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Monday Morning Mailbag: Some Potential Free Agent Fits?

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If Alshon Jeffrey gets to free agency, do you think the Viking might take a look? -- James MD Viking Fan

I would venture to guess that Jeffery is the non-Vikings player I am asked the most about by Vikings fans. But whether it's Jeffery or any other player schedule to hit free agency on March 9, it's important to remember that their current teams have the advantage of being able to negotiate right now with them on a new deal and they also have the franchise tag as a mechanism to retain their services. That means the chances of other teams being able to sign top-notch players such as Jeffery, Chiefs S Eric Berry or Broncos LB Von Miller are much smaller. With all of that being said, my guess is most teams will at least take a look at Jeffery if he reaches free agency. He's the type of receiver who could help any offense.

Would you think the Vikings would consider bringing in DE Chris Long or LB James Laurinaitis after their release from the Rams? -- Joe King @FriedBnana69

Unlike players who have expiring contracts and are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents on March 9, players such as Laurinaitis and Long who have had their contracts terminated are free to negotiate and sign with teams immediately. Given their age and significant roles in what has been a very solid defense over the past few years, I would think both warrant at least a discussion for a lot of teams. The Vikings are diligent in their process of evaluating all available players, and I would think Laurinaitis and Long would be no exceptions. Whether the Vikings express interest or not and whether the team chooses to pursue them if they are interested are other matters. I'm guessing nearly every coach and GM will be asked this question when they are at the podium at the Combine this week, so it'll be interesting to hear what Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer have to say. 

Could the Vikings take a page out of the Cardinals and Rams playbook and try playing one of our safeties at linebacker? -- Cameron Barnes

Sure, the Vikings could elect to do that. It works for the Cardinals and Rams, but that doesn't mean it will work for every team. A coach is obviously more qualified to speculate on this than I, but I would imagine to make that work you need the right personnel – both for the hybrid player and then for the players who lineup around that player. Deone Bucannon (Arizona) and Mark Barron (Rams) are great fits in that role but not every team has a player with that combination of build and skill set. It would be interesting to see if Harrison Smith could play that role, but I don't know it's the right move at this time for the Vikings defense.

Which of the high-profile free agent safeties (Eric Weddle, Eric Berry, etc.) would be the best fit in our defense? -- Victoria Barnes

Right, wrong or indifferent, we non-coaches and scouts tend to group safeties into two buckets – in-the-box defenders and ball hawks. A big part of what makes Harrison Smith such a great player is that he has the skill set to qualify as both, and that gives the team more flexibility in trying to find a complementary starter to go alongside Smith. I don't know exactly what the coaches and scouts are looking for in a safety to play next to Smith, so that makes it tough to pinpoint which of the potential free agent safeties are a good fit for the Vikings. Hopefully someone asks coach Zimmer that question this week at the Combine.

With Jared Allen announcing his retirement, what is the possibility the Vikings will sign him to a one-day contract to let him retire as a member of the Vikings. I would love to see that. He was one of my favorite players to watch. -- Dustin Latimer

It's a possibility but nothing I see as imminent. Jared had some of the best seasons of his career with the Vikings. He was named a member of the 50 Greatest Vikings team in 2010 and recently GM Rick Spielman said he thinks Jared will go down as one of the best players to put on a Vikings uniform. Even without a one-day contract/retirement ceremony, I think Jared's legacy is still Vikings-centric and I also think many Vikings fans will look back fondly at their time of watching him play here.

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