NFL Free Agency: 5 Offseason Moves Minnesota Vikings Fans Will Learn to Love

C. CuseOCorrespondent IIAugust 1, 2011

NFL Free Agency: 5 Offseason Moves Minnesota Vikings Fans Will Learn to Love

0 of 5

    Minnesota Vikings fans are coming into the 2011 season with high spirits but—in reality—low expectations.

    We'd all love to believe that the Vikings brass knows exactly what they're doing and, over time, we've welcome each new move into our lives like a newborn baby. 

    We've seen it time and time again.

    We may hate the new acquisition or "baby" at first, thinking all they're going to do is cry and go to the bathroom (Onterrio Smith reference?), but shortly after we learn to love and accept them.

    We've hated every draft pick (Christian Ponder), every signing (Michael Jenkins), and every trade (Randy Moss), but after mere hours of these moves, Vikings fans across the nation quickly accept what happened and favor the change.

    I'm guilty.

    When Christian Ponder was drafted 12th overall in the 2011 NFL draft, I kicked my dorm wall and sulked in bed for a good half an hour.

    My friends might have laughed a little, but I was hurting.

    How could they reach for a second-round talent when the likes of Prince Awakamura and Nick Fairley were sitting there waiting for us to grab them?

    Then the ole' hour mark came around and the Ponder pick seemed liked the greatest pick in the world to me.

    Why? Because for some reason we always trust the Vikings.

    Are they always right? Well, that's a joke.

    But lets take a look at five moves this offseason that we all scratched our heads at that could very well turn out all right.

    Think optimism, people. 

Signing Michael Jenkins, WR

1 of 5

    The Vikings signed former first-round pick Michael Jenkins this week to fill the gaping whole that Sidney Rice left when he flew away to Seattle

    Jenkins signed a three-year deal and seemed to be the perfect fit, following offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave from Atlanta to the Vikings.

    Why I Hated This at First

    Are you kidding me, Vikings? You sign an average-at-best wideout who has underperformed his entire career? 

    What about Braylon Edwards, Malcolm Floyd? Are we trying to lose next year?

    Jenkins has never had a season with 60 catches or even 800 yards. A perennial No. 2 receiver to be our No. 1?

    Is this a joke?

    Why I Love This Now:

    Jenkins has a huge frame at 6'4" and 217 lbs, which is exactly the big target the Vikings need to fill the void left by Rice. 

    He already knows the playbook, all of the offensive verbiage, which will give him a step up early in the season and allow him to succeed. 

    He will be a huge target for McNabb to find in the end zone, and this guy does have some talent.

    In 2008, he was the No. 2 receiver for rookie quarterback Matt Ryan and reeled in 50 catches for 777 yards.

    Expect those statistics to heavily increase, as McNabb will love to throw the ball up and let Jenkins use his big body to go and get it.

    The best part about the Jenkins signing?

    His speciality is run-blocking, and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave already stated he is building the offense around Adrian Peterson. Peterson will love a new run-blocking receiver to help him out.

    Jenkins, though we may have tried to crucify him at first, was the right signing at the wide receiver position. 

Trading for Donovan McNabb

2 of 5

    Last week, the Vikings traded a 2012 sixth-round pick and a conditional pick to the Washington Redskins for quarterback Donovan McNabb.

    The 34-year-old McNabb had an atrocious year in Washington after being the guy who could never get it done in Philly for years.

    Mama's boy McNabb comes to Minnesota looking to rejuvenate his career and silence his critics.

    Why I Hated This at First

    This washed up loser? Seriously? I have never liked McNabb as a quarterback for one reason: the guy has never won anything.

    Four NFC championship games and not one Superbowl ring to show for it?

    Clearly he's doing something wrong.

    Not only that, but his best years are behind him. He was benched on a dysfunctional Washington squad for the likes of Rex Grossman and John Beck. They haven't been relevant since Pee Wee!

    McNabb, once noted as accurate, threw for 14 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2010 and instead of the Vikings starting their prized rookie, Christian Ponder, they bring in this loser.

    Why I Love This Now

    Wow, I really had some harsh words for the poor guy.

    McNabb is a veteran with a lot of success in the league, and that doesn't come around every day.

    We seem to have gotten him for very cheap, and he also seems to have a rejuvenated will to play now that he has a change of scenery.

    McNabb is still a good quarterback and will thrive under the arsenal of weapons Minnesota has to offer.

    How pretty will McNabb's famous play-action pass be in 2011? Oh baby, I'm starting to salivate.

    The guy can still do more then Campbell's Soup commercials, and he will become an instant leader in the clubhouse.

    Unfortunately for Ponder, he was the bearer of the lockout's wrath and missed crucial offseason tasks for a rookie quarterback.

