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Vikings face a potential talent drain this offseason

Placing the franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway was the first domino to drop for the Vikings this offseason.

Keeping the rest of Minnesota’s key players will be a lot more difficult.  Let’s take a look at their free agent priorities.

(We’ve already discussed the Packers, Steelers, Seahawks, Colts, Falcons, and Bucs.)

The Big One: Wide receiver Sidney Rice.

It’s hard to imagine Rice staying in Minnesota at this point if he hits unrestricted free agency.  Greenway was safer and more reliable to keep, but Rice has potential to be a bigger difference maker.  He could get a monster contract.

The Key Ingredients: Defensive end Ray Edwards, linebacker Ben Leber, defensive tackle Pat Williams, and kicker Ryan Longwell.

Edwards led the team in pressures, according to espn1500’s Tom Pelissero.  He’s an above average starter that seems likely to get rich elsewhere.  Williams also seems to be ready to move on.  Leber and Longwell shouldn’t be too expensive to retain.

Might be on the way out: Wide receiver Bernard Berrian, safety Madieu Williams, wide receiver Greg Camarillo, wide receiver Greg Lewis and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

The Vikings will be woefully thin at wideout if Rice leaves.  Berrian is overpaid and seems likely to be cut.  The same goes for Madieu Williams.  Camarillo isn’t worth his salary and Lewis is a free agent.

The quarterback conundrum

Joe Webb will be given a chance to compete in training camp, but it may just be for the backup job.   It sounds like the Vikings will seek out two quarterbacks this offseason: a veteran and a rookie.  Tarvaris Jackson won’t be brought back. 

Thinking ahead

Running back Adrian Peterson, linebacker E.J. Henderson, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe all enter the final years of their contracts.  Getting Peterson signed long-term may be a bigger priority than all the free agents listed above. 

Final take

The Vikings could easily lose Rice, Edwards, and Pat Williams.  That’s a lot of talent.  They should cut Berrian and Madieu Williams, but that only leaves more depth chart holes to fill.

Throw in an empty quarterback position and it’s pretty clear the Vikings are rebuilding.   Sorry, Visanthe.

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53 Responses to “Vikings face a potential talent drain this offseason”
  1. captainwisdom8888 says: Feb 21, 2011 5:46 PM

    Fans won’t be overwhelmingly thrilled about it, but I can definitely see Kyle Orton in purple.

  2. tucknrolle says: Feb 21, 2011 5:52 PM

    Seems like the Vikings are actually on there way down. Now I realize why they put all their eggs in Favre’s basket. Because their window was slamming shut a lot quicker than I thought. To be honest I wouldn’t be surprises if you see them at them in the bottom of the north. Poor A.P. he’s got to get out of there.

  3. dboskie says: Feb 21, 2011 6:03 PM

    I believe that if the collective bargaining agreement doesn’t keep them from doing it, that the Vikes will apply the transition tag to Sidney. Also with his injury history, his overall price tag may be a little cheaper than if he would have followed up with another big year. As a Vikes fan I can’t believe that I am saying this, but if the value was right a trade of A.P. would not be out of the question if I was a GM. This team will be competitive, but how many Super Bowl winners have thier highest paid player at the RB position. With the age of the o-line and under achieving of it, there are needs all over the board. It sounds crazy, but look at it objectively and it is not as crazy as you might think.

  4. bcknights says: Feb 21, 2011 6:05 PM

    they need Rice.

  5. vikescry1 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:05 PM

    offseason priorities for the vikings is BUILD A NEW STADIUM! with or without a roof. can’t wait for the vikes to get everything the way they want it going into training camp and favre tells ed werder he has an itch again. lmao can’t wait!!!

  6. garyman1 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:06 PM

    Berrian and Camarillo are easily replaced…. losing Rice is huge but even if they keep him they better find someone to throw him the ball.

