2010 Vikings: What if I were in Charge?

The madness known as NFL free agency began early today and has already garnered a lot of attention. The hated Bears landed the biggest prize in DE Julius Peppers and snared one of my favorite Vikings, RB Chester Taylor. Not good.

What have the Vikings been up to? Not much. Because of the quirky Collective Bargaining Agreement and the team’s trip to the NFC title game, the Vikes are not allowed to sign an unrestricted free agent unless they lose one of their own. Now that Taylor’s gone, it’s game-on.

The team is reportedly interested in former Colts CB Marlin Jackson. Jackson, a 1st round pick by Indy in 2005, has appeared in just 11 games the past two seasons because of knee injuries. I like the idea of the Vikes landing a cornerback, but I am not sure Jackson is the guy. Another option that might warrant consideration is Lito Sheppard, who was recently released by the Jets. Sheppard, a 2-time Pro Bowler, spent the first 7 years of his career in Philadelphia and we know Brad Childress loooooooooves him some former Eagles.

Despite losing Taylor and being relegated to bit players in free agency, the Vikings have accomplished a couple of productive things this week. By putting a 1st round tender on DE Ray Edwards and a 3rd round tender on QB Tarvaris Jackson, the team has all but guaranteed both will be in purple next season.

That being said, the Vikings have a lot of work to do this off-season and if I were running the team (like that will ever happen), these would be the top 3 things on my to-do list:

1. Revamp the Secondary
We all love Antoine Winfield and for good reason, the guy is everything you want a football player to be - tough, smart, intense and talented – but he aint getting any younger. Now is the time to transition him over to free safety. Madieu Williams has been a bust; I’ve seen enough of him. Plug Winfield in at free safety and let Tyrell Johnson and Jamarca Sanford battle it out at strong safety. With Cedric Griffin coming of a torn ACL, I’d sign a veteran like Jackson or Sheppard, bring back Benny Sapp and take a corner in the first three rounds.

2. Dump Sage Rosenfels and Draft a QB
You have to think Favre is coming back and if he doesn’t you have Jackson as insurance. Yes, most fans hate to hear that, but T-Jack is better than he is given credit for. Rosenfels meanwhile is 32, has never done anything in the NFL and was horrible during the preseason in 2009. Get a low round pick for Sage and use a higher choice on a promising signal caller.

3. Replace Chester Taylor
I am a sucker for big names. I think Ladanian Tomlinson would complement Adrian Peterson well – he is a great receiver out of the backfield and could thrive in a reduced rushing role. And you know he’s got a chip on his shoulder right about now. Brian Westbrook would also fit the bill and he’s got that former Eagle thing going for him, but he just can’t stay healthy. While he has more upside than LT, Tomlinson is more reliable and reliability wins out here.

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