It was nothing like the total roster purge the Colts undertook last week, but the Vikings did execute their own house cleaning on Sunday, getting rid of veterans Steve Hutchinson, Anthony Herrera and Cedric Griffin. The trio of cuts saved the Vikes around $13 million, giving them more than $20 million in cap space. That’s enough flexibility to pursue at least one big free agent. Vincent Jackson and Cortland Finnegan are the two largest names believed to be on the Vikings’ list of targets, but both those men are also coveted by several other teams.
And what if the Vikings can’t land Cortland Finnegan? One option might be to re-sign the man they just let go. ESPN’s Josina Anderson says the Vikings are indeed willing to bring back Cedric Griffin, at much less than the $4.1 million he was set to make before being cut. The problem is, Cedric himself might not be willing to return to the Vikings. Griffin was clearly miffed over his late season benching last year, and was probably also not happy at being publicly called out by Leslie Frazier. Cedric’s comments since then have all indicated a strong desire to play somewhere besides Minnesota next season.
There’s one sticking point for Cedric: It’s likely that nobody else wants him. The market for 29-year-old cornerbacks with no knees and no particular proficiency at producing turnovers is just not very robust. Maybe there’s a team out there that would take a chance on him as a fourth cornerback, but not for very much money. The best offer Cedric will likely see will be from the Vikings, who are aware of Cedric’s limitations and are apparently willing to work around them.
The Vikings also happen to be very desperate for cornerback help right now. Their would-be #1 corner, Chris Cook, is facing assault charges that could land him in jail and almost certainly will earn him a suspension from the league. Their #2 Antoine Winfield is old and slow and can’t cover outside receivers anymore. And after that it gets even grimmer. The Vikings will likely fix some of that by drafting a corner in the second or third round but, as their targeting of Finnegan indicates, they also want a veteran. And if no better veteran option than gimpy, grumpy Cedric Griffin ends up being available to the Vikings in free agency?
I’m certain both the team and Cedric would, in a perfect world, love to move on from their relationship. But it’s not a perfect world and they may be stuck with each other.