What? You're not excited about locking up defensive tackle Letroy Guion for the next three years?
It's been a quiet, and for some Viking fans, a disappointing first day of free agency. I warned you the club might not be very aggressive when the NFL's free agency madness began on Tuesday. But the Vikes inaction, and other team's action, caught some fans by surprise it appears.
Let's take a free agent head count after Day #1:
* Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan – gone.
* Vincent Jackson – gone.
* Cortland Finnegan – gone.
* Carlos Rogers – gone.
So what is general manager Rick Spielman doing?
Well, I don't like to make excuses for the guy, but here are some realities Spielman and the Vikings are facing.
Coming off a 3-13 season, and a big rebuilding project ahead of them, the franchise is not a desirable location for big name free agents. Because of that, the Vikings would have to spend big to land a player like Jackson or Finnegan. That could have salary cap ramifications down the line.
I think what it is happening here is Spielman is balancing trying to improve the team while also not breaking the bank on guys who, by themselves, won't turn the Vikings into playoff and Super Bowl contenders.
If you're the 2009 Minnesota Vikings, you give Vincent Jackson $20 or $25 million guaranteed because he could push you over the top. The 2012 Vikings need much more than Vincent Jackson. So they let some other team overspend to get him. In this case, it happens to be Tampa Bay.
But what about the Guion signing? I think it's a defensible move. He won't turn 25 until June and towards the end of 2010, I really thought he was playing well and on the verge of being a breakout player. His play during the 2011 preseason confirmed my belief. I was getting excited. The Vikes had found a diamond in the rough. Then Guion went out and did squat for 16 regular season games.
Can a guy who did squat for an entire season improve enough to become a factor in 2012? I think it's possible in Guion's case. Perhaps the Vikings haven't figured out how to properly use him. Anyway, they could have done worse. Did I mention he won't turn 25 until June?