2013 Viking Offseason News
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
This thread will be devoted to the offseason happening of the Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings: Free-agency headliners no longer
There was a time not too long ago when the start of NFL free agency would have put the Vikings on center stage.
They signed 10 free agents to multiyear contracts between 2006 and 2008, forming the nucleus of a 2009 team that would advance to the NFC championship game. And they talked quarterback Brett Favre out of retirement with a two-year,$25 million deal before that season.
But those contracts also led to an aging team falling to 6-10 in 2010. Because of a variety of circumstances since -- not the least of which was a need to infuse their roster with youth -- the Vikings haven't been back to the deep end of the free-agent pool.
When free agents are allowed to sign elsewhere starting Tuesday, March 12, the Vikings could again shy away from making a big splash. Thanks to a series of productive drafts, they made the playoffs with one of the league's youngest teams in 2012 and appear committed to building in the same manner.
"I think you have a lot more success when you sign your own players as unrestricted free agents," general manager Rick Spielman said at the NFL scouting combine last month. "You know them the best. And if you screw up signing one of your own guys and he doesn't pan out, then that's a fault on you. I think it's a little riskier when you try to sign other teams' UFAs."
Spielman -- either in his current role overseeing the organization or in his former spot as vice president of player personnel -- has been a part of some free-agent moves
since the 2010 NFC title game, mostly landing relatively inexpensive players.
Their 2009 playoff run hamstrung them in free agency the following spring as the league entered an uncapped year and essentially prohibited the final four playoff teams from signing free agents until they lost their own players. The Vikings made a run at tailback LaDanian Tomlinson but resorted to minor moves after Tomlinson signed with the New York Jets.
The 2011 lockout pushed free agency into August, and the Vikings' biggest move was to trade for quarterback Donovan McNabb, complementing him with low-rent free-agent receivers such as Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. By 2012, they seemed to have embraced the idea of a homegrown team, though their forays into free agency didn't make a convincing case for another direction.
Tight end John Carlson, who signed a five-year,$25 million deal last spring, caught just eight passes in 2012 and didn't see much time as a run blocker. Receiver Jerome Simpson was suspended for the first three games of the season, missed another with a back injury and caught just 26 passes.
Fullback Jerome Felton made the Pro Bowl as Adrian Peterson's escort, but the Vikings' attempts to upgrade their passing game through free agency didn't pan out. They tried to sign Pierre Garcon but he went to the Washington Redskins instead.
Still, the 2012 missteps didn't come with a heavy price tag -- Simpson was on a one-year,$2 million deal, and less than half of Carlson's $25 million deal was guaranteed -- and Spielman at the combine sounded keen on the strategy of minimizing the Vikings' financial exposure.
"A veteran might be slightly ahead of (a draft pick) as you're going through training camp and as you're going through the preseason. But is that rookie going to pass him in Week 3, 4, or 5?" Spielman said. "It doesn't lock you into the situation where you're saying,'We have to keep this vet because we've paid him X amount.' We can keep who we think is the best."
There are opportunities, however, for exceptions.
It's no secret the Vikings need to upgrade their group of receivers and they figure to be in the bidding for the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Wallace or the Green Bay Packers' Greg Jennings.
Coming off a season in which they reached the playoffs despite having the league's second-worst passing offense, the Vikings could reasonably conclude they're a couple of players away from a Super Bowl run. A high-end receiver could take advantage of one-on-one matchups created when defenses focus on NFL MVP Peterson.
"When you run the ball as well as we do, if we can get that home run guy outside, we think we'll just improve our entire offense and our team," coach Leslie Frazier said at the combine.
But Wallace and Jennings each figure to use the five-year,$52 million deal Kansas City gave Dwayne Bowe as a benchmark. Signing one of them could signal a plan to trade Percy Harvin, who is entering the final year of his contract, rather than offer him an extension and pay top dollar for two receivers.
In recent years, the Vikings have been loath to spend themselves into a corner. Gone is the all-in mentality that convinced them to lure Favre back for a second year. And as tantalizing as it might be to add a pricey receiver, it's equally conceivable they'll continue along a path that paid off last season in a 10-6 record and franchise-record seven-win improvement.
"I'm not a real big believer in spending in free agency," Spielman said. "We're always going to try to build through the draft and continue to do that.... Last year, we took the position of not spending. We spent some money on John Carlson, but other than that, we spent it on one-year guys that we gave really low contracts."
Vikings' Bill Musgrave: MarQueis Gray's 'fit' being examined now
Three Things ...
