With the huge turnaround on this Minnesota Vikings team, it is easy to overlook what is going on with some of the major pieces of the team’s former defense. The lack of success on defense over the last couple years has been a major issue that contributed to the Vikings failures lately.
Many folks blamed the scheme. Some pointed their finger at the lack of talent at some positions. But it is hard to look at what is going on in free agency with some of Minnesota’s former starters and think that talent isn’t an issue.
Here are 4 former starters from the Minnesota Vikings defense that still haven’t found a new team:
Desmond Bishop, linebacker
- Bishop may have only landed one start prior to his injury, but the Vikings were hoping he’d be able to stay healthy and contribute to this team. As a member of a Super Bowl winning team, it was hopeful that his experience and knowledge could help some of the young players develop. He has talent when healthy, but can’t manage to stay on the football field to put that talent on display.
Erin Henderson, linebacker
- Accumulating many starts at both outside and inside linebacker for Minnesota, Erin Henderson looked like he would be part of the team for many years to come. However, injuries and legal issues kept him off the field and young Audie Cole ended up taking his job at the end of last year. Henderson has yet to find a suitor in free agency, leaving his status for this year in the dark.
Marvin Mitchell, linebacker
- Mitchell found some starts at outside linebacker, but wasn’t extremely effective in those games. He was a good player for the Vikings, but not great. It is somewhat surprising that Mitchell hasn’t hasn’t found a job as a backup linebacker or special teams player in the NFL, but sometimes players just slip through the cracks.
Kevin Williams, defensive tackle
- This is the most surprising of the four. Williams has had one heck of a career with Minnesota and is a former multiple time All-Pro and Pro Bowl player. He is a former first round draft pick of the Vikings and played with the team for 11 years. Perhaps his age is a breaking point for many teams since he turns 34 in August. Maybe his asking price is too high. But it’s hard to believe that he still hasn’t found a team at this point.
Whether it is injury, age or ineffectiveness, the fact that these four players are still free agents is a sign that this truly is a “what have you done for me lately” kind of league. Still, it’s hard to see former members of a team’s starting defense struggle to find employment like this and not wonder if Minnesota’s schemes and level of talent has contributed to the lack of interest in the players.