  7. sakatak says: Feb 21, 2011 6:06 PM

    as a fan of Buffalo I would like to pick up pervyharvin, if he can play football like he picks games he will fit in great up here.

  8. hawks12 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:09 PM

    you should change the name of this site to

  9. zackd2 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:09 PM

    Monster contract after hip surgery? More like a 7 year prove-it deal where he can be cut after year 1 before he sees any real money

  10. jackfactor says: Feb 21, 2011 6:10 PM

    Tinucci’s is opening a catering business in LA. Randy Moss is not welcome.

  11. stellarperformance says: Feb 21, 2011 6:13 PM

    Wait……very soon you’ll start seeing the Viking fan “experts” blaming Favre for setting the franchise back three years….the same persons that were giving us static for “letting him go” and predicting how great it was going to be when they won a SB with “our” cast-off legend. It’s coming…..

  12. thetooloftools says: Feb 21, 2011 6:20 PM

    Until players really know where this team is going to play and until it shores up it’s needs, free agents are not going to go there unless they overpay for them.
    I know I wouldn’t if I had options.
    The Vikings are not that far off from remaining a real playoff threat… but why should a multi million $ player BUY something to live in the Twin Cities if the team may move?
    Lots of issues.
    Best Wishes Horn Heads

  13. khmer379 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:29 PM

    Am not worried well be in the playoff call me delusional but we get griffin back 100% people forgot we got into the playoff with twack n Gus idnttrust in 07 we jus need to draft well n pik up a good veteran QB n well be fine the vike will not b a bottom feeder as long we have our lore guy Ap rice harvin I put my money am loving the underdog status letz go Kingz

  14. canadianvikingfaniii says: Feb 21, 2011 6:31 PM

    Sidney Rice is injured way too often for my liking. Otherwise I’d say keep him around. I’m going to have to go with Ryan Longwell, he is a constant on field goals and is rather unappreciated in that aspect. Besides if we can’t put up touchdowns, it may have to come down to as many field goals as possible.

  15. jstrizzle says: Feb 21, 2011 6:42 PM

    No team is really down for that long with the exception of a few (Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland). Bears went from 3rd to 1st in the division. This is the exciting offseason that no other sport can boast. Might as well sit back and enjoy it.

  16. rcunningham says: Feb 21, 2011 6:43 PM

    What is PFT’s obsession with us?

  17. whatsitlikehere says: Feb 21, 2011 6:46 PM

    The Big One: Wide receiver Sidney Rice.
    They’ll put the transition tag on him.

    The Key Ingredients: Defensive end Ray Edwards, linebacker Ben Leber, defensive tackle Pat Williams, and kicker Ryan Longwell.
    Edwards gone-replaceable, Leber and longwell will be back, Williams its been great they have more viable replacements already in place!

    Might be on the way out: Wide receiver Bernard Berrian, safety Madieu Williams, wide receiver Greg Camarillo, wide receiver Greg Lewis and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.

  18. patmccabe69 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:49 PM

    might as well bring Favre back for another year

  19. patmccabe69 says: Feb 21, 2011 6:50 PM

    and sign more over the hill Packers

  20. direland says: Feb 21, 2011 6:51 PM

    Wow. I didn’t know the Viking had any talent to lose. I sure didn’t see any on the field.

  21. skunkgoosefly says: Feb 21, 2011 6:56 PM

    Yes, Orton would be a good fit. But we all know Mcanab will be in purple for 2011

  22. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 21, 2011 6:58 PM


    there is your order of finish next season, and the last place team will be in that same position for the next 4-5 years

  23. iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 21, 2011 7:00 PM

    The Vikings MUST HAVE, without a doubt, #1 TOP priority needs to be signing Longwell .
    He is going to be their scoring stud for the next few years.

