After a free-agency period filled with non-descript signings that did little, if anything, to address the team's most pressing needs and a draft that appears likely to produce one productive starter and, possibly, two or three spot players as early as this season, the Minnesota Vikings remain in need of players at several key positions heading into the 2007 season. Barring an unexpected windfall in the post-June 1 free-agency pool, the Vikings' predicament requires some immediate outside-the-box thinking.
Prior to free agency and the draft, the Vikings were in desperate need of a right offensive tackle, a right offensive guard, two to four wide receivers, a pass-catching tight end, one or two defensive ends, a cornerback, a safety, and a starting quarterback for 2007.
The Vikings filled their off-season needs by signing little used, journeyman wide-receiver Bobby Wade, little-used tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, and injured safety Mike Doss. In the draft, the Vikings picked up several wide receivers, most with more promise than proven ability and one with the dual affliction of having played at the other USC and being widely regarded as an immature pain in the ass, a defensive end, and a cornerback--all of whom the Vikings believe can make a contribution in 2007.
Assuming that the Vikings' signees and picks pan out and that the right ones pan out in 2007, the Vikings still have gaping holes on the offensive line, at wide receiver, and at defensive end. Assuming, as well, that the team will be unable or unwilling to spend some of the team's remaining $28 million in salary cap space on a veteran free agent that becomes available on June 1st, the Vikings' predicament thus requires some creative engineering.
Filling the Holes
To fill their remaining holes in 2007, the Vikings have more options than they give themselves credit for. Beginning with the most important position on the field, the Vikings still have a very good option for filling their quarterback vacancy.
With Tarvaris Jackson at least another season away from being prepared to lead an NFL team to any meaningful victory total and Brooks Bollinger apparently further behind than that--or given no chance by a coaching staff intent on proving itself right for banking on Jackson so early--there is a veteran presence that remains on the market for as little as a fourth- or fifth-round draft pick that would fit nicely onto the Vikings' roster. That player is current Kansas City quarterback Trent Green.
When healthy, Green is one of the more capable passers in the game. In 2005, Green passed for over 4,000 yards and had 17 TD passes despite presiding over an offense that featured a TD-scoring machine in running back Larry Johnson. Given Green's history with concussions and Kansas City's other options at quarterback, however, Kansas City is ready to cut ties with its former Pro Bowl quarterback.
With Kansas City intent on starting Brodie Croyle or Damon Huard next season, with the other serving as the number two quarterback, the writing has long been on the wall for Green in Kansas City. Green's agent has already informed Kansas City that the quarterback will not return to the team next season and has requested a trade. Kansas City seems all too willing to part with Green but is said to be asking for something more than the sixth-round draft pick that the Dolphins have offered for Green in return. The only question remaining is whether Kansas plays petty for a mess that it created and refuses to trade Green for less than the team had hoped, once upon a time.
Green would give the Vikings the veteran presence they so desperately need at quarterback and would provide the team with a legitimate starting quarterback that could mean the difference between four more wins or four more losses. Odds are Childress would veto this move, not only because it is not his brain child but also because it would preclude him from showing everyone that he was right and everyone else was wrong about Jackson's NFL timeline.
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