The key decision for the Vikings this offseason will be whether Tarvaris Jackson remains the starting quarterback, but there will be plenty of other decisions for vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman, coach Brad Childress and others in the front office.
Included will be the call on the fate of wide receiver Troy Williamson. The seventh overall pick in the 2005 draft, Williamson has been a bust and had only 18 receptions and one touchdown this season. Plagued by drops during his time with the Vikings, he had two key ones in the regular-season finale at Denver.
Other offseason items of interest:
COACHING CAROUSEL: With the Vikings sitting at 3-6 after an embarrassing 34-0 loss at Green Bay on Nov. 11, it looked as if Brad Childress might be done after two years. But a 5-2 finish means Childress is safe for 2008.
His coaching staff also will be expected to return intact. Unlike last year when defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin was hired by the Pittsburgh Steelers after only one season, it's expected that coordinators Leslie Frazier (defense) and Darrell Bevell (offense) will be sticking around. Frazier did have at least one interview scheduled this week, but he isn't considered the front-runner for that position.
FREE AGENT UPDATE: The Vikings have nine players set to become unrestricted free agents, including safeties Mike Doss and Tank Williams, WR Robert Ferguson, DT Spencer Johnson, RB Mewelde Moore, FB Tony Richardson, DE Darrion Scott and LB Dontarrious Thomas. Linebacker and special teams ace Heath Farwell is a restricted free agent and CB Ronyell Whitaker is an unrestricted free agent to whom the Vikings hold the right of first refusal. None of the unrestricted players would be considered a major loss, but it wouldn't be surprising if the Vikings attempt to keep Williams, Ferguson, and Johnson. Doss, Scott and Thomas are likely to move on, and Moore almost certainly will depart for a situation that will get him more playing time.
FEELING A DRAFT: The Vikings hold the 17th pick in the first round and certainly could be looking at a few areas for upgrades. Among them will be a pass-rushing right end. Kenechi Udeze, a first-round pick in 2004, is a solid starter at left end but isn't comfortable on the right side. Erasmus James, a first-rounder in 2005, has battled knee problems the past two seasons, and it's risky to rely on him.
Defensive end: The Vikings still need to improve the rush, especially from the right side, and while Ray Edwards and Brian Robison show promise, the Vikings are in desperate need of immediate results.
Wide receiver: Rookie Sidney Rice showed flashes of being able to stretch the field at times, but the Vikings still need someone who can do that on a consistent basis. Otherwise, a standout running game is far less effective.
Safety: Starters Darren Sharper (32) and Dwight Smith (29) aren't getting any younger, and neither are backups and pending free agents Mike Doss and Tank Williams. Adding some youth at this position might be a good idea.
MEDICAL WATCH: Sixth-round LB Rufus Alexander (knee) expects to be full go by the end of this month.
DE Erasmus James (knee) will continue to rehab his injury this offseason and might be ready for training camp.
DE Darrion Scott (foot) has been doing some running but could leave via free agency.
NT Pat Williams has said he will have his knee ‘scoped following the Pro Bowl.
Offseason Overview of Decisions Ahead
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings start signing their draft picksThe Minnesota Vikings have gotten the signings started on their 2017 draft class.
Viking Update11:36 AM
OTA assessments: Position battles, surprisesThe Minnesota Vikings had their first full-team open-access practice of the offseason. What stood out among the depth chart battles and who impressed from the newcomers?
Viking Update8:50 AM
WATCH: Veteran receiver highlights OTAsFrom Laquon Treadwell entering his second season to Michael Floyd in his first season with the Minnesota Vikings, see clips of what the veteran receivers looked like in the first…
Viking Update6:25 AM
New guys impressing on offenseOffensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has a lot of new faces to sort out between now and the regular season and he's excited by that prospect.
Viking Update12:39 AM
Floyd has support in ‘last-straw’ chanceMinnesota Vikings receiver Michael Floyd has plenty of support as he tries to get his career back on track.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 3:19 PM