The Minnesota Vikings 2016 free agency signings are evaluated, plus a roundup of grades from other sports websites around the internet is provided.
The Minnesota Vikings have stuck to the plan and avoided the bigger names in free agency, focusing instead on the second tier players with connections to the coaching staff. While it might not be fun for fans such as myself who prefer instant gratification, it is without a doubt the best way to build a team.
So far, the Vikings have made 11 transactions in free agency. However, of those 11 moves, six players were simply re-signed (Matt Asiata, Rhett Ellison, Mike Harris, Terence Newman, Marcus Sherels, and Justin Trattou).
Alex Boone is by far the largest contract the Vikings have given out this offseason (4 years, $26.8 million). Boone was brought in to compete at left guard, which should return Brandon Fusco to his natural right guard position.
Andre Smith, after visiting with the Vikings’ coaching staff, touring the new stadium, and eating at Manny’s Steakhouse, decided to sign a one year, $3.5 million contract. Smith appears to be strictly a right tackle, and will compete with Phil Loadholt for the starting spot.
In a surprising move, the Vikings signed former Cincinnati linebacker Emmanual Lamur to a two-year, $5.5 million contract. It’s not surprising to see Mike Zimmer bring in one of his previous players from the Bengals, but it is surprising to see the Vikings give that much money to a back-up and special teams player. However, by now I have learned to give Zim the benefit of the doubt when it comes to players he brings in.
Michael Griffin was brought in to compete for the safety spot opposite Harrison Smith. Griffin has spent the last nine years in Tennessee and has made the Pro Bowl multiple times. The contract is only for one year and $2.5 million, which means the safety spot was not guaranteed to Griffin.
The other player the Vikings brought in from another team is Travis Lewis, a linebacker from Detroit. Lewis only signed a one year contract for $810,000.
Overall, the Vikings have been relatively quiet in free agency. It’s clear the Vikings went into this off-season with a goal of improving the competition along the offensive line, increasing linebacker depth, and attempting to find a running mate for Harrison Smith at safety.
There haven’t been any “flashy” moves by the Vikings, but they have done what they set out to accomplish. As a result, I’d give the Vikings a C-plus. I would have gone up to a B-minus, but the Vikings re-signed Sendejo (85th out of 88 qualifying safeties according to Pro Football Focus) to a four-year contract worth $16 million, which seems absurd (even if there isn’t any guaranteed money after the first year).
Here is a look at other grades from around the internet. It should be noted that none of these grades (except for NFL.com) account for the recent signing of Andre Smith.