It would appear as though the Minnesota Vikings’ shopping list for free agency may be altered somewhat after word got out today that the Vikings had reached an agreement to sign safety Andrew Sendejo to a four-year contract worth a reported $16 million.
Sendejo was scheduled to become a free agent Wednesday and the Vikings moved quickly to make sure he didn’t hit the open market. A four-year veteran, Sendejo spent his first three seasons as a core special teams player before winning the starting strong safety position away from Robert Blanton, another pending free agent.
Sendejo started 13 games last season, finishing second on the team with 100 tackles, one interception, six passes defensed and a fumble recovery.
For much of the offseason, there had been discussion that the Vikings might look to free agency or the draft to upgrade the safety position. At the NFL Scouting Combine, head coach Mike Zimmer gave an indication that the Vikings might look outside their current roster for a starter next to Smith.
“I think that if Harrison Smith is paired with a guy that had some other qualities, we could allow Harrison to be more of an impact player,” Zimmer said. “I think Harrison can be more impactful if he had the right kind of guy next to him.”
Although said he didn’t know if that guy was on the roster, the Vikings must at least like the insurance policy Sendejo provides because $4 million a year – if that’s an accurate assessment of the real value – is a lot to pay for a backup defender and special teams ace.
Sendejo had some struggles last season. Pro Football Focus ranked him 78th of 88 safeties with enough snaps to qualify for grading, while Smith was graded out as the No. 2 safety in the league by PFF’s metrics.
The signing of Sendejo doesn’t rule out the Vikings looking to add a safety in free agency or the draft, but if his contract isn’t back-loaded it would appear as though, when training camp begins at the end of July, it’s likely Sendejo will be with Smith at the top of the depth chart. The true measure will come when the full contract details are available.
- In addition to Sendejo, the Vikings also reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis, who joined the team during the 2015 season after Shamar Stephen was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 20.
- The price of paying quarterbacks has taken a stunning turn this week. Not only did Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins get tendered (and quickly signed) a franchise tag worth almost $20 million, career disappointment Sam Bradford signed a two-year deal to stay in Philadelphia for $36 million. And Joe Flacco, who hasn’t enjoyed success since winning the Super Bowl the same year his rookie contract expired, signed a two-year contract extension to lower his cap number but also gave him a $40 million signing bonus. If Teddy Bridgewater lives up to his potential, how much will he be worth when his rookie contact expires?
- There remain discussion that if Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell makes it past Los Angeles at No. 15 on the first night of the draft he could be on the board all the way down to the Vikings at No. 23 because the teams in between the Rams and Vikings all have more pressing needs than wide receiver.
- Don’t be surprised if the Vikings announce more signings between now and Wednesday. The team has a history of waiting until the 11th hour, but then pulling the trigger on re-signing their own players before they hit the open market.
- The Vikings are rumored to be close to announcing a two-year deal with offensive lineman Mike Harris, who has been a starter at both right tackle and right guard the last two seasons.
- The buzz surrounding Bridgewater continues to grow. In a story by K.J. Joyner of ESPN.com, he predicts that Bridgewater will be a top-10 quarterback this year, citing that new offensive line coach Tony Sparano will provide a scheme that will protect Bridgewater better than he has been his first two seasons and that moving indoors to U.S. Bank Stadium will accentuate his passing accuracy.
- On the Green Bay Packers official website, CEO Mark Murphy answers fans questions in a monthly mailbag column. This week one of the questions dealt with the change of the extra point distance. Murphy, who sits on the competition committee, said he fully expects the 15-yard line for extra points, which was approved solely for 2015, will become permanent.
- With a slew of veterans being cut this week to open up cap space for NFL teams, expect there to be some big announcements coming Monday, as teams look to clear their books, including Denver apparently being ready to officially move on from Peyton Manning.