  24. dkeyser says: Feb 21, 2011 7:10 PM

    I’m not a Vikings fan in the least, but i have a question for all the fans in Minnesota.
    Do you guys have to foot the bill for the roof to be repaired? If so i feel bad for you. Gotta rebuild the stadium and go watch, by all appearances is gonna be a crap football team

  25. getsome636 says: Feb 21, 2011 7:15 PM

    LMAO, what a sorry no count franchise. They can start their rebuilding on the way to LA, since they can’t even get a stadium built, let alone a decent team. Better get Vince Young on the phone, he can put them right over the top.

    It must really suck to be a Viking’s fan. No titles, nothing on the horizon and a chance to lose the sorry purple franchise.

  26. mkepackfan says: Feb 21, 2011 7:21 PM

    Potential talent drain? That’s generous since they didn’t have talent to begin with.

  27. moondog7 says: Feb 21, 2011 7:26 PM

    The only player that needs to be resigned out of this group is sidney rice. Pat williams is past his prime. Ryan Longwell is a good kicker but cant put a kickoff past the 10. Ben Leber can go, he is avg or slightly below average and not getting younger. Ray Edwards had one good game vs the cowboys in the playoffs and was a no show in 2010. Let some other team over pay for him.

    Were not losing a ton of talent from these players were opening the door for younger players to step up and fill their shoes and hopefully then some.

    Berrien, M williams,camerillo, g lewis, are all expendable, you can find the same type of player in FA or the draft, nothing special about any of their talents on the field.

    Get a solid QB, Build the Oline and Secondary and the vikes will be a good team

  28. coolzog says: Feb 21, 2011 7:38 PM

    The only players who will be missed from last season would be Rice (who’s always hurt anyway it seems), Longwell and maybe Leber (who’s getting old, but still reliable). Pat Williams’ play declined big time last season, Madieu Williams and Berrian seem to hurt this team more than help at times. And Edwards is inconsistent and nothing special.

  29. xchrisegan says: Feb 21, 2011 7:46 PM

    I hope Sidney Rice becomes a Ram

  30. bigdogg34 says: Feb 21, 2011 7:46 PM

    I agree with everything they have done so far! And Adrian Peterson will not leave Minnesota for at least another 7 years… When you hit the lotto like that on a draft pick you do not let him go.

  31. vikings2102 says: Feb 21, 2011 7:55 PM

    What about Mr. Kendra Wilkinson??!! LEt me rephrase that……Dump Hank Baskett and keep Kendra around!!

    All jokes aside, it’s nice to see Chilly’s moronic coaching and player staffing needs will haunt this team for at least 3 years. I am a life long Vikings fan and I have a good way of getting some help on this team…..

    1. Trade Down. Get back the 3rd we lost for Moss and some extra draft picks.

    2. Trade McKinney. You’d be better off putting a statue out there….it would block better.

    3. You need to resign Rice. We don’t need to be rebuilding the whole offense (except starting RB of course).

    4. Orton is not a bad option (especially if we keep Rice). No, he won’t “wow” us, but he will help Webb (which I think could have a real shot at QB in this league) and he is a Trent Dilfer like QB. No, he probably won’t win us a game, but with a good defense, he could manage a game for the win.

    5. Get us a stadium Minnesota!! I will be more than happy to help pay for a retractible roof stadium. Since I don’t ever see a situation on where I will attend a baseball game (3 hour nap) and I don’t complain about having to pay for that, there should be no reason why we can’t make this football stadium happen!!

    Here’s to bleeding purple for life!! SKOL VIKINGS!!

    Loyal member of the vWo and Ho-Van caravan!!

  32. vikings2102 says: Feb 21, 2011 8:01 PM


    Nope, we do not have to pay for the roof to be fixed on the dome. Insurance money will cover that. Now, I am sure that money leads back to the people of Minnesota somehow, but they are not raising taxes for us to pay for it.

  33. jimmysee says: Feb 21, 2011 8:06 PM

    Where’s Pervy? I figured he’d be *allover* this topic instructing us on how brilliantly talented the Vikings are and how he had inside information that they would easily march to the SuperBowl after demolishing everyone in sight.

