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Free Agency Preview: Safeties

Posted Mar 6, 2014

Over the next several days leading up to the launch of the 2014 League Year on Tuesday, March 11, vikings.com will unveil its 2014 Free Agency Preview. NFL.com has ranked the top 100 free agents in this year’s class, and our preview will use those rankings to set the stage. As always, we encourage readers to use the space below the story to submit their thoughts.

In 2013, the Vikings surrendered the most passing touchdowns, the second most passing yards and the third highest passer rating. Also, Harrison Smith missed eight games during the season due to injury. On top of all that, new head coach Mike Zimmer is a well-respected defensive mind in the NFL. Add it all up, and you can expect the Vikings to take a hard look at the secondary this offseason to see where they can improve.

Smith is on track to be an elite player at the safety position and fellow starter Jamarca Sanford is a quality starter who is also an elite special teams player. Andrew Sendejo played well in spots last year and Mistral Raymond is also on roster to help provide depth. Does this year’s class of free agents offer any good matches for the Vikings as they look to potentially upgrade a starting spot and certainly look to improve depth?

NFL.com’s Top 10 Free Agent Safeties (overall ranking)

Vikings

1. Jairus Byrd (1)
The top-ranked free agent in the entire class, Byrd has been a difference-maker every step of the way for Buffalo. He has 22 career INTs and 11 career FFs.

2. TJ Ward (11)

3. Malcolm Jenkins (36)
Just 26 years old and with five productive seasons in New Orleans to his credit, Jenkins should appeal to several teams looking to add a starter.

4. Donte Whitner

5. Louis Delmas
Vikings fans are familiar with this name after seeing him twice per year since 2009 as a member of the Lions. He’s a tremendous defender vs. the run.

6. Antoine Bethea
7. Chris Clemons
8. Mike Mitchell
9. Kendrick Lewis

10. James Ihedigbo
Signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jets in 2007, Ihedigbo was most recently with the Ravens and is coming off a season in which he had over 100 tackles and 11 passes defensed.

Other notables: Husain Abdullah, Colt Anderson, Ryan Clark, Ryan Mundy, Ed Reed, Major Wright, Usama Young

Vikings scheduled for free agency
None