A week ago, we took a look at the holes that the team needed to fill heading into the 2014 season. At that point, there were 21 positions that the team needed to fill. Now, after 3 days of free agency and signing players both from within and from the free agent squad, the holes are down to 10.
The team started out by bringing back QB Matt Cassel. That was shortly followed by the re-signing of DE Everson Griffen, and then LB Jasper Brinkley was brought back on board after being cut by his new team. Free agency began and the Vikings immediately jumped out and snatched DT Linval Joseph away from the Giants, while re-signing backups G/C Joe Berger, DT Fred Evans and OLB Larry Dean. Finally, the second biggest Free Agency move the team has made came around when CB Captain Munnerlyn was added to the team today.
So…that’s 8 players added, but didn’t I say that we had improved from 21 holes to 10? Well, I have to admit that the numbers from the first article were thrown out a bit hastily. At that point, I hadn’t considered that the cutting of WR Greg Childs didn’t really count against the team’s needs as he was never a part of the roster in 2013. I also hadn’t figured that we still have practice squad players from last year (Zach Line and Joe Banyard) who can fill in for the loss of Gerhart and Carlson, moving up to the bottom of the depth chart while the guys ahead of them each move up a notch. As far as #2 and #3 RB, Asiata and Banyard should do just fine. The same goes for our #2, #3 & #4 TE/FB which will be filled in by Rhett Ellison, Chase Ford and Zach Line.
That leaves the team with 10 positions of need, and about $10.5 million to pay for it, (that number is based partially on guesses – as I couldn’t find the deal that Brinkley or Evans signed, I assumed they added up to about $3 mill). Expect about $6.5 million of that to go towards the 8 draft picks we currently have, and that leaves the team with $4 million to fill two more positions in free agency. Should the team use it to get two more free agents now, or should they hold on to what’s left and fill in the remaining needs once the draft is concluded? It would be nice to find one more stud in free agency, but it would probably be even better (and smarter) to leave a couple extra holes heading into the draft so they don’t feel forced to draft a position of need instead of BPA. It would also leave the team a bit of extra cash to finalize a contract extension with Kyle Rudolph before the start of the season.
Currently, the team still appears to need players at the following positions:
1 – 0
*Update – CB Derrek Cox has just signed with the team potentially knocking the need down to 9. However, the team now could cut one of the less productive corners to make room, drop an overpaid safety (Sanford anybody?) or just go a more practical route and put one or two of the later draftees on the practice squad.