  34. darkphoenix5 says: Feb 21, 2011 8:42 PM

    tucknrolle says:Feb 21, 2011 5:52 PM

    To be honest I wouldn’t be surprises if you see them at them in the bottom of the north.

    Huh? And people actually gave this a thumbs up?

  35. partyboat says: Feb 21, 2011 9:02 PM

    I am a die hard vikings fan and just want to post a few key points!

    1. Ray Edwards – most overrated DE in the league! He plays next to argueably the best 3 DL in the NFL… I hope we get rid of him and Robison or Griffin step in and do better!

    2. Bernard Berrian- can only run a fly and with all his injuries he does not have the speed to run the fly like he did in chicago- cut him!

    3. Greg Camarillo- worst punt returner in the game.. did you see how much better we were with Booker?!?!

    4. Greg Lewis- nobody… made one lucky catch his whole career!

    5. Pat Williams- this one is tough, he still produces but he’s up there in age. I just dont’ think we can keep him with all the depth we have at DL.

    6. Sidney Rice- must keep! Pay him however much we need to pay him to keep him! It will make the job for the QB so much easier!

    7. Ben Leber- we have to try and keep. Our LB core is good just lacking a secondary. We need to keep him around.

    8. Madieu Williams – face it, our whole secondary blows outside of the run stopping winfield! I think we need to pick up a safety, maybe even bob sanders! let’s cut him!

    9. Tavaris Jackson- CUT, CUT, CUT!! got a chance to shine and blew it again.. story of his life…

    My main point of all of this… we will be losing talent but we have alot of depth! We will need some QB/WR help but i think our D line will still be great! Just need C. Griffin to stay healthy on the outside and find a decent safety!

  36. heyooooh says: Feb 21, 2011 9:31 PM

    I’d be careful about overpaying for Rice. He has talent, but Favre made this guy his prime target. He didn’t do much before Favre. You wonder if he’ll do much with a 2nd rate QB again, now that Favre’s gone.

  37. JimmySmith says: Feb 21, 2011 9:36 PM

    Talent drain? This team finished in last place, how much talent does it take (or not take) to finish behind the Lions?

    They are going to be God Awful but that wouldn’t stop the fans from thinking otherwise, delusional as they come.

  38. randomjim says: Feb 21, 2011 10:13 PM

    I wouldn’t pay Rice too much. One good season w/ Favre, didn’t prove enough, & is hurt too much.
    I blame him for a lot of the problems this year.
    He waited & still had to get the surgery. Favre had lost his deep threat, more in the box against Peterson. They traded for Camarillo & took a chance on Moss because they needed help @ WR.

  39. thejuddstir says: Feb 21, 2011 10:18 PM

    I’m not a Vikings fan but gotta laugh at the posters. No matter what team is being discussed, why is it always the redneck fans of the teams within the same division that try to “convince” themselves that a particular team is bad or a loser, or whatever……..we all know what that really spells out…….f-e-a-r. Ravens fans knock the Steelers and vice versa, Jets and Pats, Raiders and everyone in their division, lol….saints and falcons and packers/vikings. As an all around football fan, i can’t help but see the vikings situation as a year where everything bad that could happen….happened. Keep in mind, key players were hurt, childress was disliked, roof caved in, etc. etc……this is a team that still has a lot of talent and if they find a qb fix they will be right in the thick of things next year………..if there is a next year, lol.

  40. arnoldziffel says: Feb 21, 2011 11:41 PM

    Just curious … but why didn’t the Vikings attempt to sign any of these guys during the season … considering this was a year without a salary cap.

    Note what Ted Thompson did with the Packers, and compare this to how the Vikings operated – there seems to be a night and day difference.

    It looks like the Vikings will be inhabiting the NFC North cellar for the next few years. Who has less talent on their current roster than the Vikings? Outside of Adrian Peterson, the cupboard seems to be pretty bare.

