s been three years, and Ponder hasn’t developed into the franchise quarterback the Vikings were hoping for. After more than enough opportunities, Ponder has gotten his final shot as the starter in Minnesota. The Vikings need to move on at quarterback – a first-round pick in May sounds about right.
CB Chris Cook
What a train wreck Cook turned out to be. Once considered the Vikings’ next great cornerback, injuries and off-field issues have derailed his NFL career. Even when he turns in a solid performance or two, it’s quickly followed up with a meltdown. Cook makes too many mistakes to continue wasting time on.
MLB Erin Henderson
In the last two months, Henderson has been arrested twice on suspicion of DUI. With only $250K guaranteed on the remainder of his deal, Henderson could get the ax this offseason. The Vikings are set on building a roster full of high-character plays, and Henderson has quickly made a case against himself.
OLB Chad Greenway
This one is a bit more unlikely, but the option has to be swirling in the back of Spielman’s mind. Greenway is coming off one of the worst seasons of his NFL career, missing far too many tackles while struggling as a cover man and run defender. The Vikings would save themselves considerable cap space by releasing Greenway.
DE Jared Allen
Once considered the top pass-rushing defensive end in the NFL, Allen’s production has dropped off significantly in the last couple of seasons. While he’s still efficient at putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, the Vikings can’t afford to fork out another mega deal to keep Allen in Minnesota.