Here is Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who attended the Gophers' Pro Day on Monday, March 4, to scout University of Minnesota seniors and players from other colleges ...
On which position he believes Gophers quarterback/ wide receiver MarQueis Gray would play in the NFL: "That's what all 32 teams are trying to ascertain right now -- where he might fit best. We're going to keep doing work on him. We watched a lot of film on him, and he had a good career."
On whether Gray's 40-yard dash time of 4.67 at Pro Day and 4.73 at the scouting combine diminish his chances to play wide receiver in the NFL: "That remains to be seen. I know all the teams will test him and watch his film and try to project him in a certain role in the NFL."
On whether Gray can play quarterback in the NFL: "That remains to be seen. He has a lot of good experience, and he's a terrific athlete. He did very well at the combine -- very sharp in the interviews."
Steelers release LB James Harrison in cap move
PITTSBURGH—James Harrison's snarling tenacity made the Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker one of the NFL's most intimidating players for nearly a decade.
Big hits—some legal, some not so much—also turned the outspoken five-time Pro Bowler into focal point for a league-wide crackdown on helmet-to-helmet contact.
Harrison's outlaw image made him beloved in Pittsburgh but reviled elsewhere. His onerous contract, however, no longer worked for a team with serious salary cap issues. The Steelers released the former Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday when the two sides could not agree on a more cap-friendly deal.
"It's been a great run but all good things must come to a end," Harrison posted on his Twitter account Saturday afternoon. "Thank you Steelers Nation I will miss you all!"
Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert and Harrison's agent Bill Parise had spent the last few days trying to iron out a new deal but couldn't reach any common ground. Harrison was entering the final two years of a $51-million extension he signed in 2009 and was scheduled to make $6.57 million in 2013.
Instead, Harrison—who turns 35 in May—will find himself looking for work for the first time since he became a fixture on the right side of Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense in 2006.
"James has been an integral part of our success during his years in Pittsburgh and has helped us win two Lombardi trophies during that time," Colbert said in a
statement. "We appreciate all of his efforts and wish him the best."
Harrison is the first cap move by the Steelers this offseason as they try to get under the $123 million salary cap by Tuesday, when the new league year begins. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker Lawrence Timmons have restructured their contracts to help get Pittsburgh under the cap number but Colbert told reporters after the Steelers finished a disappointing 8-8 in 2012 "terminations" would also be necessary.
"Sooner or later you have to pay the debt and you never want to get to a point where you have to gut your team and start over because we have to compete for a championship every year," Colbert said in January.
This isn't the first time the Steelers have released a star to save money. They let go wide receiver Hines Ward and linebacker James Farrior last spring, but unlike Ward and Farrior—who both retired rather than sign elsewhere—Harrison remains intent on playing in 2013.
Harrison missed the first three games of the 2012 season with a minor knee injury but was one of Pittsburgh's steadiest performers over the second half of the year. He finished with six sacks, tied for the team lead, and a pair of forced fumbles as the Steelers finished No. 1 in total defense for the fourth time since Harrison became a starter.
"James has played a major role in the success of this organization during his time in Pittsburgh," coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement. "I appreciate everything he has done in my six years as head coach."
In many ways Harrison's success is emblematic of "The Steeler Way." Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2002, Harrison spent two years on the practice squad before getting signed by the Baltimore Ravens, who sent the undersized Harrison—listed at 6-feet—to NFL Europe for some seasoning. The Ravens eventually cut him loose and Pittsburgh brought him back hoping he had matured.
It ended up being one of the better bargains in team history.
Harrison eventually blossomed into one of the league's most feared pass rushers. He helped the Steelers win their fifth Super Bowl in 2006 and was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008, when he collected 16 sacks.
Chasing their second championship in four years, Harrison put together one of the most spectacular plays in Super Bowl history, returning a Kurt Warner interception 100 yards for a touchdown on the final play of the first half in a game the Steelers eventually won 27-23.
Yet Harrison's violent play sometimes came at a hefty price. He was fined multiple times for hits to the head.
Feeling he was being unfairly persecuted by the league, Harrison called commissioner Roger Goodell a "crook" and a "devil" during an interview with Men's Journal in early 2011. Harrison later apologized and promised to clean up his act.
It didn't exactly work. Harrison was suspended for a game in December, 2011 after his helmet smacked into Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy's facemask a moment after McCoy released the ball.
Harrison did not receive any letters from the commissioner's office in 2012 but his physical style of play took a toll on his body. He missed all of training camp with a knee injury and admitted he had endured "a dozen" concussions over the course of his career.