    The Packers, Lions and Bears all have young, decent quarterbacks … while the Vikings 2011 starting quarterback may not yet even be on the roster – a tough situation for a team with a new offensive coordinator.

  41. preseasonchamps08 says: Feb 22, 2011 12:42 AM

    The Vikes are in big trouble. I cannot see them winning more than four games this year, especially since their quarterback is going to a rookie. They have Adrian Peterson (with an awful o-line) and a decent defense. Good luck Vikes,it’s nice to know my Lions won’t be the worst team in the division in consecutive years…The Bears may finish worse though, as long as Brian Urlacker has a season-ending injury like he does most years.

  42. gdeli says: Feb 22, 2011 12:54 AM

    Too many problem areas. They’re screwed! I hope I am wrong. But I have to be proven wrong by a great record first.

  43. brewdogg says: Feb 22, 2011 2:25 AM

    Rice – Like it or not, without Rice, there is trouble for whoever the QB is. I love Harvin, but he should be operating out of the slot as much as possible, not out wide, and he certainly shouldn’t be the #1. Without Rice, there is a glaring hole on the outside, and the FA market doesn’t look promising.

    Edwards – He may be retained because of Griffin’s troubles. Like Rice, overpaying would be a mistake, but the hole left might be an even bigger one. Robison is a good rotational player, but shouldn’t be the starter.

    Pat – Thanks for all the good work, but unless you want to sign for a small salary and take limited snaps, then you will probably be allowed to leave. Just know that you leave with the respect and admiration of the fans for what you have done for the team on the field.

    Leber – Will be retained. He won’t command a large payday, and there aren’t any real exciting players waiting to take his place. Besides, I think he likes being close to home. His hometown is just a few hours to the west, after all.

    Berrian/Madieu – bad FA signings that will go as part of Frazier’s house-cleaning.

    Camarillo/Lewis – Doesn’t matter much either way

    Ap – No one wants to hear this, but you know that there are teams inquiring, and you better believe the Vikings are listening. Given their present situation, if an offer comes that is too good to pass up, they will take the PR hit. But it will have to be a couple players at positions of need and a couple draft picks to get it done, and I’m struggling to think of a team other than the Redskins who would make an offer like that.

    Two cents deposited.

  44. johnnyb216 says: Feb 22, 2011 4:33 AM

    No pervy? Wow! This must be true. What a great year in football this has been.

  45. countyk66ers says: Feb 22, 2011 7:02 AM

    As a Packer fan I’m tired of fellow Green Bay bloggers ripping the Vikes. Its been a great rivalry through the years. I hope they build an outdoor stadium and stay in Minnesota.

  46. treydogg97 says: Feb 22, 2011 7:41 AM

    Everyone loves to hate on the Vikings!

    The only guy the Vikes should sign from that list is Sidney Rice, the other guys are easily replacable IMO. Maybe hold on to Longwell since FA kickers seem to get passed around and suck. And yes, please please PLEASE cut Berrian and Madieu.

  47. schrutebeetfarms says: Feb 22, 2011 1:03 PM

    They will have a talent drain which will be different than the morale drain named Favre they had for the past few years.

  48. ejmat2 says: Feb 22, 2011 3:15 PM

    countyk66ers says:
    Feb 22, 2011 7:02 AM
    As a Packer fan I’m tired of fellow Green Bay bloggers ripping the Vikes. Its been a great rivalry through the years. I hope they build an outdoor stadium and stay in Minnesota.
    Good post. It cracks me up when people make the joke of moving to LA or whatever. It just shows me how little they care about the NFL. The NFL has had some great rivalries over the years. I for one would hate to see GB, the Bears or the Lions leave the North as a Viking fan.

    Now onto the “talent” of the Vikings. Let people continue cracking jokes and thinking the Vikings have no talent. The fact is they do. Unless you truthfully can tell me AP, Harvin, Rice, Allen, K. WIlliams, EJ Henderson, Shiancoe, Hutchinson, Greenway all suck. That is at least 8 very talented players right there. So please make a fool of yourself and tell us how the Vikings have no talent.

