The Minnesota Vikings have filled arguably their biggest hole at QB with the advent of Donovan McNabb. Now the Vikings have the bridge-gap for rookie Christian Ponder as well as a capable starter that can help win them games right now.
Along with the trade acquisition of McNabb, the Vikings were also able to sign 14 undrafted rookies that will help to fill their 90-man roster going into training camp.
Unfortunately, the Vikings weren't able to retain top wide-out Sidney Rice, who has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Seattle Seahawks.
With one day to go before any actual transactions can take place between current NFL players and their respective teams, some solid free agents remain available for the Vikings to pursue.
Let's take a look at what players could still earn their horns before the 2011 season begins.
Because the Vikings were not able to retain Rice, they desperately need to find a top receiver.
Their current corps include Bernard Berrian, Jaymar Johnson, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Greg Camarillo and Percy Harvin. The only serviceable player in that group is Harvin, who is most effective in the slot. If the Vikings are unable to give Harvin a player that can stretch the field for him, the young receiver might find it difficult to create space underneath to make plays.
This is where Braylon Edwards comes in.
With Rice and Santonio Holmes off the board, Edwards becomes the best available option.
I doubt the Jets will re-sign Edwards with their interest in bringing CB Nnamdi Asomugha to New York.
I wouldn't be shocked to learn that the Vikings have already contacted Edwards about becoming a Viking.
In my opinion, Edwards in Minnesota is the best case scenario outside of a trade for an non-free-agent.
The Vikings might have to throw some serious coin at Edwards to get him up here to the great white north, but it would certainly be better than Devin Aromashadou.
Obviously, Sims-Walker is in the conversation for all the same reasons as Edwards.
The former Jacksonville Jaguar isn't the sexy option like Edwards, but he is serviceable enough to be a No. 2 option behind Harvin or another veteran receiver that could strengthen the receiver corps as a whole.
Sims-Walker wouldn't be a standout by any means, but he is better than anyone the Vikings have (outside of Harvin, of course).
It would be nice if the Vikings could sign both Sims-Walker and the guy on the next slide.
Don't act like you didn't know this was coming.
A third tour of duty in Minnesota could be the charm for this disgruntled receiver whose agent claims he's in "in freakish shape" as he tries to keep his career alive.
I say why not. In my opinion, Moss is still one of the greatest Vikings in the history of the franchise.
Because of the struggles Moss faced in 2010, he could come with a cheap price tag and a chip on his shoulder in 2011.
If the Vikings take one last chance on Moss, I don't think they will regret it.
Normally, I wouldn't be in favor of another Packer in Minnesota, but in these difficult times for the purple, I'll make an exception.
Bringing in Jones would be beneficial for the Vikings in two ways.
Firstly, the Vikings would be getting a solid receiving option that could stretch the field enough for other players to make plays as well as making some himself.
Secondly, that's one less capable receiver for Aaron Rodgers. If the Vikings could sign Jones, they would take one of Rodgers' better receivers away from him, ultimately leaving some effect on his stats in 2011. I'm not saying that "without James Jones, the Packers are awful," I'm merely saying that without Jones and Donald Driver (who could very possibly retire), the Packers probably won't fare as well in 2011 as they did in 2010.
Jones could still be a free agent to consider.
The news that Eric Weddle and the San Diego Chargers reached an agreement broke my heart.
The Vikings have ignored their need at safety far too long.
With Weddle and former Eagle Quintin Mikell already snatched up, Lanrdy becomes the best free agent option.
Madieu Williams needs to get cut. The Vikings don't have any safeties that, in my mind, are fit to start in the NFL.
Honestly, it doesn't even matter if it is Landry, they just need to bring in somebody and Landry is the best available.
Lets hope the former Raven will soon be a Viking.
This one is certainly a long-shot. Other than Nnamdi Asomugha, Joseph is the best available corner.
He isn't a shut-down corner like Asomugha or Darelle Revis, but Joseph is leaps and bounds better than any corner in a Vikings uniform.
Joseph will want to get paid, so bringing him to Minnesota would require the Vikings to create some cap space.
It is unlikely, but it certainly isn't out of the question.
I had to include Cromartie on this list for the same reason as Joseph.
Cromartie is a serviceable corner and could help the Vikings defense tremendously.
That being said, Cromartie will come with a big price tag. He or Joseph could be good to sign just to keep Detroit from getting them and cementing Minnesota in the bottom of the division for the next few years.
The Vikings may choose to pursue Cromartie, but I don't think Minnesota is on his radar.
I think the Vikings realize that they still have some serious holes to fill on both sides of the ball.
I realize that in this article, I only listed skill players. However, they must look to improve their offensive and defensive lines as well. There are plenty of linemen available that could help them do that.
Regardless, the Vikings still have some money they need to spend if they want to compete in the NFC North. The way I see it, they will need to sign two of the receivers I listed to even be a factor in the division.
One positive way to look at it is that the Vikings played without Sidney Rice in 2010, so it can't get much worse than how it was last season. However, the other teams in the division continue to get better, so the Vikings can't afford to stay stagnant. They need to make a splash in free agency on Thursday and Friday.