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3 NFC North Foes in 81-90 Group of NFL.com's 101 Top Potential Free Agents

Posted Mar 6, 2018

The Vikings.com 2018 Free Agency Primer series uses NFL.com’s Top 101 Free Agents list to break down this year’s class. We will count down the groups of players until March 14 when free agency is scheduled to open. 

The list was composed by Gregg Rosenthal and Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. Career stats are taken from NFL.com and/or pro-football-reference.com and apply to regular seasons, unless noted.

Note: The list may end up changing prior to free agency opening, but this breakdown is updated as of March 5.

Schedule

91-101: Monday, March 5
81-90: Tuesday, March 6
71-80: Wednesday, March 7
61-70: Thursday, March 8
51-60: Friday, March 9
41-50: Saturday, March 10
31-40: Sunday, March 11
21-30: Monday, March 12
11-20: Tuesday, March 13
1-10: Wednesday, March 14

In NFL.com’s second grouping of free agents, three are currently on NFC North rosters and familiar faces for Minnesota.

Safety Tavon Wilson has spent the past two seasons with the Lions, during which he recorded 142 total tackles (114 solo), four passes defensed, three interceptions, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

In Chicago, two Bears defenders are scheduled to become free agents: linebacker Jerrell Freeman and veteran defensive end Pernell McPhee, whom the Vikings have faced five times since 2011.

The grouping also contains two running backs who will become free agents after spending their entire career with one team – Cincinnati’s Jeremy Hill and Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin.

81. QB Colin Kaepernick, Free agent  

69 career games; 58 starts; completed 1,011 of 1,692 career attempts (59.8 percent) for 12,271 yards with 72 touchdowns and 30 interceptions; 88.9 career quarterback rating

Kaepernick hasn’t played since the 2016 season, but the quarterback has maintained interest in signing with a team and could be a strong option as a potential starter or quality backup. Kaepernick spent six seasons with the 49ers and helped lead the team to an appearance in Super Bowl LXVII. 

82. S Tavon Wilson, Lions

79 career games; 27 starts; 218 tackles; eight interceptions; one defensive touchdown; 3.0 sacks; 14 passes defensed; one forced fumble; four fumble recoveries

Wilson started his pro career in New England, where he played four seasons – including a rookie campaign with four interceptions – before signing with Detroit in 2016.

83. RB Jeremy Hill, Bengals

54 career games; 43 starts; 704 career carries for 2,873 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and 29 rushing touchdowns; 67 career receptions for 484 yards and one touchdown

After playing four seasons for the Bengals, Hill could become eligible to test the waters of free agency. Hill became a full-time starter for Cincinnati in 2015 and started all but one game over two seasons. In 2017, he shared carries with rookie Joe Mixon, and in November he was placed on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury.

84. WR Eric Decker, Titans

111 career games; 83 starts; 439 career receptions for 5,816 yards (13.2 yards per reception) and 53 touchdowns

A familiar name to Minnesotans, the former Golden Gopher has played with three teams since entering the NFL in 2010. Most recently, Decker spent the 2017 season in Tennessee, where his production seemed to decrease in the wake of recovering from a shoulder injury suffered the previous September.

85. LB Jerrell Freeman, Bears

70 career games; 70 starts; 647 tackles; two interceptions; two defensive touchdowns; 12 sacks; 21 passes defensed; nine forced fumbles; four fumble recoveries

After three seasons in the Canadian Football League, Freeman started his NFL career off strong with the Colts (2012-15). He has been productive for the Bears when on the field, but in addition to receiving two suspensions over the past two seasons, Freeman also suffered a pectoral injury in Week 1 of the 2017 season.

86. DE/OLB Pernell McPhee, Bears

96 career games; 23 starts; 186 tackles; one interception; 31 sacks; 12 passes defensed; six forced fumbles; one fumble recovery

McPhee spent four years with Baltimore before moving to the NFC North in 2015. He’s an impact player for the Bears defense when healthy, but he played only 22 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.

87. RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers

68 career games; 65 starts; 1,150 career carries for 4,633 yards (4.0 yards per carry) and 26 rushing touchdowns; 130 career receptions for 1,091 yards and two touchdowns

Martin recorded an up-and-down career in Tampa Bay. He is a two-time Pro Bowler (2012, 2015), received All-Pro honors in 2015 and has notched two seasons of more than 1,400 rushing yards. Martin has dealt with injuries, however; over the past two seasons, he played only 19 games and averaged just 2.9 yards per carry.

88. DE Kony Ealy, Jets

62 career games; 19 starts; 94 tackles; 2 interceptions; 15 sacks; 14 passes defensed; six forced fumbles; two fumble recoveries

Although never having been a full-time starter at the pro level, Ealy has held his own – with the Panthers from 2014-16 and during the 2017 season for the Jets – and could be a good option for a team looking to add depth to its defensive line.

89. DE/OLB Alex Okafor, Saints

52 career games; 35 starts; 120 tackles; one interception; 18 sacks; eight passes defensed; three forced fumbles; two fumble recoveries

The Vikings saw Okafor in the 2017 season opener, in which he tallied four tackles for the Saints. The defensive end had a solid run in his first season with New Orleans but will be coming off an Achilles tear he suffered in November.

90. CB Johnathan Joseph, Texans

172 career games; 161 starts; 645 tackles; 28 interceptions; seven defensive touchdowns; 172 passes defensed; seven forced fumbles; six fumble recoveries

Joseph has been an impact player since entering the league in 2006, starting all but 11 of the 172 games he’s played. The two-time Pro Bowler (2011-12) will turn 34 in April but he started all 16 games last season and recorded two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.