Minnesota Vikings 2011 Free Agents

The Minnesota Vikings free agents list with many thanks to Vikings Gab for their excellent list, from which I based my comments:

  • Brett Favre, QB – Head coach Leslie Frazier has already shut the door firmly on a Favre return. We’re on to the next era. Thanks for the memories, Brett.
  • Tarvaris Jackson, QB –  Mercifully, I don’t see how TJax returns. Good luck elsewhere.
  • Sidney Rice, WR – I’ve gone back and forth on him. Sidney Rice has definitely got a lot of talent but he’s only put one year’s worth of it on tape and that was with a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing him the ball.Just how good will he be with a young, developing quarterback throwing to him? Those types of quarterbacks have a tendency to get their receivers hurt by hanging them out to dry. Will Rice give full effort in that situation? Will he even want to be in that situation?The fact that I have so many questions about his motivation calls into question…his motivation. He was making noises about wanting more money after his 2009 campaign, not surprising given how awesome it was, but it sounds like he’s angling for a blockbuster deal that I don’t believe he’s really earned.

    First and foremost, he gets injured a lot. Second, he sorta feels like a me-first kind of player. He’s got Drew Rosenhaus as an agent, so that should tell ya something. But his decision to delay hip surgery till training camp, his vagueness about the specific nature of the injury/surgery, his reluctance to play this year once he was healthy until his hand was forced, all make you wonder who’s driving the Sidneymobile.

    He seriously screwed the 2010 Vikings by giving the team practically no chance to find a replacement. Do we really want to invest what it will take to retain him?

    On the other hand, talented receivers are hard to come by. It’s hard to find them via free agency (see Bernard Berrian) and, unless your Randy Moss or Percy Harvin, they’re typically not going to make an immediate impact as a rookie.

    I just don’t know about this one. I could go either way.

  • Greg Lewis, WR – He made one of the greatest catches in Vikings history but Lewis will be gone.
  • Hank Baskett, WR – He did nothing. Gone.
  • Jaymar Johnson, WR (RFA) – Before he was screwed by getting placed on IR early on for a broken finger that would’ve healed quickly enough for him to contribute for almost all of the season, he was doing a great job in the preseason as a kick returner. At the very least, he would’ve contributed as much as Hank Baskett did. Keep him.
  • Nafahu Tahi, FB – I’ve been ranting all year about how awful a fullback Tahi is, and only stopped when it became apparent it wouldn’t matter how badly he screwed up because the team wasn’t going anywhere anyway. Let. Him. Go. Can we bring Ryan D’Imperio back?
  • Albert Young, RB (RFA) – Had every chance in the world to be the Vikings third-down back and couldn’t seize the day. Lorenzo Booker is a vaaaaaast improvement.
  • Ryan Cook, OL – Cook drove me nuts when he held down a starting gig but as a versatile utility man, he’s invaluable. Keep him.
  • Ray Edwards, DE – Ray Edwards wants his money. I absolutely do not begrudge these athletes their chance to make a lot of money. The game can eat them up so they might as well get when the gettin’s good. That said, Ray Edwards wants his money. And, come hell or high water, he’s going to get it.Let him go. He’s probably going to get a big payday and more power to him; it just should not be the Vikings who pay him.For my money, Edwards was invisible for much of his time with the Vikings. It took him the entire 2009 season to really show up and have the impact he should have had all season. That said, it was during the playoffs that he caught fire, which you sorta want. Still, with a line that boasts Kevin Williams and Jared Allen, two pass rushing forces of nature, Edwards should be absolutely vacuuming the sacks against all the one-on-one matchups he gets.
  • Brian Robison, DE – I thought Robison made the most of the limited snaps he got and is ready to take the next step and fill Edwards shoes. I think we’ll be the better for it. Sign him.
  • Pat Williams, DT – Big Pat Williams wants to play a few more years but it sounds like it will be time to say goodbye. Defensive tackles like Williams are hard to come by. (Remember how long it took the Vikings to find one in the 90s until they finally got a real anchor in Jerry Ball? Remember how much of a difference he made? Same type of player.)I do think, however, that Letroy Guion has done a fine job is ready to step into a full time role. That said, if we can get Williams to return in a limited for a lot less than he’s making now, we should.Just realize that if Pat Williams leaves, we can expect to hear him say how much he hates the Vikings, how little respect he has for us, the next time we see him. Good ‘ol Pat.
  • Fred Evans, DT – It’s tough to tell whether or not we should keep Evans, considering how little we’ve seen of his game. We do need depth on the line, though.
  • Chad Greenway, OLB – Greenway had a fantastic season and should’ve made the Pro Bowl but is at least an alternate. The Vikings must sign him.
  • Ben Leber, OLB – Leber is more than solid but at 32, he’s getting old. I imagine he’ll find a home elsewhere but if we can get him to return on the cheap, let’s do it.
  • Erin Henderson, OLB (RFA) – He’s a great special teams player who might be able to compete for a starting position. Bring him back.
  • Lito Sheppard, CB – Sheppard was awful more than he was good. Let him go.
  • Frank Walker, CB – Walker showed he’s got some game both as a backup and on special teams. I’d retain him for a reasonable price in order to provide depth as a possible dime back.
  • Hussain Abdullah, S (RFA) – Was a rock star…considering, after Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson, what our expectations were for the position. Keep him while trying to shore up the position through free agency and the draft.
  • Eric Frampton, S – Frampton is a special standout. I assume he can be retained inexpensively.
  • Ryan Longwell, K – Before making any decision on Longwell, Leslie Frazier should give Mike Tice a call and ask him about Doug Brien and Leo Araguz and Aaron Elling and Paul Edinger and then ask him about Morten Andersen.Whether he was trying to be clever or he was restricted by Red McCombs‘ budgets, Tice learned the painful lesson of short-changing the kicking position.Longwell has been consistently reliable and is a clutch kicker, two qualities you want in a kicker, especially if you’re expecting close games as a run-first team with a young quarterback. Longwell is 37 years old but kickers can perform at a high level at an advanced age and there’s no indication Ryan’s game has deteriorated. Sign him and send Chris Kluwe to kickoff camp during the offseason.

What do you think? Who should the Vikings keep, who should they let go and why? Leave your comments below: