Minnesota Vikings: Ranking the 2014 Impact of Free-Agent Signings So Far

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Minnesota Vikings: Ranking the 2014 Impact of Free-Agent Signings So Far
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The Minnesota Vikings have had an excellent start to free agency in 2014, choosing to fill several holes on the depth chart for reasonable amounts of money.

Rather than dropping a huge amount of money to make a splashy signing at one position, Minnesota has instead spent wisely and given themselves flexibility heading toward the draft.

Think of it as spackling some holes in the wall rather than adding a hot tub in the backyard.

Following the 2013 season, the Vikings biggest needs were on pass defense, in the middle of the defensive line and, obviously, at quarterback.

Those needs were addressed as efficiently as possible. No gargantuan contracts that would strap the team down the line were handed out. The team got younger, and hopefully better, at several positions of concern.

In the process, the team has probably said goodbye to three of its more popular players in recent years in Toby Gerhart, Jared Allen and Kevin Williams.

While it made no sense on either side to bring back Gerhart or Allen for both financial and competitive reasons, the team's seeming non-interest in bringing back Williams has raised some eyebrows.

It's another of the constant reminders that the NFL is a business. Williams wouldn't start in 2014, so the team made the decision to sign backups Fred Evans and Tom Johnson for probably less than half of the price it would have cost them to bring Williams back.

On paper, it makes sense not to pay a backup in the $3 million to $4 million range. One hopes that this move doesn't start to smell like the ill-fated decision not to re-sign Antoine Winfield last summer.

While we won't know how any of Minnesota's free-agency moves turn out until games start being played next fall, here we rank the probable impact of the Vikings' signings over the last month.

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