Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
An all too familiar scene, WRs running by former Viking Madieu Williams
The Vikings have struck gold with a few free agents, but for the most part this is an area that has backfired.
They're not alone. Most teams pursue free agents to fill critical voids.
What sets the Vikings apart is their absolute requirement to be aggressive with free agency. When you lose two or three draft choices every season, you must look at free agency to compensate for those moves.
Vikings fans are all too familiar with how giddy it felt to lure Brett Favre into the fold in 2009 and watch a rejuvenated team win. But how quickly that flame of excitement was snuffed out with an ignominious thud.
2010 was a debacle from beginning to end, and the Vikings looked like a franchise in reverse.
Here are some notable free agent signings within the past few years. Not all of it is negative.
Donovan McNabb: Even though this was a trade, I view him as a free agent because the Redskins were going to release him anyway. We pushed the panic button on the deal.
Michael Jenkins: Currently on IR and has not made the impact the Vikings hoped for or expected.
Devin Aromashodu: A second tier receiver is just that, second tier. He has shown some flashes, but he just seems to be too inconsistent.
Remi Oyodele: Has had an up and down year. Next year will be pivotal in the assessment of his free agent value.
Brett Favre: Ah, Brett. If we could have just gotten you a few years earlier. We can "what if" all day long. It was a great, albeit brief, run.
Visanthe Shiancoe: The mouth of Minnesota is more that than productivity. I will credit him for at least looking like he's working his tail off. I worry that he can no longer separate and that only Kyle Rudolph lingers in the wings. If Shiancoe would accept a secondary role next year, I foresee the Vikings hanging on to him. Otherwise, his days appear to be numbered. I would say his return to investment value is a wash.
Antoine Winfield: Perhaps the Vikes' greatest free agent pick. He has been all of that and more, but time is not on his side. Too bad, we sure need him.
Pat Williams: Another great free agent acquisition who is no longer with the team. For several years he helped lead the Vikings defensive line in run yards per game and girth.
Defensive Backs: The list is too long and mostly filled with duds, thuds, and slugs. Madieu Williams never seemed to find his footing here and is now trying to make his name in San Fransisco. Case closed.