Vikings coach Brad Childress wanted to build his offense and defense from the front lines back, and the team's seven-year, $49 million offer sheet to Seattle Seahawks transition free agent Steve Hutchinson certainly demonstrated the Vikings' commitment to the trenches.
But there are other positions the Vikings have targeted as well. After signing linebacker Ben Leber, kicker Ryan Longwell and running back Chester Taylor over the weekend, the Vikings have visits scheduled with two safeties, a backup quarterback and a fullback.
The two unrestricted free agent safeties — Baltimore's Will Demps and Tampa Bay's Dexter Jackson — are scheduled to meet with the Vikings over the next two days. If the Vikings sign either one of them, they likely would be given the chance to start at strong safety opposite Pro Bowl free safety Darren Sharper. Willie Offord, who signed a two-year deal worth as much as $3 million with incentives, might compete for the job with either Demps or Jackson, if they are signed.
Demps was scheduled to meeting with Cincinnati on Sunday and the New York Giants on Monday, his agent said. He is entering his first year as an unrestricted free agent and has started more than half the games with Baltimore since 2002. He played in only 11 games last year, recording 52 tackles and no interceptions, according to NFL.com. He has 234 tackles, 3.5 sacks and four interceptions in his four seasons with the Ravens.
Jackson was scheduled to meet with Cincinnati and Tampa Bay. The former Super Bowl MVP in his first stint with Tampa Bay has been in the league seven years — six with Tampa Bay and one season (2003) with the Arizona Cardinals. He has played in 89 games, registering 329 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 14 interceptions.
Also scheduled to talk with the Vikings are Green Bay Packers free agents William Henderson and Craig Nall, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal.
Henderson, a 6-foot-1, 262-pound fullback, is a 1995 third-round draft pick of the Packers. He has played in 174 of Green Bay's 176 regular-season games since then, with 103 starts, and earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 2004. He has 426 yards rushing and 2,347 receiving in his career. The Vikings will use a fullback in their new offensive scheme this year and already signed street free agent Joey Goodspeed last month.
Henderson isn't expected to visit until later this week, giving Green Bay time to sign him before then.
Nall, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound quarterback, is entering his first year of unrestricted free agency and is expected to visit with the Vikings today. He could be insurance as a No. 2 quarterback if Minnesota is able to trade Daunte Culpepper, and likely would compete with J.T. O'Sullivan for the backup spot. The Vikings might draft a developmental quarterback in April, as they visited with several prospects at the NFL Combine.
Nall has played in six games with the Packers, never starting, and has completed 23 of 33 passes for 69.7 completion percentage with four touchdowns and no interceptions and a passer rating for 139.4.
Vikings Visits, Interests Updated
Viking Update Top Stories
Viking Update Mock Draft, Version 2The Minnesota Vikings don’t have a first-round pick, but they will be watching talent come off the board in the first round, including selections by their NFC North rivals.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 9:52 AM
Vikings decision-makers learning the offenseAs the Minnesota Vikings look to improve their offense, the decision-makers are getting more involved on that side of the ball.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 4:39 AM
Holler: Peterson's days as a Viking numberedWe will likely find out this week whether Adrian Peterson is a Minnesota Viking or not and the smart money is pointing toward "no."
Viking UpdateYesterday at 4:16 AM
Cornerbacks: Will Vikings have a need?The necessity for free-agent help at cornerback in a flooded market may have more to do with decisions made internally for the guys they already have.
Viking UpdateSunday at 7:03 AM