Free Agency Preview - Offense

Posted Mar 10, 2013

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Below is a list of offensive 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.


Christian Ponder is the team’s starter, and while he’ll have to perform well to keep his job (as all NFL players must do), the team has gone on record as saying they are looking to hold a competition to upgrade the depth chart behind Ponder. You can count on McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Joe Webb to compete for that spot. Will the team look to the open market to add to that competition? I’m not sure. If they do, here are a few options on the market…

Tyler Thigpen
Jason Campbell:
Backed up Jay Cutler in Chicago last season, plenty of starting experience.
Ryan Fitzpatrick
Brady Quinn
Rex Grossman
Josh Johnson
Derek Anderson
Kellen Clemons
David Carr: See Campbell, Jason.
Caleb Hanie
Byron Leftwich

Offensive line
The Vikings are anticipating the return of all 5 starters along the offensive line, so we’ll disregard the following players because they’ll be looking for starting jobs only: OG Brandon Moore and OTs Jake Long, Eric Winston, Sebastian Volmer and Andre Smith. It’s never a bad idea to fortify depth along the offensive line, though. Here are a few options…

OG Brandon Moore
OT Willie Colon:
Recent cut by Pittsburgh. Experienced.
OT Ryan Harris: Minnesota native and product of Notre Dame.
G/T Nate Garner
G Matt Slauson
G Leroy Harris
OT Jeff Otah
LT Demetress Bell
G Tyronne Green
T/G Khalif Barnes

G Lance Louis
G/T Eben Britton
LT Jason Smith: Parlayed all-star Combine performance into being drafted 2nd overall by St. Louis in 2009.
G Rob Turner
OT Max Starks:
Crafty veteran.
OT Winston Justice
LT Bryant McKinnie
OT Jammal Brown
RG Stephen Peterman
C Brad Meester
OT Barry Richardson

Wide Receivers
The most discussed position on the Vikings roster this offseason has been wide receiver, and it will continue to be that way during free agency and through the draft. The wide receiver free agent market appears top-heavy at first glance, while the pool of receivers in the draft seems deeper than it is top-heavy. Here’s a list of unrestricted free agent receivers (with no distinction between X and Z receivers)…

Greg Jennings
Darius Heyward-Bey: Former 1st-rounder in Oakland recently cut. Intriguing young player with dominant physical trait - speed.
Ted Ginn: Added bonus in that he’s a talented returner.
Laurent Robinson
Early Doucet: A 3rd-round pick of Arizona in 2008, Doucet’s best season was in 2011 and Arizona cut him this past weekend to save money.
Brandon Gibson
Kevin Ogletree
Devery Henderson
Kevin Walter
Ramses Barden
Julian Edelman
Mohamed Massaquoi
Steve Breaston: Injury concerns (knee)?
Josh Cribbs: Appealing kick/punt return ability.
Brandon Tate
Austin Collie:
Career has been sidetracked because of injuries.

Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph emerged as a playmaker in 2012 with 9 TDs and he’s joined in the position group by veteran John Carlson and versatile 2012 draft choice Rhett Ellison. This is one of the stronger position groups on the Vikings roster, but no one is against adding more good players to the roster. There are several talented TEs set to become free agents…

Brandon Myers: Flashes of production with Oakland.
Fred Davis: A torn Achilles tendon last year is a factor to consider, but could also result in a bargain price for his services.
Kellen Davis
Randy McMichael

Running Backs
The Vikings have a pair of starting-caliber RBs on the roster in Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, which makes for an unappealing destination for free agent runners looking to find a niche as a starter. But it makes for an appealing landing spot for runners looking to hone their skills. There are runners of both varieties in this year’s class of free agent running backs…

Bernard Scott: Has upside of a starter.
Ahmad Bradshaw
Leon Washington: Explosive returner
LaRod Stephens-Howling: See above.
Felix Jones: Tons of raw ability.
Greg Jones (FB)
Beanie Wells:
Recently released by Arizona. Former first-rounder with upside but disappointing resume.
Peyton Hillis
Rashad Jennings

Danny Woodhead
Cedric Benson
Michael Turner