Four former Vikings defenders are still looking for a job
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As NFL teams begin Organized Team Activities next week, four former Minnesota Vikings players are still looking for a job.
Here's a breakdown of each player and the fellow free agents they're competing against for roster spots in free agency.
Kevin Williams, DT
The Vikings shed their starting pair of defensive tackles from last season in Letroy Guion and Kevin Williams. Guion landed across the border in Green Bay while the soon-to-be 34-year-old Williams is holding out for the right deal or likely headed for retirement. Williams has 12 NFL seasons under his belt and has been steadfast against playing nose tackle. Although he's missed just five games in his entire career, three to injury, Williams faces an uphill battle as an aging stud who likely won't get the respect he's looking for in a final contract. He worked out for the New York Giants in April.
Top free agent veterans left (DT): Williams, Johnny Jolly, Ryan Pickett, Aubrayo Franklin, Isaac Sopoaga
Average age: 32.6
Desmond Bishop, LB
After tearing his ACL in his first start for the Vikings in Week 5, Bishop saw his second season end to injury in as many years. A Super Bowl-winning linebacker, Bishop recorded 100-plus tackles in 2010 and 2011 for the Green Bay Packers as an inside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. Bishop's experience may land him at a training camp near you, but he'll be labeled injury prone until he lasts on a NFL field. He's appeared in four games since 2011 and turns 30 in July.
Top free agent vets left (ILB): Bishop, Pat Angerer, Stewart Bradley, Jonathan Vilma, Paris Lenon, Nick Barnett
Average age: 31
Marvin Mitchell, LB
The Vikings also did away with a pair of former starting linebackers in Erin Henderson and Mitchell, who started a career-high 10 games for Minnesota last season. Though he's never really stuck anywhere, Mitchell has appeared in 98 games across his seven seasons in the league. After finally getting his break to start last season, he played in just 310 snaps in Minnesota's little-used base defense, per ProFootballFocus.com. Mitchell's background as a veteran special teams contributor could help him land on an active roster next season. He was reportedly one of three linebackers to work out for the New England Patriots last week. He turns 30 in October.
Erin Henderson, LB
Henderson entered 2013 as the Vikings' "Plan B" at middle linebacker, as admitted by former coach Leslie Frazier later in the season. Through personal trials and on-field tribulations, Henderson never grew into the role and was cut as soon as possible after his second arrest for drunken driving in six weeks on January 1. It's hard to believe he'll get many more chances.
Top free agent vets left (OLB): Mitchell, Henderson, James Harrison, Michael Boley, Stephen Nicholas, James Anderson
Average age: 30.6
The rest of the Vikings' 15 unrestricted free agents from 2013 either re-signed to stay in Minnesota or found new homes. Minnesota let six go to different teams: Jared Allen (Chicago), J'Marcus Webb (Kansas City), Toby Gerhart (Jacksonville), Josh Freeman (New York Giants), Joe Webb (Carolina) and Chris Cook (San Francisco), re-signed six: Matt Cassel, Everson Griffen, Jerome Simpson, Fred Evans, Charlie Johnson and Joe Berger -- and still have three free agents on the market, not including Henderson, who was cut.