The big part of free agency is done, the draft is over, and training camp is just around the corner. Teams have, for the most part, solidified their rosters and are preparing to move forward into the 2010 season.
However, there is still some work that needs to be done.
The Vikings still have several holes and/or depth questions that need to be answered for this team to move forward.
5) Grab an outside linebacker from free agency.
There are a few big names at the linebacker position waiting for a call. Guys like Keith Bullock and Tyjuan Hagler are still sitting there.
Both suffered severe injuries last season. Bullock tore his ACL, and Hagler dealt with torn biceps. However, neither would be asked to start unless Ben Leber starts a rapid decline in his play.
The Vikings have almost nothing in depth at the linebacker position. Grabbing a linebacker could help a shaky corps.
4) Inquire about O.J. Atogwe.
Atogwe's time with St. Louis appears to be running out. He doesn't want to be in St. Louis and has not signed any offer.
The Rams still hold his rights and may trade him, but they won't just release him. He's too good of a player to simply let go.
Madieu Williams is awful and Tyrell Johnson is still learning the game. The Vikings severely overpaid for Williams' services in 2008 and are likely regretting the decision. He played okay after coming back form a neck injury in 2008, but played very poorly the entire 2009 season.
It may take a bit to get Atogwe, but it could be worth it. The guy is a ballhawking safety with mad skills. Anything is better than Madieu Williams, right?
3) Let Naufahu Tahi go.
The Cincinnati Bengals signed Tahi to a $1.4 million offer sheet last season and the Vikings matched it.
What did the Vikings get in return?
They ended their season two weeks early thanks to a stupid 12 men in the huddle penalty after a timeout!
Tahi is an okay blocker, but is overpaid and can't do anything with the ball in his hands. He's worthless, especially when the Vikings can sign a better fullback for less.
The Vikings did draft a fullback, sort of. They took Ryan D'Imperio in the seventh round of the 2010 NFL draft, but D'Imperio played linebacker in college.
The Vikings think they can convert him. Good luck...
2) Sign an offensive line to improve one of the biggest problems on the team.
In 2009, people criticized Adrian Peterson's play. After all, he only averaged 4.4 yards per carry.
However, is that really Peterson's fault? The facts say not at all.
Peterson was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on approximately 27 percent of his carries. That's absolutely ridiculous, especially for an offensive line that boasts future Hall of Famer Steve Hutchinson and two 6'8" and 340-plus pound offensive tackles.
While center John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt were first-year starters, right guard Anthony Herrera and the increasing age of Hutchinson and Bryant McKinnie are cause for concern.
Right guard Shawn Andrews is still available and could greatly improve the offensive line. While he has suffered through some injuries and depression, he is definitely worth the risk. Herrera can ride the bench and let the former Pro Bowler pave the way for another 1,000 yard season for Peterson.
Anther player they could take a look at is Chestor Pitts. The Vikings have shown interest in Pitts, but reportedly wanted to run through a full workout before pursuing the former Texan guard.
1) Decide a fate for Ray Edwards.
Edwards is not a happy man. He wants to be paid like an elite defensive end. He had 8.5 sacks in the regular season and a few more in the playoffs. He also led the league in quarterback hits, all this at a left defensive end. The guy deserves to be paid like an elite end.
Or does he?
Edwards has the benefit to play on the best defensive line in the NFL with two of the best players at their respective positions in Kevin Williams and Jared Allen.
Edwards does not face double-teams nor is he chipped by tight ends and running backs. He goes one-on-one all game long. There's no doubt he's a great player. He's strong, fast, and never stops, even if it means a penalty (albeit questionable ).
While Edwards has gotten better every year, the Vikings have Brian Robison as a good stop gap for a season or two. They also drafted first-round talent Everson Griffen in the fourth-round in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Edwards has a lot of value. The Vikings could pick up a first-round pick if he's traded shortly. Edwards is still very young at 25 years of age and has a decade to terrorize quarterbacks.
Either pay the man or trade him. Regardless, it's a win-win situation for the Vikings.
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