Rebuilding the Vikings: Franchise Tags Taking Good DBs Off the Market

Oct 23, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes (20) is unable to intercept a pass in the end zone during the second quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber- US PRESSWIRE

The list of potential free agent defensive backs looked pretty robust as of 24 hours ago, but things can change fast in the NFL. On Thursday teams started using their franchise tags and already several would-be free agent DBs have been taken off the market. I had Tyvon Branch as a potential target for the Vikings but that idea died a painless death late Thursday when the Raiders used their tag on the safety. And it’s getting even worse. Already this fine Friday morning, the Falcons have taken CB Brent Grimes off the market, and as of this writing the Tennessee Titans were expected to do the same with CB Cortland Finnegan. Another potential safety target went down too when the 49ers tagged Dashon Goldson.

There’s no guarantee the Vikings would’ve pursued any of those guys, but all those guys have at least been mentioned as possible options at one time or another. The point being, if the Vikings are looking to rebuild their secondary through free agency, the pickings are already getting thin. Probably the number one guy out there, Brandon Carr, is not expected to be franchised, but with all these other names coming off the board, Carr’s price is only going to go up. The Vikings could find themselves in a bidding war with other secondary-needy teams – Dallas and Detroit for instance – and when all is said and done, might end up sifting through the bargain bin.

The draft was already very important for the Vikings this year, but it may have just gotten even more huge. And how will the diminishing number of free agent DB options affect the Vikings’ plans regarding Cedric Griffin? And what about Chris Cook’s future status? Can Husain Abdullah come back and be a productive starter at safety after the concussions? What about Mistral Raymond’s future?

Maybe the biggest question is, when will the secondary ever stop being a major headache for the Vikings?

Update: Adam Schefter says Cortland Finnegan will not be tagged and will hit the market as a UFA. So it’s not as bad as feared at least on the cornerback front.

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Topics: Cedric Griffin, Chris Cook, Cortland Finnegan, Dashon Goldson, Minnesota Vikings, Tyvon Branch

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