Lurtsema's Reaction: The restricteds

The Vikings will announce their decisions with their restricted free agents in the next day or two, but former Viking Bob Lurtsema has his opinions on the worth of those players. See what the former defensive lineman thinks about six players whose future with the team is up in the air.

VU: We already talked about the unrestricted free agents previously. Now let's move onto the restricted free agents, where the Vikings can place tenders on them that would require another team to forfeit either a first- and third-round pick, a first-round pick, a second-round pick or a pick equal to that player's drafted round if they would sign them. There is also a right of first refusal designation that doesn't give the team any draft-pick compensation if they lose the player.

The higher the tender, the more the Vikings would have to pay that player if no other team signs him and gives up draft picks to do that. The top tender would cost about $3 million and then the price goes down with the level of tender.

So I want your reaction on what you'd do with these players. First is Ray Edwards.

BL: He was coming on so strong at the end of the season. He is worth all of a second, but I would give that up if I was another team. So I would have to put a first- and a third-rounder on him to protect him. Not only is he is a good pass rusher, but he's good against the run. As a left end, a lot of teams run to their offensive right because that's the natural side for a running back – it's easier for them to run to their right if they're right-handed. Of course, if you're left-handed, it's easier to run to your left than your right.

VU: OK, what about Tarvaris Jackson?

BL: I really wouldn't put much into T-Jack. He's never really shown me the impact he can have. I don't know if he has it or not. I don't know if I would give up a fifth-rounder for him, so I wouldn't make an offer to him. I could care less if they bring T-Jack back or not.

VU: What about Naufahu Tahi?

BL: I like the kid. He's funnier than hell. Sometimes it puts them in an awkward situation having Jeff Dugan around. I really like Tahi a lot, especially as a person. He does a good job and doesn't make a lot of mental mistakes. But for him to stay is going to depend on their offensive theory and how aggressive you're going to be when using Peterson and Taylor. You can't make the decision based just on him. You've got to decide how much you're going to go into next season with more split back or more one-back – how much H-back are they going to use. I don't really know the answer to that right now, so it's hard to make a decision with Tahi.

VU: Ryan Cook.

BL: With him I think it depends on if Artis Hicks comes back, and Hicks is an unrestricted free agent. If Hicks comes back, that would put Cook on the bubble. I definitely would not tender Cook at a second-round level.

VU: Fred Evans.

BL: Fred played so little that if you were going to tender him at a second-round level you'd have to start him. If Kennedy comes back and the Williams Wall in the middle, there is no way Evans can start in there. I wouldn't tender him.

VU: You could also tender him at the drafted level and get a seventh-round draft pick for him if another team signed him.

BL: With his experience and if I'm another team and the way he can make tackles-for-losses in the middle, I'd give up a seventh-round draft pick all day long for him.

VU: Karl Paymah is the last one. He was kind of a strange situation at cornerback because he was playing a lot early on and then wasn't even active late in the year.

BL: I wouldn't offer him anything. Some of the basic elements of coverage I thought he broke down on a little bit. I know in the beginning he was playing, but he made a lot of mistakes so I wouldn't keep him around.

You always want to watch how much somebody plays and I watch the defensive line all the time. But when the coaches start not playing a guy or moving him here or there, they're making mental mistakes and the consistency factor no longer exists. A coach needs to be able to predict the reliability of a player. If you're going to get your butt kicked, which we all do, be sure you're in the right spot when you got it kicked. Don't be out of your lane. That's a double-negative. And then if you get your butt kicked too much, you're not going to be around anyway.

Bob Lurtsema registered 57 regular-season sacks and three in the playoffs during his 12-year career as a defensive lineman in the NFL, playing with the Baltimore Colts, New York Giants, Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks, and was the longtime publisher of Viking Update. He joins for a weekly Q & A session, and his monthly column appears in the magazine.

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