The Steelers hope they have Harrison's replacement in 24-year-old Jason Worilds, who finished with five sacks in limited action last season.
Aren't they german.... I think we should have gave them a loan, allowed them to build in the suburbs, and build a stadium without a roof that would have cost at least 200 million less.... the local partner can do whatever they want (ramsey county or what not)
So lets say a 700 million dollar stadium, minus 500 million wilfs and 200 million from Ramsey County would have been fine by me if I lived in Minnesota and not Ramsey County, as for the Roads around the area that was just a gay liberal move by Dayton and his pro-Minneapolis Bias.... further tax breaks would have been fine (you know like no property tax for 30 years; they haven't paid one ever btw)
Zygi Wilf - Minnesota Vikings
An Orthodox Jew, Wilf emigrated with his parents from Europe in the early 1950s and grew up in New Jersey. He has fond memories of watching New York Giants football games in Yankee Stadium in the 1960s. Wilf's real estate business, Garden Homes Development, enabled him to buy the Vikings four years ago and the executive leadership includes his brother, Mark Wilf, his cousin, Leonard Wilf, and his nephew, Jeffrey Wilf. The Vikings have focused on being civic and corporate leaders and Wilf's philanthropy is well-known.
I see Jews that emigrated from Germany, thanks for the update.
Zygi Wilf was born in Germany on April 22, 1950. His parents, Joseph and Elizabeth Wilf, are both Holocaust survivors from Nazi occupied Poland. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zygi_Wilf
I always thought that Wilf looked weird and non-german.... For a while I was worried they were armenalings but found out he was born in Germany.
I still think a outdoor stadium and a loan along with not paying property taxes would have been the right choice
The Minnesota Vikings have agreed to trade wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, sources confirmed to ESPN.
The trade is expected to include the Seahawks' 2013 first-round draft choice being swapped to the Vikings, sources told ESPN.
It also is contingent on Harvin agreeing to a new contract and is expected to be finalized in the next 48 hours.
The trade agreement, contingent on Harvin passing a physical, was earlier reported by Fox Sports.
Seattle has a connection to Harvin. The team's offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, held the same job with Minnesota when the Vikings drafted Harvin in 2009.
Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman posted a message on Twitter, welcoming Harvin to the team.
"Welcome to the Team bruh @Percy_Harvin ... Happy to have ya," he wrote.
When asked about the trade, Seahawks receiver Golden Tate, whose spot on the Seahawks' depth chart will be altered with the addition of Harvin, told Josina Anderson that "it's a business."
"The Seahawks are trying to do whatever they think is necessary to put together a Super Bowl quality team. If this is one of the steps they think works to accomplish that then that's their choice. I don't think it will impact any of our work habits. We are still going to grind and let the cards play out the way that they will," he said.
Last month at the scouting combine, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman insisted he had no intent to deal the receiver, who he called a "dynamic playmaker," and said he wouldn't even take phone calls about a trade.
Harvin, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, badly sprained his left ankle on Nov. 4 at Seattle last season and didn't play again. The Vikings placed him on season-ending injured reserve a month later.
Harvin made waves last summer when he expressed unhappiness with the organization and requested a trade. By the time training camp arrived, he had simmered down. He went home to Florida for his rehabilitation after he was placed on injured reserve, but coach Leslie Frazier downplayed his absence, noting that others have chosen to do the same.
He started last season playing like a Most Valuable Player award candidate, leading the league in total yards (receiving, rushing and returning) through nine games in 2012 until he was hurt.
Harvin still led the team in receptions (62) and yards receiving (677) despite playing barely half of a season, and he had a kickoff return for a touchdown as well as 96 yards rushing and one score on the ground.
The 24-year-old Harvin has 7,168 all-purpose yards in his four-season career with 29 touchdowns (20 receiving, five return, four rushing). He also has 280 receptions in 54 career games.
Seattle sends this years first round pick and a 7th rounder as well as a mid-round pick next year for Harvin. Win-win for both
No indication Vikings are in on Mike Wallace
If the NFL's three-day negotiating period revealed anything, it was that the Minnesota Vikings aren't as excited about free agent receiver Mike Wallace as some of you have thought or hoped. Nothing that has happened so far is binding, meaning the Vikings could jump into the fray at any time, but for the moment ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that "the league-wide expectation" is Wallace will sign as early as Tuesday with the Miami Dolphins.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King, meanwhile, reported: "Miami didn't have much, if any, competition for a big-money deal" with Wallace.
