The Vikings have a Pro Bowl safety on their defense already, but Darren Sharper is an 11-year veteran of the league who admits that his focus is on getting back to the Super Bowl, which he won as a member of the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings also have another solid safety in Dwight Smith, but Smith's presence on the team in 2008 is no guarantee despite him having one more year on his contract. Following his second incident with the law in as many years with the team, coaches and players alike have declined to comment on his status for next season. Days after the regular season, head coach Brad Childress said he was still gathering information on Smith's latest offense, a citation for possession of marijuana outside a downtown Minneapolis strip club in December. Smith wasn't talking about the incident at the end of the season, but he also wasn't issued any publicly discernable discipline by the team or the league.
Beyond Smith's plight, the team needs to make some decisions on a couple of their other safeties – veterans Mike Doss and Tank Williams – who are scheduled to become free agents in March if they don't sign a contract extension with the Vikings before then. Both signed one-year contracts with the Vikings in 2007 while coming back from different knee injuries.
With all of the uncertainty at the position at this early stage of the offseason, it would appear that at least one new safety – whether via free agency or the draft – will be part of the Vikings in 2008. Below, we list the unrestricted and restricted safeties scheduled for free agency in March (with their years of NFL experience in parentheses).
Oliver Celestin, Arizona Cardinals (4)
Bhawoh Jue, Arizona Cardinals (7)
Chris Crocker, Atlanta Falcons (5)
Omare Lowe, Atlanta Falcons (5)
Gerome Sapp, Baltimore Ravens (5)
Bryan Scott, Buffalo Bills (5)
Deke Cooper, Carolina Panthers (5)
Marquand Manuel, Carolina Panthers (6)
Madieu Williams, Cincinnati Bengals (4)
Keith Davis, Dallas Cowboys (5)
Ken Hamlin, Dallas Cowboys (5)
Nick Ferguson, Denver Broncos (8)
Idrees Bashir, Detroit Lions (6)
Will Demps, Houston Texans (6)
Earl Glenn, Houston Texans (4)
Von Hutchins, Houston Texans (4)
Jason Simmons, Houston Texans (10)
Sammy Knight, Jacksonville Jaguars (10)
Yeremiah Bell, Miami Dolphins (4)
Lance Shulters, Miami Dolphins (10)
Travares Tillman, Miami Dolphins (7)
Mike Doss, Minnesota Vikings (5)
Tank Williams, Minnesota Vikings (6)
Mel Mitchell, New England Patriots (6)
Eugene Wilson, New England Patriots (5)
Jay Bellamy, New Orleans Saints (14)
Steve Gleason, New Orleans Saints (7)
Gibril Wilson, New York Giants (4)
Erik Coleman, New York Jets (4)
Jarrod Cooper, Oakland Raiders (7)
Hanik Milligan, St. Louis Rams (5)
Donnie Nickey, Tennessee Titans (5)
Pierson Prioleau, Washington Redskins (9)
Jim Leonhard, Buffalo Bills (3)
Brandon McGowan, Chicago Bears (3)
Hamza Abdullah, Denver Broncos (3)
C.C. Brown, Houston Texans (3)
Matt Giordano, Indianapolis Colts (3)
Gerald Sensabaugh, Jacksonville Jaguars (3)
James Butler, New York Giants (3)
J.R. Reed, Philadelphia Eagles (3)
Oshiomogho Atogwe, St. Louis Rams (3)
Jerome Carter, St. Louis Rams (3)
Kalvin Pearson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3)
Vincent Fuller, Tennessee Titans (3)
2008 Free Agents: Safeties
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