It is imperative the Vikings keep several key free agents in order to remain competitive in the NFC North.
The following list contains only the big name free agents we have available come free agency—when and if it ever sees the light of day.
The importance of keeping this free agent is on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being high priority. You may differ, so please feel free to offer a legitimate counter.
Sidney Rice: 8. Unless we can land someone of equal value, the Vikings need to keep him on board.
Ray Edwards: 6. I think Ray Edwards is going to find out how sweet he has it in Minnesota when and if he ends up with some sub-standard defense.
Ben Leber: 7. Again, this all hinges on whether the Vikings can find someone of equal value. Erin Henderson, Leber's back-up, is also a free agent and usually guys like that wind up going somewhere else because they think they can start. Henderson is a RFA though, and he may want to hang with big brother.
Naufahu Tahi: 7. Unless we want Gearhart or Kleinsasser as our FBs, we pretty much need this guy.
Greg Lewis: 3. If we release Berrian, then we are banking on newly-signed Arceneaux (intriguing player), Baskett or the rookie Burton. I think a lot of this hinges on whether we lose Rice and do/do not replace his spot.
Ryan Cook: 6.5. I know there are a lot of Cook haters out there, but what you have to think about now is he has experience and is an adequate to above-average back-up. The two draft picks, Love or Fusco, could fill the void, but Cook can play both guard positions and RT if need be. Something to think about before we let him run off.
Fred Evans: 5. His number should probably be higher, but I really don't think Minnesota will be able to keep him on the ship because of Ballard, and we have already signed two necessary keepers on D: Greenway and Robison.
Hussain Abdullah: 7. Until we get adquate play from others, Abdaullah needs to stay. The guy had 75 tackles, seven passes defended and three INTs. He has range and just enough experience to run the show back there.
Ryan Longwell: 8. Look, the guy is ageless and from about 44 yards in, he's practically automatic. Unless we find some accurate thunder foot, Longwell has to stay. Too many games are coming down to field goals anymore.
Tarvaris Jackson: 10. Just kidding, that was a typo. Actually though, before you take the ax to this guy consider two things. What if Hasselbeck signs with the Cardinals, and McNabb does not want to come in and be the guy for just one year? What does that leave FA wise? I like Gradkowski, but he is younger and most likely is looking for a place to start. Bulger is a big question mark right now because we have not seen him play for a while. The other FA QBs are relative scrubs. Man, did I make some mommies mad there.
Jackson can be signed for a one-year tender if no one else scoops him up, and he can hold down the fort until Ponder is ready. Will that happen? Probably not, but it's not out of the realm of possibilities, just consider that.
Some of our other FAs—good riddance, we can find replacements, hopefully.