As we sit approximately seven weeks away from the start of training camp, there are a lot of names that were important component pieces of the 2011 Vikings that the team opted not to bring back for 2012. However, not only are they not back as members of the Vikings, many of them aren't back with other teams either.
The list of players is pretty exhaustive, begging the question "are they going to get signed by anyone?"
Husain Abdullah – The Vikings safety suffered four concussions in 18 months and, while he appears to be willing to continue his career, in the concussion-awareness era, nobody seems willing to take on the potential risk of signing him.
Bernard Berrian – The handwriting would appear to have been on the wall last year when the Vikings released him during the season and nobody signed him. One would think there is always a spot on a roster for a speed receiver, but nobody has taken the bait yet and it's unclear if Berrian even wants to play anymore.
Greg Camarillo – The six-year veteran wide receiver would seem like a decent roster add-on to be a slot receiver for somebody, yet, to date, nobody has been willing to make a move to sign him. That may change between now and the end of August, but he remains unemployed and available.
E.J. Henderson – Starting middle linebackers are typically in high demand in the free agent market, even those with a titanium rod in a previously broken leg. The Vikings didn't make a serious run at the nine-year veteran despite a need at inside LB and his career remains in limbo.
Anthony Herrera – For the last four-plus seasons, he was the starting right guard for the Vikings, but, after missing time each of the last two seasons with significant injuries, the Vikings went in another direction. He remains unsigned and one has to wonder whether the call is going to be coming from another team with a need at guard.
Ryan Longwell – One of the surprise cuts of the Vikings following the draft, he has yet to get scooped up by another team. He may have to wait for an injury to find his way back on an NFL roster, but don't expect to see this to be the end of the line just yet for one of the game's more accurate kickers. His return to the NFL will likely be injury-based or a case of ineffectiveness by another kicker.
Donovan McNabb – Like Berrian, it appears as though it may be the end of the line for the borderline Hall of Fame quarterback. With so many teams already set at the positional trifecta (starter, backup, project QB), it looks as though McNabb is through, despite his comments to the effect that he is ready to resume his NFL career.
Benny Sapp – After getting burned by Wes Welker for a 99-yard touchdown last year, Sapp was on the waiver wire for two months before injuries forced the Vikings to re-sign him. The team currently has plenty cornerbacks on the roster, but none of them are Sapp – which leads one to believe that his playing days may be over.
Visanthe Shiancoe – One of the bigger surprises of the unsigned contingent, in the TE-happy NFL of recent seasons, it would seem natural that somebody would sign a player with both blocking and receiving skills, but he remains open on the free agent market and unsigned.
At a time when most teams have 90 players on their rosters, many of the 2011 Vikings that played key roles on the team remain unsigned. It would seem that not only did the Vikings know what they were doing when they opted not to re-sign them, but that the rest of the league views them as over the hill or damaged goods, which could help explain why the Vikings are coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history. When players that were starters for much of last season are given a collective pass by the 31 other teams in the league, it raises plenty of concerns about their value and viability.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.