Key Offensive Cuts Analysis

Whenever free agency starts (it's scheduled for Sunday night), the Vikings will surely be in the mix for some of the top offensive weapons available at running back, on the offensive line and maybe even at backup quarterback. We take a look at some of the key players released Thursday at those positions.


Mike Anderson (Denver)—
Looking to clear cap space and provide Ron Dayne a greater opportunity (as a backup), Anderson was a somewhat surprising cut for the Broncos. Not the fleetest afoot, Anderson has proven to be a powerful inside, downhill type rusher. On the downside of his career, Anderson has the ability to play, but shouldn't be counted on as a feature back at this point.

Stephen Davis (Carolina)—At one time Davis was as good as any back in the league. Knee injuries have robbed Davis of his surprising quickness and upper-body shiftiness. Still retains power, but is too great an injury risk to count on.

Rod Smart (Carolina)—Simply a reserve at the running back position, Smart has had some success in the return game and should catch on with a team seeking a better than average kick return specialist, which would include the Vikings if they don't re-sign wide receiver Koren Robinson.

0 Tony Hollings (Houston)—Never reached the potential many scouts believed he possessed when coming out of Georgia Tech. Knee injury in college robbed him of playing time and quite possibly took some of his game from him. A reserve at best at the professional level.


Damion McIntosh (Miami)—
Age, size, and physical limitations make McIntosh a risky proposition at the tackle position. Due to the lack of top-flight talent at the tackle position in the game, McIntosh should remain in the game as a reserve.

Brad Hopkins (Tennessee)—He may be getting up in age (35), but Hopkins still possesses the ability and consistency sought at the left tackle position. At one time, he was close to being a dominant tackle, utilizing quickness and excellent handwork. Now he depends on experience and desire to play the position at a high level. Due to age, Hopkins shouldn't be counted on to be much more than a two-year stop-gap player.

Matt Morgan (St. Louis)—Reserve, special teams type player.

Matt Hill (Carolina)—Reserve, special teams type player.

Jason Fabini (Jets)—Fabini was a solid, workmanlike tackle for the New York Jets prior to a pectoral muscle tear midway through the 2005 season. Capable of manning either the left or right tackle position, Fabini has been a consistent lineman without significant injury concerns. Strong at the point of attack due to a wide base and leg strength. Released as a salary-cap relief measure, Fabini will garner serious looks from teams seeking an above-average, experienced lineman.

Mike Williams (Buffalo)—A classic underachiever inside a mammoth frame. Williams was highly touted coming out of Texas, but has never achieved at the level expected of a high first-round draft selection. Overall play is inconsistent and sloppy, does not move well, and cannot reach the second level of defense. Williams can start on a team that can hide his deficiencies.


Tony Banks (Houston)—
Banks has been a backup to David Carr in Houston and should only expect to serve in a reserve capacity at this point in his career. Still athletic, Banks still has a strong arm, but inconsistency and a knack for turning the ball have hampered him throughout his career.

Jay Fiedler (Jets)—Brought in to serve as insurance in the event starter Chad Pennington was injured, the former Viking went down with a shoulder injury minutes into his first opportunity in New York. Has had some success as a starter, but is now in the twilight of his career and should be looked upon as a backup or emergency type starter.

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