Vikings Rumors: Is Safety Tyvon Branch Worth a Look?


The Minnesota Vikings are reportedly in search of an upgrade at safety (though Pro Football Focus would argue they’ve already found a good starter in Robert Blanton). The free agent market at the position is about to get a slight boost as the Oakland Raiders get set to release former fourth-round pick Tyvon Branch.

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So, natural question, is Branch someone the Vikings might consider bringing in as they look to complete their upgrade?

At first glance, there’s not much to get excited about with Branch. He did perform above expectations early in his career, leading to his being franchise tagged in 2012 and signing a four-year deal worth $26.6 million, but all he did after that was get hurt a lot and miss a ton of games.

Overall, Branch has played in just five games over the past two years due to injury. In 2013, Branch broke his right leg and missed most of the season. Last year after three weeks he broke his foot and ended the year on injured reserve. That’s a very alarming injury history to say the least. And that injury history is much of the reason the Raiders are cutting Branch.

That injury history does also mean that Branch will likely not be offered big money once he hits the market. And that bargain price is part of what might make him attractive to the Vikings.

The question Rick Spielman would have to answer: how much money should you gamble on an oft-injured player who, if you get lucky, would be at least a marginal upgrade over the current starter?

Branch was a productive player in Oakland before his injury problems, amassing 421 tackles and 3 INTs from 2009-2012. He’s only 28 and could still have lots of really good years ahead of him if he can stop breaking things.

There’s little question that someone will bring in Branch on a one-year deal and see if he can resurrect his career. Might the Vikings look at Branch as a reasonable low-risk/high-reward proposition? It’s true that signing injury-prone players to such deals hasn’t worked out that well for Rick Spielman in the past, but there’s always that chance.

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