Tuesday was the deadline for teams to apply the franchise tag on free agents. In all, 11 teams opted to go that route -- creating a new look at what position may be the most important.
Of the 11 franchised players, four were offensive tackles (Orlando Pace, John Tait, Walter Jones and Chad Clifton) and two of those players (Pace and Jones) are being franchised for the second straight year.
As projected by VU a couple of weeks ago, the top three cornerbacks in free agency -- Champ Bailey, Charles Woodson and Chris McAlister -- were also franchised, diluting a still-solid pool of talent.
For the record, the other four franchised players were QB Peyton Manning, DE Darren Howard, S Donovin Darius and LB Julian Peterson.
One surprise player left to test the open market was Titans DE Jevon Kearse -- a player the Vikings tried feverishly to make a trade for on draft day after selecting Daunte Culpepper in the 1999 draft.
With the cornerback crop a bit depleted, there are still players to keep an eye on. Barring the availability of the franchised players in potential trades, Antoine Winfield, Bobby Taylor, Troy Vincent and Shawn Springs lead the parade of available cornerbacks. That could change if the Patriots play hardball with Ty Law, but, as it stands, if the Vikings are going to make a run at a cornerback in free agency, it will have to be among the names listed above and not the dream of Vikings fans to land Bailey, Woodson or McAlister.
11 Teams Name Franchise Players
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