Free Agents the Minnesota Vikings Should Have on Their Radar

Andy RAnalyst IJuly 5, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 25: Matt Jones #18 of the Jacksonville Jaguars warms up prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida on November 25, 2007.  The Jaguars beat the Bills 36-14.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

With the NFL season nearly two months away, the free-agent market has been picked through and the best players are well on their way with their new teams.

The Vikings haven't turned to free agency this season to improve their roster. Their only pickups to date are wide receiver/special teams player Glenn Holt and cornerback Karl Paymah.

For a pass defense that ranked 18 and a pass offense that ranked 25, those aren't the upgrades you want.

The biggest problem the Vikings face is depth. They have little to none on the defensive side of the ball.

While the Vikings don't have a ton of money to spend, there are still some free agents that could potentially make a big impact for the Vikings.

Matt Jones (wide receiver)

He was released this past offseason due to drug and alcohol related charges. He has been suspended several times by the Jaguars for his substance abuse and recently violated his probation by drinking alcohol at a golf course.

While he has some history of poor behavior, he would still be a solid addition for the Vikings.

He has deceptive speed and really started to prove that he was a reliable wide receiver, catching 65 balls for 761 yards and two touchdowns. That was only in 12 games, too.

His 6'6" frame would be great next to Bernard Berrian. It's amazing that he hasn't acquired any interest in the free-agent market.

Marvin Harrison (wide receiver)

He's old. Glad we got that out of the way.

He still caught more balls than any other receiver on the Vikings' roster.

He's had some injury problems over the last two seasons, but still has great hands and would compliment a speedy Berrian.

Harrison is a possession receiver now, something the Vikings could use.

The only way the Vikings should sign him is at a salary cap friendly contract, but I don't see that happening.

Jon Runyan (offensive tackle)

He's up there in age, but the Vikings don't really have a solid option at right tackle yet.

I'm all for Phil Loadholt starting, but if he or Bryant McKinnie gets injured, the Vikings don't have a reliable backup.

Runyan has experience protecting Donovan McNabb and blocking for Brian Westbrook.

Marcus Washington (outside linebacker)

He, too, has been injury prone, but we don't need a starter.

Last year showed how valuable a backup can be for the Vikings. When E.J. Henderson went down, the Vikings couldn't find a reliable linebacker to replace their captain.

Behind Napoleon Harris, the Vikings don't have any depth at the position. Heath Farwell is a special teams player and draft pick Jasper Brinkley is only a rookie. It remains to be seen how well he can play.

Washington is a solid pass-rusher and has the size and ability to defend the pass.

Chris McAlister (cornerback)

He missed quite a few games the last two seasons, playing for the physical Baltimore Ravens.

He was released this past offseason due to salary cap issues.

While the Vikings already have Antoine Winfield manning the number one position, McAlister would do well as a backup to Winfield and Griffin or even starting in place of Griffin.

With 26 career interceptions, he would help a defense that combined for only 12 last season.

McAlister would do best if he can roam the field. He could make a good safety as well.

Mike McKenzie (cornerback)

His role diminished as the season went on. He battled nagging injuries and couldn't find his stride again.

After being released from the Saints, McKenzie is looking for a new home and, at 33, he likely won't find a starting job.

The Vikings need a nickel corner. With Charles Gordon being the immediate option, McKenzie wouldn't have much competition.

With McKenzie lacking the speed to cover the deep routes, he would best fill in doing what the Vikings have struggled to do in recent years, defending the slant routes.

He would join a long list of former Packers to join the Vikings.

Corey Chavous (safety)

The cornerback turned safety flourished with the Vikings during his four-year tenure.

In 2003, he made eight interceptions and earned his only trip to the Pro Bowl.

After the 2005 season, he was allowed to test the free agent market due to high salary demands.

With second-year player Tyrell Johnson ready to man the strong safety position, Chavous could provide excellent depth as well as spot starts to ease Johnson's transition to a starting role.

He is a tackling machine who would be welcomed back for his second stint with the Vikings.


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