Frankly, if you're surprised by this development, you haven't been paying attention. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has repeated his team-building philosophy often in the year since he was promoted to this role: He would acquire blue-chip players via the draft and supplement the roster via free agency. At the very least, he would have been making a significant exception to pursue Wallace.
Serious involvement in those negotiations would require a commitment probably of $11 million annually or more. In the video, Schefter said Wallace will be the only player in free agency to get a deal that exceeds $10 million annually. The Vikings have the salary cap space to do it, but the ramifications would be notable. Among others, it would suggest the Vikings have no plans to extend receiver Percy Harvin's contract and would have limited leverage in subsequent trade talks.
I think we can all agree the Vikings need to upgrade their receiving corps. Pursuing Wallace is one avenue, and conceivably it could still come to fruition. But history and precedent tells us the Vikings' likeliest path was not through signing the most coveted player in free agency.
Percy Harvin to Seahawks: Initial thoughts
That did not take long. Fifty-five minutes after our wouldn't-this-be-fun post linking Percy Harvin to the NFC West, it's looking very much like Harvin is headed to the Seattle Seahawks for draft choices.
HarvinESPN's Adam Schefter called Seattle the front-runner at 12:45 p.m. ET. Fox's Jay Glazer reported a trade agreement in principle at 1:02 p.m. ET. According to Glazer, the Seahawks and Vikings have agreed to a trade involving draft choices and pending Harvin passing a physical examination. NFL.com 's Ian Rapoport subsequently reported at 1:10 p.m. ET that Harvin was en route to Seattle and that a deal was done.
My thoughts on Harvin and Seattle, as posted earlier Monday:
"Seattle has salary-cap flexibility and ample trade ammunition via 10 draft choices, second-most in the NFL. In a perfect world, adding more of a downfield perimeter threat might make more sense than adding Harvin.
"Still, the Seahawks have demonstrated a willingness to pay for young free agents on offense (Sidney Rice, Zach Miller). The team could use another weapon for quarterback Russell Wilson.
"Coach Pete Carroll frequently says he values players with unique skill sets. His defense is filled with players unusually proportioned or otherwise equipped for their positions. His quarterback is unconventional. Harvin is truly a unique player in the NFL. He has scored touchdowns rushing, receiving and in the return game. He can line up just about anywhere in the formation, from the slot to running back.
"Seattle has a connection to Harvin. The team's offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, held the same job with Minnesota when the Vikings drafted Harvin in 2009. Imagine the options for an offense featuring Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Harvin, Rice, Golden Tate and Miller."
I don't know what the Seahawks would give up in the deal, or what they would pay Harvin. But I think the deal makes a great deal of sense for some of the reasons outlined above, and a few outlined below.
Seattle stepped into a championship window last season with Wilson's development as a top quarterback. Wilson will play the next couple seasons under the bargain-basement contract he signed as a rookie third-round draft choice. Having relatively little money tied up in Wilson and very little tied up on the NFL's top-ranked scoring defense gives the team flexibility that won't exist to the same degree in a few years.
Harvin comes with some baggage. He has been a high-maintenance player for various reasons while with Minnesota. However, Carroll is a flexible coach. Harvin will come to Seattle knowing Bevell and Rice, who were with him in Minnesota. He'll get to grow with Wilson, who has already shown himself to be a dynamic leader.
The Seahawks have credibility in making this move. They've made very few bad ones under Carroll and general manager John Schneider. Wilson's presence as a dynamic player and leader puts Seattle in position to maximize its investment in Harvin.
Seattle sends this years first round pick and a 7th rounder as well as a mid-round pick next year for Harvin. Win-win for both
Possible This years 3rd rounder from Seattle as well, reports seem to indicate not; for the most part though
Vikings tender Jefferson and Sherels
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.— According to reports, the Minnesota Vikings have tendered offers to cornerback A.J. Jefferson and returner/cornerback Marcus Sherels before NFL free agency opens Tuesday.
Jefferson, who was acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in a preseason trade last year, was a restricted free agent and received the low restricted tender of $1.33 million, as first reported by the Baltimore Sun. The tender will allow Minnesota to match any offer Jefferson, as a restricted free agent, will receive from any other team during free agency.
Jefferson, 24, had 31 tackles and one fumble recovery last year for the Vikings as a reserve cornerback.
Sherels, 25, was offered a one-year,$555,000 deal as an exclusive rights free agent on Monday, according to espn1500.com . Sherels, Minnesota's top punt returner last year, would have been a free agent if the Vikings didn't offer Sherels a contract.
Seattle got raped in this trade for a injury prone nancy boy any comments?
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