While we all sit and wait for a certain quarterback from Mississippi to decide if his arm is strong enough to withstand the rigors of another NFL season, there is still time and cap space available to upgrade the depth of the roster before the start of preseason camp next month. Here are a few suggestions that could help to make an already strong team even better.
Sign Antoine Winfield!
There are a few areas of concern with this group. The starters on both offense and defense are pretty much set. As are a lot of the primary back-up positions. But there are areas of depth that remain a concern to me, particularly at the dime back position, back-up safety, offensive line, receiver and special teams.
There are still quality players available via free agency.
One hotly rumored deal that is being bandied around is the idea of signing free agent wide receiver Marvin Harrison to an incentive laden contract. Brad Childress has expressed concern over acquiring a solid possession receiver to “Keep the chains moving.”
That is why the team went on a full court press to sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh earlier this year. Harrison is an excellent route runner who had a sub-par 2008 season with the Indianapolis Colts. He was released by the Colts after catching 60 passes last year. The Vikings were led last year in receiving by Bobby Wade who amassed 53 receptions.
If Harrison has anything left in the tank, then this would be a huge upgrade over anything the Vikings currently have on the roster. Harrison is also the consummate locker room personality with little or no baggage and an elite work ethic, who could teach young players like Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin the proper way that a player should prepare, work and carry himself as a professional. Something that seems to be lacking with Rice and is feared to be absent with Harvin.
There are a few back-up offensive linemen available via free agency as well. Mark Tauscher is coming off an injury and won’t be available until late in the preseason, but is rumored to be interested in an opportunity with Minnesota provided he can be reunited with his old pal Favre. He could provide veteran security at the RT spot and could mentor Phil Loadholt’s transition from the college game to the NFL.
Want a mauler at Guard ? Chris Naeole is still out there. As is Tom Nalen who could serve as a fall back at center if John Sullivan struggles.
As for help in the secondary, CB’s Aaron Glenn, R.W. McQuarters and Deltha O’Neil or safety Will Allen, could all be an upgrade at Dime back although it’s not certain that any of these three would want to serve in that capacity.
What about special teams ? The team has addressed it’s return team needs nicely by drafting Harvin, and by the signing of CB Karl Paymah from Denver and WR Glenn Holt from Cincinnati. But has the coverage units which were among the NFL’s worst last season been properly addressed.
All agree that the return of Heath Farwell will be an immediate improvement, but the team released Vinnie Ciurciu who later signed with New England so is this really enough? The drafting of Jamarca Sanford, Jasper Brinkley and Asher Allen may help, as could a few post draft free agents like RB Ian Johnson of Boise State, FS Colt Anderson out of Montana, Robert Francois is a strong tackling LB from BC, or S DeVon Hall of Utah State may upgrade this poor unit.
What about bringing in a few established special teamers to compete for a job on the coverage team like Edell Shepherd, Oliver Celestin, Michael Boulware, Dante’ Hall, or Fakhir Brown.
I think any and all of these moves could be beneficial to the team. Any Ideas, suggestions or comments?? Let me know! I’m all ears!