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Free Agent Fits, 41-50: A Trio of Linebackers

The vikings.com 2015 Free Agency Preview series uses NFL.com's Top 101 Free Agents list to break down this year's class and take a look at which players may be fits for the Vikings.

1-10: Tuesday
11-20: Monday
21-30: Sunday
31-40: Saturday
41-50: Today
51-60: Click here
61-70: Click here
71-80: Click here
81-90: Click here
91-101: Click here

Check out NFL.com's list of the top 30 free agents.

Speculation about a potential reunion of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer with Bengals linebacker Ray Maualuga ended Thursday when Cincinnati announced he had re-signed a multiyear deal. With that in mind, there are three linebackers in the 41-50 grouping of NFL.com's top 101 free agents for teams to take a look at.

Additionally, this group has two defensive tackles that have shown an ability to penetrate from the interior of the line, similar to the way Tom Johnson did so for the Vikings on his way to a career best 6.5 sacks in 2014. Johnson, who will turn 31 at the end of August, is scheduled to be a free agent Tuesday.

Note: The rankings by NFL.com are subject to change because teams may release players in the coming days, causing them to hit the market.

41. DT Stephen PaeaPaea is wrapping his fourth season with Chicago, capping a span of multiple transitions for the Bears. The 2011 second-round pick has started 40 of 55 games and recorded 12 career sacks. He will turn 27 in May.

42. DT Henry MeltonMelton teamed with Paea for three of his four seasons in Chicago, produced 5.0 sacks in starting three of 16 games for Dallas. Melton has 20.5 career sacks and will turn 29 in October.

43. LB Brandon SpikesSpikes has started 49 of 67 games he's played in five pro seasons. The 2010 second-round pick of New England started 39 of 51 games before spending this past season in Buffalo. With Rex Ryan saying Buffalo would mold its defensive front around its players, Spikes' experience in a 3-4 earlier in his career and 4-3 last season could be a selling point for the 6-foot-3, 250-pounders case to return to Buffalo or could entice more suitors.

44. CB Antonio Cromartie 45. LB Sean WeatherspoonA first-round pick in 2010, Weatherspoon has encountered tough luck the past two seasons, missing nine games in 2013 because of a Lisfranc sprain and all of last season because he ruptured his Achilles tendon during organized team activites. When on the field, however, Weatherspoon was credited as a leader who began handling defensive calls in 2012, and the Falcons defense struggled in his absence.

46. WR Cecil Shorts 47. RB Shane Vereen 48. S Antrel RolleExperience? Check, 10 years (five in Arizona, five with the New York Giants). Versatility? Check, he has played corner, where he was originally drafted eighth overall in 2005, and safety. Rolle has 26 interceptions, 69 passes defensed and has started 139 of 148 games. Teams must take a look at whether the 32-year-old Rolle can fit a roll.

49. T Doug FreeFree agency is anything but for teams, but Doug Free has 82 starts and 92 games of experience to offer a team looking to bolster its offensive line.

50. LB Rolando McClainSelected eighth overall by the Raiders, McClain's path to becoming the Cowboys' second-leading tackler in 2014 included retirements in May 2013 and April 2014 while under contract with the Ravens. He's reportedly facing a four-game fine for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and a subsequent infraction would be cause for suspension under league policy.  

Click here* *for free agents that are ranked 51-60 by NFL.com.

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