Vikings' new scheme could affect personnel

Bill Musgrave's new offensive system could affect the type of player the Vikings are looking for when it comes to free agency. Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman talked about that and the effect of potential suspensions to Kevin and Pat Williams.

While the Vikings await the extremely delayed start of free agency, there are several factors that will affect their decision-making.

Whenever the lockout ends and free agency commences, the Vikings will have more than the 100-day delay that makes this offseason different. A new scheme on offense and potential suspensions on defense could affect how they approach the signing period.

"What we still do is try to evaluate them all as football players and then when we meet with the coaches and they've looked at them, we try to put the pieces together and does he fit with what we want to do?" said Rick Spielman, vice president of player personnel. "[Offensive coordinator] Bill Musgrave, I've been extremely impressed with him and what he's doing offensively and the types of players he's looking for. We've made some slight adjustments, but we still try to stay true to our board and try to get the best players that we can get."

With the rules of free agency expected to revert to pre-2010 terms, receiver Sidney Rice will become an unrestricted free agent. Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier have indicated the team made progress on contract talks with Rice and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on a multi-year deal, but Rosenhaus has also said that Rice will explore the free-agent market. That means the Vikings will be in competition with other teams on a deal that is likely to include incentives because of Rice's injury history – he has dealt with ankle, knee and hip problems during his four-year career.

The questions surrounding free agency aren't limited to the offensive side of the ball either. Defensive end Ray Edwards would also be an unrestricted free agent under pre-2010 terms, and he is likely to leave, although Spielman points out that Edwards wouldn't be the first player to complain about his situation with a team and return to have a productive career. However, Edwards appears more intent on leaving and he doesn't have Rice's injury history, which could make him more attractive to other teams in free agency.

The Vikings also have questions at defensive tackle, where Pat Williams and Kevin Williams are facing potential four-game suspensions at the start of the regular season due to their violation of the league's drug policy. Pat is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. In March, he told Viking Update he wouldn't be returning to the team and wanted to play another two years in the NFL, but he has since put his odds of being a Viking in 2011 at 50-50.

"Everything is open. We'll just have to wait and see how this thing plays out and where everything ends up," Spielman said.

As for the suspensions to the Williamses, Spielman said that affects how the Vikings prepare for the season at defensive tackle, and even affects their overall personnel plan.

"That plays into your roster planning, too. I don't know what those rules are going to be, if they've changed, when a new CBA comes in place. Is everything still grandfathered in? Are they starting over?" Spielman said.

"Coming up with a new CBA, that's all part of that as well. So what are those rules with those [potentially suspended] guys? Are they the same as they were or are they different?"


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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We've made some slight adjustments, but we still try to stay true to our board and try to get the best players that we can get.\" With the rules of free agency expected to revert to pre-2010 terms, receiver Sidney Rice will become an unrestricted free agent. Spielman and head coach Leslie Frazier have indicated the team made progress on contract talks with Rice and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on a multi-year deal, but Rosenhaus has also said that Rice will explore the free-agent market. That means the Vikings will be in competition with other teams on a deal that is likely to include incentives because of Rice's injury history – he has dealt with ankle, knee and hip problems during his four-year career. The questions surrounding free agency aren't limited to the offensive side of the ball either. 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