Free Agency's Best Left, Vikings Analysis

While the Vikings struck down their most glaring weaknesses in the initial stages of free agency, they still have minor issues of depth in certain areas. See the top players left at each position with team analysis.

Kerry Collins
Anthony Wright
Tommy Maddox
Jamie Martin
Jay Fiedler
Tony Banks
Shane Matthews

Analysis: After signing Mike McMahon and with J.T. O'Sullivan still on the roster, the only thing left for the Vikings at this position is to draft their quarterback for the future. If they package draft selections and trade up, Jay Cutler seems to be the most likely answer.

Running Back
Anthony Thomas
Antowain Smith
Jonathan Wells
Lamar Gordon
Stephen Davis
Tony Hollings
Mike Cloud

Analysis: The Vikings struck early, signing Chester Taylor on the first day of free agency. With Mewelde Moore, Ciatrick Fason and Adimchinobe Echemandu in reserve, they aren't likely to look at free agency for additional depth. A mid- or late-round draft pick is possible.

Jerald Sowell
Jarrod Baxter
Daimon Shelton

Analysis: With Tony Richardson signed earlier and former street free agent Joey Goodspeed in reserve, the draft is likely the only place they'd look for additional competition to challenge Goodspeed.

Wide Receiver
Peerless Price
Kevin Johnson
Dez White
Az-Zahir Hakim (PR)
Randy Hymes
David Boston
Johnnie Morton
Troy Edwards
Michael Lewis (KR/PR)
Troy Walters (PR)

Analysis: With the expected departure of Nate Burleson to Seattle, the Vikings will have a hole to fill, But, once again, the draft is expected to be the source of the replacement. They might also look to find a return guy to take some peril away from guys like Koren Robinson and Mewelde Moore.

Tight End
Boo Williams
Lamont Hall
Roland Williams

Analysis: NFL reporter Adam Caplan believes the Vikings will look for a more athletic tight end in the draft, saying the West Coast offense calls for that. If not, the team should be fine with Jermaine Wiggins and Jim Kleinsasser.

Tutan Reyes
Ron Stone
Kendyl Jacox
Victor Riley (OT)
Fred Weary
Tom Nutten

Analysis: The Vikings can always use more depth on the offensive line, but after signing Steve Hutchinson to a seven-year, $49 million contract, they likely will let Adam Goldberg, Chris Liwienski, Anthony Herrera and Jason Whittle battle it out for the right guard position.

Offensive Tackle
Damion McIntosh
Brad Hopkins (LT)
Orlando Brown
Mike Pearson
Matt Stinchcomb
Todd Fordham
Ephraim Salaam
Todd Steussie

Analysis: With Bryant McKinnie at left tackle, and Marcus Johnson and Mike Rosenthal competing at right tackle, the starters for this year appear set. However, look for the team to draft depth, as well as a possible replacement for McKinnie if they can't extend him before the end of the 2006 season.

Jeff Mitchell
Trey Teague
Cory Raymer

Analysis: With Matt Birk back in the starter's seat and Jason Whittle in reserve, the Vikings are set for this season. However, they could look to draft a mid-round center as a future replacement for Birk.

Todd Peterson
Paul Edinger

Analysis: The Vikings probably will look to bring in a camp kicker to take some reps off of Ryan Longwell, but that is much more likely to be in the form of a rookie free agent, not a veteran free agent.

Kyle Richardson
Tom Rouen
Tom Tupa
Sean Landeta

Analysis: There is some thought that the team needs some insurance behind Chris Kluwe, who is coming off a torn ligament. Whether that will come in the draft or in free agency is unknown.

Defensive Tackle
Brenston Buckner
Sam Adams
Jason Fisk
Grady Jackson
James Reed
Lance Legree
Ed Jasper
Steve Martin

Analysis: There isn't much need at this position for the Vikings with Kevin Williams and Pat Williams as starters and C.J. Mosley in reserve, but developmental depth in the draft is always possible.

Defensive End
Lance Johnstone
Duane Clemons
Gary Walker (DT in 4-3)
Adrian Dingle

Analysis: The Vikings seem to have their rotation of four defensive ends ready to roll with Kenechi Udeze (coming off of microfracture surgery), Erasmus James, Darrion Scott and DeQuincy Scott. If they find good value in a pure pass rusher in the draft, it could be insurance against Udeze's recovery.

Inside Linebacker
Rocky Calmus
Nick Griesen (WLB)
Earl Holmes
Chris Claiborne
Brad Kassell
Saleem Rasheed

Analysis: Although the Vikings can't feel completely comfortable with their options at middle linebacker (as it stands now, Napoleon Harris, Dontarrious Thomas and Rod Davis will battle it out), there aren't a lot of better options left in free agency. Besides, weakside linebacker is the most important of the three in the Vikings' new Tampa-2 scheme.

Outside Linebacker
LaVar Arrington (WLB)
Na'il Diggs (WLB/SLB)
Jamie Sharper (WLB/SLB)
Tommy Polley (WLB)
Chad Brown (SLB/WLB)
Jamie Winborn (SLB)
Peter Boulware (SLB)
Keith Newman (SLB)
Barrett Green (WLB)
Brandon Short (SLB, WLB)
Junior Seau (WLB)
Nate Wayne (WLB)
Warrick Holdman (WLB)
Keith Adams (WLB)

Analysis: There are a lot of decent names left in free agency, but not a lot of weaksiders with upside potential. While LaVar Arrington is clearly the most talented, he doesn't offer good value and he is considered too much of a freelancer. Most likely, the Vikings will spend an early draft pick on an outside linebacker.

Charles Woodson
Ahmed Plummer
Eric Warfield
Ty Law
Dexter McCleon
Ray Mickens
Willie Williams
Jamar Fletcher
Michael Lehan
DeWayne Washington
Willie Middlebrooks

Analysis: This is one of the deepest positions left in free agency, and the Vikings do have a need for a nickel or dime cornerback. It is one position they may look to address before the draft, and it's a position where need meets value.

Antuan Edwards
Marcus Coleman
Tebucky Jones
Brent Alexander
Lance Schulters
Keion Carpenter
Deke Cooper
Ronnie Heard
Earl Little
Jerry Wilson
Ifeanyi Ohalete
Bracy Walker
Mel Mitchell
Mike Logan
John Howell

Analysis: After re-signing Willie Offord and signing Tank Williams, the Vikings are set at strong safety, at least for this year. And with Darren Sharper returning, free safety isn't a concern in 2006 either. However, depth is an issue, as is the future of the position. That could be taken care of in the draft or even after the draft in a buyer's free agent market.

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