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DT Linval Joseph (5-yr, $31.5M): Ouch. I had Joseph pegged as a top-5 target for the Bears since day 1 of the off-season, but the need lessened once the Bears re-signed J. Ratliff at the 1-technique DT. It’s not getting a lot of press, but I think signing Joseph was the best move in the division besides the Bears signing Houston. The Williams boys are finally worn down and the Vikings replaced them in less than a year with the signing of Joseph and drafting of DT Shariff Floyd in the 1st round last year. Ugh.
CB Captain Munnerlyn (3-yr, $15M): Good fit for the Vikings across from 2nd year corner Xavier Rhodes. Munnerlyn is only 5’8, but will be protected by the 6’1 Rhodes who can match up against the league’s taller receivers. It will be interesting to see who Munnerlyn covers against the Bears. He’s giving up at least 6 inches to either Marshall or Jeffrey. The signing of Munnerlyn could mean the end of former 2nd round pick Chris Cook’s time in Minnesota. The talented but inconsistent 6’2 corner would be a great fit for the Bears…
ILB Jasper Brinkley (1-yr): Struggled to find playing time with the Cardinals last year, but is a decent 2-down run-stuffer. Better suited as a back-up, but at the top of the Vikings depth chart at ILB right now.
CB Derek Cox (1-yr): Big corner (6’2) who has disappointed so far in his NFL career. A former 3rd round pick of the Jags, Cox struggled in his first two years in the league before turning in a decent contract year campaign. The Chargers ponied up big money (4yrs, 20M) for Cox only to see him revert to his rookie form. The Bolts gave up on him after only one season to free up cap space. Good low-risk/high-upside pick up for the Vikings.
DE Everson Griffen (5-yr, $42.5M): Wow. That is a lot of money to pay for a guy who has only been a situational pass rusher so far in his career. Can he play the run? Does he have the stamina to play all 3 downs? The Vikings better hope so. Griffen has flashed pass rush potential and his sack/snap ratio is impressive. He got more in free agency per season than established defensive ends Michael Bennett and Lamarr Houston.
QB Matt Cassell (2-yr, $10M): I still think the Vikings are drafting a QB early, but this gives them an average starter at least if the QB they want isn’t available or someone they want more in the 1st round is.
DT Fred Evans (1-yr): Run-stuffer, who will probably be a back up now that the Vikings have signed Linval Joseph.
CB Marcus Sherels (2-yr, $2.2M): Not much of a corner at all, but a dangerous return man who has run one back for a touchdown in each of the last two seasons. I hope they use Sherels are their primary return man instead of Cordarelle Patterson (he scares me).
C Joe Berger (1-yr): Back-up G/C. Who cares.
LB Larry Dean (1-yr): Special teams guy.
RB Toby Gerhart (Jaguars) : I’m not sad to see Gerhart leaving the division. I expect the Vikings to find a new back-up for AP in the draft.