Before suffering a bout with cancer that he overcame, Mark Herzlich of Boston College was viewed as a first-round prospect by many, despite the lack of affection given to his position in recent years.
Middle linebacker may not be the most important position anymore with teams going to an outside passing attack, but it is still where the leadership comes from. Herzlich is a very authoritative figure and will provide a vocal voice for whatever team picks him up.
The Vikings would be well served by giving this guy a serious look once the free agency door opens up. He is a major force in the middle, a place that E.J. Henderson has often vacated due to injury.
Teams passed on Herzlich this past draft because of the risk of the cancer returning. But now that he can be had without using a draft pick, he will be in high demand. Imagine having a shot at Ray Lewis but not having to draft him.
Another reason the Vikings should seriously get into the bidding for Herzlich is that the linebacker corp on the roster currently, though deep and reliable, is by no means special. Henderson is getting older, as well as the aforementioned injuries. And Ben Leber is more than likely gone. Adding some competition and a possible future Pro Bowler is always a smart idea, but particularly important this year for Minnesota.
Herzlich's career stats at Boston College: 314 tackles, three sacks, 11 interceptions, 7 forced fumbles and two touchdowns.
Not bad, eh?