Vikings director of pro scouting Paul Wiggin acknowledges the importance of this free agency period, but he cautions that building a successful NFL roster is not the same as building a fantasy league team.
"It's key," Wiggin said of this free agency period, "but it doesn't make or break you. For us to lose out in the first wave, I don't know that that is critical. I think it would be stupid for us to pay astronomical prices just to solve the need … you have to look at a lot of factors. You can destroy that morale of your football team if you bring in somebody that is paid a lot more than somebody with more talent in another area on the team. It gets things out of whack.
"Mike Tice knows that. He was very clear about that at a meeting (earlier this month). He wants to be fair with people. He wants to keep a balance on this football team. As a player he experienced that on a couple of occasions. I think he was with Seattle when they brought in Brian Bosworth and he gave that as an example of how that sort of destroyed the morale of their football team.
"First of all because of who (Bosworth) was and second because of what they paid him to come there."
And Wiggin said the chemistry on the Vikings in 2002 was exceptional. "If anybody had any more chemistry on their football team than the Vikings last year, I'd like to know who they are," he said. "I think Mike did a great job with them and there are some great young people coming along. He doesn't want that to be suddenly disrupted."
Wiggin points to the five-year, $24.5 million deal cornerback Dre' Bly received from Detroit as a prime example of a deal that can cause problems.
"I don't think we would have paid Dre' Bly even close to a $24.5 million, five-year contract to get him here," he said. "I think that would have been unfair to a lot of people here. You can't do that for everybody."
So the Vikings will likely continue their patient approach to free agency and build a team full of good guys for the locker room and on the field through a methodical plan that involved the first wave of free agency, the draft, June 1 cuts and maybe even training camp cuts. As Tice said last week, all that matters is what teams end up with when free agency is finished, not the first weeks after it begins.
Team Chemistry Remains The Mantra
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