The Minnesota Vikings are one of a few teams that did not make a huge splash in the free agency market this year, adding only two wide receivers (Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins) and ex-Colts OT Charlie Johnson.
But despite a rather meager showing in the open market, there are still a few players the Vikings should covet before opening day arrives, or before another team scoops them up.
Some of them could even be no farther than their own locker room.
Today I would like to examine who those players are, and break down the latest with each one.
Keep in mind the Vikings have needs at specific positions, and because of that, the remaining balance of FAs is a little thin.
There’s no better place to look than going internally for a budding free agent to covet, with covet being the keyword here.
Coach Frazier already said he expects Cook to take on a larger role back in March, but since then, there has been nothing along the wire to suggest the Vikings are interested in re-signing him.
Anthony Herrera—the player who stands in Cook’s way—is coming off of a sub-par season, and is recovering from an ACL surgery and triceps surgery, and youngster Chris DeGeare is too unproven to solely rely on.
Cook played admirably last year despite early struggles to adjust, but he put everything together by the end of the year, and the Vikings would be wise to not only covet him, but also retain him any way they can.
If the Vikings do nothing with their current linebackers—something we’ll get to in a moment—they are going to have to look elsewhere for help.
One free agent linebacker the Vikings should covet is Browns linebacker Matt Roth.
The reasoning here is due to Roth’s versatility to play in a 3-4 and 4-3 system, as well as the ability to play on the line of scrimmage as a down lineman.
In the past month, only one team has shown any interest in Roth (New England) which means the Vikings could acquire Roth as a basement bargain utility defenseman.
Honorable mention goes to Jaguars linebacker Kirk Morrison, who was going to be mentioned, but will probably be retained by Jacksonville.
One of the more versatile receivers left on the market, Floyd should be a player the Vikings covet for several reasons.
Floyd is a viable down-field threat with size and speed any quarterback would love to have, and Floyd is just champing at the bit to get a starting gig; one that could even feature him more than his role in San Diego.
Floyd would make an excellent addition to this Vikings’ roster, and it is this writer’s opinion that Minnesota could be one of the destinations that Floyd is mulling over.
NFL.com’s Jason LaCanfora recently reported that Floyd is “nearing a decision” with as many as four teams showing interest. He also reports that San Diego is interested in keeping Floyd, but only if the price does not exceed $3 million.
Gaither was once thought of as a franchise tackle in the Houston organization and is still viewed as a Pro Bowl caliber player, despite not having a current contract with anyone.
The reason has been his injuries, which he is now supposedly healed from.
The Raiders were supposedly very interested in the 25-year-old from Maryland, but ESPN's John Clayton reported that the Raiders declined to sign him, opting to re-sign Khalif Barnes to a one-year deal.
Kinda expected from a team that has zero cash to work with.
Gaither did sit all last year, and his back issues could be enough to counter the cost of signing Gaither should the Vikings show interest, but the reward would be more than enough in my opinion.
Another linebacker the Vikings should covet is Redskins mainstay Rocky McIntosh, who is not expected to return to Washington in 2011.
McIntosh never truly blossomed as a RILB under the 3-4 scheme, but still managed to register 289 tackles, 116 assists, eight forced fumbles, three interceptions and seven sacks in five years with the club.
McIntosh is looking for someone to offer him long-term residence, not necessarily a big payout, and the idea of bringing in McIntosh to an aggressive 4-3 scheme after what he did in a scheme he was never comfortable with, should be enough for the organization to salivate over.
Better yet, they could offer McIntosh a one-year “prove it" deal similar to what St, Louis offered to Mike Sims-Walker, and then decide the proper course of action at the end of the year.
A move like that would also act as insurance in the event OLB Chad Greenway and the Vikings fail to reach a long-term agreement next year.