    McNabb has come in saying he's ready to teach the young guys, but he is also ready to win now.

    Let's see what ole' No. 5 has still got in the tank.  

Drafting Brandon Fusco, Center, in the Sixth Round

3 of 5

    Brandon Fusco will be the Vikings starting center by midseason in 2011.

    Fusco was a sixth-round pick out of Division ll Slippery Rock College and was the only Division ll player invited to the combine.

    He was awarded the best offensive lineman in Division ll, and he is an absolute animal.

    Why I Hated This at First

    This one doesn't count, because I didn't hate this move one bit.

    Why I Love This Now

    Fusco is the most athletic guy we currently have at the center position.

    He has quick feet, and his run-blocking is incredible. 

    He rarely ever makes mistakes, and his pass-blocking is above average and will continue to grow to help out Ponder and McNabb. 

    I love this pick by the Vikings.

    Goodbye Sullivan. Hello Fusco

Letting Ben Leber Walk

4 of 5

    Ben Leber has been a great pickup for the Vikings ever since he joined the team in 2006, but age is catching up with the outside linebacker.

    Entering his 11th season in the NFL, Leber's production has slipped every season since 2007, and it was time for the Vikings to move on and look in a younger direction.

    Leber is currently a free agent, but there have been no reports of contract negotiations between him and the Vikings.

    Why I Hated This at First

    Ben Leber was a leader at the outside linebacker position.

    He captained the defense for the Vikings during the many times when middle linebacker E.J. Henderson was out with injury.

    He is a veteran presence who gets the job done and probably had at least two more years in the tank of effective play.

    Pro Bowl play? No, but he would have gotten the job done and maybe even forced a few fumbles here and there. 

    Why I Love This Now

    For a starting linebacker, 32 years old is just plain old—unless you're Ray Lewis—and it has become apparent with Ben Leber.

    Consecutive seasons of decline is the exact opposite of what I'm looking for when the team is trying to avoid rebuilding.

    The Vikings brought in new linebacker coach Mike Singletary; one of the all-time best.

    It was the perfect time to let Leber go and to let Singletary coach up a young stud like Erin Henderson to become the next starting OLB.

    Henderson will thrive under the opportunity of starting next to his brother E.J., and Singletary will make sure the kid can play or he'll be out of there in a second. 

    The Vikings just became eight years younger at linebacker and have improved the position in-house. 

Not Bringing in a Safety

5 of 5

    The Minnesota Vikings—for lack of better words—failed to bring in any veteran secondary help this offseason. 

    After cutting Madieu Williams, it seemed as if the Vikings had to bring someone in to replace the under-performing Williams.

    Secondary was clearly the weakest part of the Vikings defense in 2010.

    As of right now, the starting safety spot next to Hussain Abdullah is wide open and up for grabs to anyone who wants it.

    Please someone, anyone, take over the safety role and make plays. 

    Why I Hated This at First

    Well, isn't it obvious?

    We have no chance in our division without a capable safety and not one player on our roster has shown us he can play the position effectively.

    The Vikings seem to be enamored with former second-round pick Tyrell Johnson, but after three years of inaduqacy and laughable play, I thought that maybe it would be time to look in a different direction.

    We might have struck gold with Abdullah, who played surprisingly well in 2010, but after that, our secondary is the most comical joke in the league.  

    The Vikings have a bunch of special teams players trying to play safety, and it's clearly not working.

    Why I Love This Now

    Love is a strong word, and there is still nothing I love about the Vikings' secondary.

    After a while, I started to mull over the lack of moves and have recently become more accepting. But I'm a ways away from using the word love. 

    The Vikings' front office clearly has a man-crush on Tyrell Johnson and think that he will one day be a star in this league.

    The former second-round pick has shown time and time again he has not been able to hold his own. But he has provided some big hits, and maybe his play will improve with new defensive coordinator Fred Pagac.

    The real reason I'm okay with not bringing anyone in to sure up the secondary is the developing man-crush I have with sixth-round rookie Mistral Raymond.

    Have I ever seen Raymond play? Only through YouTube.

    Is there a reason he was a sixth-round pick? Yes, but this kid's intangibles and work ethic are through the roof.

    Raymond walked on at the University of South Florida, and his work ethic shone this offseason. He was instrumental at organizing offseason programs at South Florida, exactly what you want to see out of a rookie.

    Because the Vikings' inept front office decided not to bring in any help at secondary, Raymond will receive a legitimate chance to not only make the roster but to earn his stripes on the field.

    I would love to see Raymond start one day, and don't be surprised if you see him be the cause of some mind-blowing hits against opposing offenses in 2011.