Below is a list of defensive free agents, broken down by position. A few things to note before perusing the list…
-- These lists are comprised of unrestricted free agents (UFAs) and street free agents. There are no restricted free agents listed.
-- Names are not listed in alphabetical order, which implies they are listed in a ranked order. The problem with ranking free agents is that different teams can rank different players using different criteria. Charles Woodson, for example, is a guy one team may look at as too old to justify offering him a significant contract. But another team may look at Woodson as the perfect veteran complement to a young safety on a team that needs leadership. That difference in viewpoint results in a dramatic difference in ranking.
-- We’ll do our best to keep up with the signings by removing players once they sign with a team.
One of the Vikings strongpoints is their defensive line. But that doesn’t mean the team should rest on its laurels and not think about adding talent to this group…
Matt Shaughnessy: Underrated player but may be looking for 3-4 defense.
Israel Idonije: Could pilfer from division rival Bears, but plays same position as Robison.
Lawrence Jackson: I like him more than most, but possible fit given market for him and role he could play with the Vikings.
Osi Umenyiora: 75.0 sacks in 9 seasons with NY Giants.
Victor Butler: See Barwin, Connor.
Kyle Vanden Bosch
Richard Seymour: Entering his 13th season, so age is a factor.
With just one starter from last season (
MLB Rey Maualuga: I get mixed reviews on him when talking to those who know more about it than I. Will be interesting to see what the market bears for him.
OLB Daryl Smith: Seems underrated to me, but he’s 31 years old. Maybe age will make him a bargain?
OLB Shaun Phillips: Had 11.0 sacks in 2010 and 9.5 last season, but not sure he fits in a 4-3 scheme.
MLB Brian Urlacher: Are age, injuries and Father Time creeping up on this future Hall of Famer? Or experience, leadership and coverage ability make him a viable short-term option?
LB Brad Jones: Versatile young player with 23 starts (10 last year) in Green Bay past 4 seasons.
LB Justin Durant: Has played both inside and outside for Detroit.
LB DJ Williams
LB James Anderson
LB Nick Roach: Better fit at outside linebacker, but he did fill in for Brian Urlacher at times.
LB Will Herring
MLB Nick Barnett: Ex-Packers and now ex-Bills LB with 10 seasons of wear and tear, but he did start all 16 games and have over 100 tackles just last year.
OLB James Harrison: Released by Pittsburgh over the weekend for cap purposes.
OLB Antwan Barnes
LB Dan Connor
LB Takeo Spikes
It’s always a good idea to have plenty of defensive backs at your disposal. Many times you need five of them on the field for a defensive play, and defensive backs are often times significant contributors on several phases of special teams. There are a ton of defensive backs set to hit the market and we can’t get to all of them, but here are a few names to bat around…
Brent Grimes: One of my favorite CBs on the market last offseason, but Achilles injury in September is something to think about.
Antoine Cason: Just 26 years old and has 11 INTs in 5 seasons to his credit. Intriguing.
Mike Jenkins: Production has gone down in Dallas, but maybe it’s because he fell out of favor?
Captain Munnerlyn: I may have him higher than most. Love his attitude and experience.
Ed Reed: Still can play and will be a Hall of Famer, but Father Time will win at some point.
Bernard Pollard: Recent Ravens cut. Aggressive, leader, experienced.
Adrian Wilson: Seems odd to have this name this far down the list, but Father Time catches up to everyone at some point. Has it caught Wilson?
Charles Woodson: Big name to be available, but does he have any gas left in the tank? Hard to bet against a future Hall of Famer.