    Yes like most teams there are holes to fill. But to think this team has no talent is the biggest joke of all.

  49. vikesfansteve says: Feb 22, 2011 5:39 PM

    iknowfootballandyoudont says: Feb 21, 2011 7:00 PM

    The Vikings MUST HAVE, without a doubt, #1 TOP priority needs to be signing Longwell .
    He is going to be their scoring stud for the next few years.

    You wouldn’t know your ass from a hole in the ground. Longwell & his short pathetic kickoffs were just as much responsible for the loss to the Saints as the 5 turnovers. The kickoff in OT gave the Saints the ball at the 45. It was over then. He would have been better kicking it out of bounds. Longwell & Gary Anderson should both DIE!!!!

  50. goombar2 says: Feb 23, 2011 12:25 PM

    countyk66ers says:
    Unless you truthfully can tell me AP, Harvin, Rice, Allen, K. WIlliams, EJ Henderson, Shiancoe, Hutchinson, Greenway all suck.

    See, this is a perfect post of viking fan gullibility. You guys really don’t know what you have and you have to reach.

    Yeah, AP is a stud… Little problem though – the NFL is a passing league and he’s far and away your only offensive weapon. That’s just sad.

    Rice had one season, that’s not a stud and the knock on the guy has always been his heart and he showed a lot of heart this last year – or lack of.

    EJ is a tough guy, but he’s not very talented. He looked slow out there, but he was coming back from the leg injury. Consider the jury out.

    Allen is a shadow of his former self. Started getting a few sacks when teams didn’t respect him anymore, but was no force.

    Shanty is a joke and yeah, he sucks.

    After last season why mention Hutch? I hate to beat a dead horse, and boy his career is a dead horse, but that old gray mare ain’t what he used to be. If it wasn’t that I respected what the man “did” I’d say he sucks.

    Greenway is only valued by vike fans. Lot of tackles, but all down field, can’t cover, pretty replaceable, but the ownership is forced to spend big money on him.

    But if these are the vike studs, take a look at where the Pack lost players to IR… Same positions you guys think require studs… That might be a sign you vike fans (and organization) don’t understand how championship teams are assembled. And that statement should easily show which fan base is actually afraid.

    And the vikes can move. They were never a great rivalry. The Rams would be much more entertaining and the Packs real rival are the bears.

  51. jebdamone says: Feb 23, 2011 3:33 PM

    still don’t think the roof rebuild has been totally accounted for yet. vikes are trying (it seems successfully) to have insurance cover the roof cost of 19million. if not completely covered by insurance i believe the majority of it will be.

  52. jebdamone says: Feb 23, 2011 3:40 PM

    we NEED to sign sid. don’t care about the stupid decision he made last off season, don’t care that he is injury prone. i watch a lot of football: every team at least once last year and every snap of vikings for the last four years. anyone trying to tell my this kid isn’t a superstar receiver has obviously not seen enough of him. he is a nightmare for defenses…especially coupled with percy. we get him resigned and reboot our offensive line scheme (including showing sully the door) i think we will be fine. are we gonna win the super bowl next year? no, but we will be competitive against everyone.

  53. ybo1 says: Feb 23, 2011 4:56 PM

    Like many here, I don’t belive Rice will be offered a huge contract by another team only becasue of his injury history. What team wants that? I’m not sure how the Vikings will handle it. The one thing I do know the Vikings have a good scouting team (Pearcy Harvin, Rice, Peterson) and know how to pick talent. I don’t have any fears with that. If they lose some key players, they will use the draft to fill some of it. Will the Vikings be contenders if there is a season next year? Probably depending on who the QB will be. That to me is the biggest ??? And Packers, you’d better pray Rogers doesn’t get hurt, with out him you can hardly call yourself a football team.

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