5 Free Agents The Minnesota Vikings Should Target This Offseason
5 Free Agents The Vikings Should Be Targeting
The Minnesota Vikings had quite the letdown of a 2013 season, but that doesn’t mean a few free agent signings can't turn things around. The Vikings exposed their key areas of weakness throughout the season, making it easy to target the main areas needing improvement.
The biggest and most important hole that must be filled is the quarterback position. While Matt Cassel is fine as a short-term option, the Vikings are feeling the pressure to find the franchise's next long-term signal caller. This, however, is a task that likely will be served during the draft kicking off on May 8th.
Free agency for the Vikings should be used to re-sign defensive end Everson Griffen, and then to upgrade the defense around him. Griffen has done great in a limited role for a couple of seasons now, and it’s finally time he gets his first big contract.
The Vikings have it nice that they won’t need to target any offensive skill positions, as the running back and wide receiver free agent classes are looking to be very weak. They will have the option to re-sign Jerome Simpson, but considering he impressed during his limited playing time, the Vikings may not want to spend the money on him as a third wide receiver behind Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, meaning he very well could be gone before next season.
As for looking outside of the organization, the Vikings should have their eyes on plenty of pending free agents. The secondary was the team’s biggest weakness in 2013, so targeting a cornerback is a serious need and a position I address in the following slides.
5. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, CB
The Vikings drastically need an upgrade at cornerback, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is the one of the many the team should be looking at. He was once considered a promising, young player when with the Arizona Cardinals, but after falling off a bit in Philadelphia, he resurrected his career with the Denver Broncos this past season. Rodgers-Cromartie isn’t a sure thing given his history, but he would be a solid fallback option if the Vikings are unable to reel in a more consistent player at the position.
4. Mike Pollak
The Vikings are set to lose left guard Charlie Johnson to free agency, and they should take this opportunity to sign current Cincinnati Bengal Mike Pollak. Pollak was a second-round pick back in 2008, but has been relegated to backup duties for almost all of his six-year career. Pollak, however, played significant time in the Bengals’ last seven games and put up an overall grade of +6.2 by Pro Football Focus (PFF), a mark much better than Johnson's -5.4.
3. Brent Grimes
Brent Grimes, like Rodgers-Cromartie, was looking like an All-Star in his early years. Grimes amassed 11 combined interceptions in back-to-back season’s with the Atlanta Falcons, but then after one down year, played in just one game in 2012 before tearing his Achilles, ending his season. Grimes, however, recorded the highest grade of any pending free agent corner by PFF with a very impressive +16.4. Grimes is 31 years old, meaning he would also add a much needed veteran presence to a very young Minnesota secondary.
2. Tony McDaniel
Tony McDaniel would fill a position of need for the Vikings, and also bring plenty of knowledge to help coach up Sharrif Floyd. McDaniel has played for three franchises in his eight-year career and is currently in the playoffs, starting on the Seattle Seahawks’ defensive line. He’s the 6-foot-7, 305 pound beast that switches between the left and right side of the line and plays a big role both stopping the run and collapsing the pocket.
1. Alterraun Verner
Alterraun Verner is a name you will begin hearing more and more whether or not he signs with the Minnesota Vikings. He’s coming off his rookie contract with the Tennessee Titans and is a coverage corner that could become a shut down defender with a few more years of experience. The Vikings would be signing Verner through the prime of his career, and pairing him with Xavier Rhodes would allow the Vikings to cover the many star receivers in the NFC North.