I don’t know if you’ve noticed but all the Vikings free agent action so far has been on the offensive side of the ball. First they signed John Carlson. Then we learned they would be bringing in offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz for a visit. On Sunday night they added depth to the backfield, signing former Dolphins running back Lex Hilliard.
What can we glean from these moves? Three things.
One: Bill Musgrave is bound and determined to feature two tight ends in his offense. That plan sounded good last year but didn’t exactly come to fruition. Maybe as Christian Ponder gains experience he’ll find those tight ends more consistently.
Two: The Vikings are not thrilled with their offensive line depth. Geoff Schwartz would give them at worst a versatile swing man, at best a starting right guard who is an upgrade over Joe Berger. There’s nothing wrong with bringing in multiple guys and letting them compete. Of course they haven’t signed Schwartz yet and may still lose him to the Lions, Chiefs or 49ers.
Three: Power football guys. Power football. Ryan D’Imperio was a decent blocker last season but gave you absolutely nothing as a short yardage option. Lex Hilliard can block and he can carry it. As we learned last year from the infamous 4th-and-1 play against Detroit, Toby Gerhart is a good runner but not necessarily a true bruising power back. Hilliard is a guy you can hand it to when you need half a yard. He simply brings more to the table as a fullback than D’Imperio.
As I mentioned, all these free agent moves/visits have been offense-related. On the defensive side, the Vikings have shown some interest in safeties O.J. Atogwe and Alan Ball but haven’t moved on either yet. I think LaRon Landry is a guy worth looking at too even with his issues. The Vikings like physical safeties who are good in run support and Landry fits that bill. Plus he’s younger than Atogwe and only a little older than Ball. And he isn’t looking for a big payday. LaRon Landry for a year on a show-me contract? Why not?