Offensive lineman Ryan Cook, defensive tackle Fred Evans and defensive back/special-teamer Eric Frampton all signed one-year deals. All three are expected to have supporting roles with the team, but each could be an important piece of the puzzle for the Vikings.
The Vikings are still awaiting word as to whether Pat Williams and Kevin Williams will be subject to a four-game suspension if Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson rules in favor of the NFL in the StarCaps case. If the Williamses lose in court, Evans probably will be thrust into the starting lineup with Jimmy Kennedy, making his role with the team even more vital. Evans will make $1.759 million after being tendered at a second-round level.
Cook is also expected to have a minor, but important role with the Vikings offense. With Artis Hicks gone to Washington via free agency, Cook is expected to take on the role of offensive line swingman, a primary backup at as many as five different line positions. Cook was tendered at a third-round level worth $1.176 million for 2010.
Frampton, who is a safety by trade, has been a standout on special teams, which showed dramatic improvement in 2009 after being the Achilles heel of the team in 2008. Frampton will make $1.1 million in 2010 after being tendered at the original-round level.
While these signings aren't the kind of blockbusters that have fans on their edge of their seats, they are the kind of required signings that the Vikings need if they are going to make a run for the Super Bowl appearance that so narrowly eluded them last season.
The Vikings have three restricted free agents left to sign their tenders – DE Ray Edwards, QB Tarvaris Jackson and fullback Naufahu Tahi. They can receive offers from other teams through Thursday.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.