Free agency tracker: Vikings have 6 former players left on the market
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Joe Webb was the most recent former Minnesota Vikings player to find a new team. Toby Gerhart signed a lucrative deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Chris Cook landed a one-year deal with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Vikings re-signed quarterback Matt Cassel, defensive end Everson Griffen, defensive tackle Fred Evans, guards Charlie Johnson and Joe Berger, tendered running back Matt Asiata, re-signed linebacker Larry Dean, receiver Jerome Simpson and cornerback/punt returner Marcus Sherels.
That leaves six.
Defensive end Jared Allen, defensive tackle Kevin Williams, tackle J'Marcus Webb, linebacker Desmond Bishop, quarterback Josh Freeman and linebacker Marvin Mitchell are still on the free agent market after nearly two weeks. The Vikings also cut Erin Henderson, Letroy Guion and John Carlson, but only Henderson remains available.
Allen, 32 in April, left Seattle without a deal despite reports that he had agreed to sign with the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Per ESPN, we should hear about Allen's decision early this week regarding the Seahawks as he's mulling it over this weekend.
But that leaves an interesting mix of free agents that don't have the same pedigree or market as Allen.
Kevin Williams, 33, is in a tough spot that most successful veterans face. The six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle appears to be at the end of the road in Minnesota, where he started 171 games. But if he signs elsewhere, he'll be asked to compete for a rotational role that he was reluctant to concede to in recent years with the Vikings.
J'Marcus Webb, 25, appeared in a handful of games with the Vikings late in the season when tight end depth waned. Webb filled in for right tackle Phil Loadholt when he left the November loss at Dallas with a concussion, but Webb's playing time was spotty as was his play. Webb reportedly visited the Kansas City Chiefs in the first week of free agency. He's got youth on his side and will likely end up fighting for a spot at camps this summer.
Desmond Bishop, 29, doesn't have time on his side. Bishop is a Super Bowl champion and once finished with back-to-back 100-plus tackle seasons with the Green Bay Packers before suffering two season-ending injuries in as many seasons. Bishop tore his ACL in his first start in the Oct. 13 loss against Carolina and never got the chance to show his recovery from a torn hamstring tendon in 2012. From his time in Minnesota, he flashed the instincts needed to be an impactful linebacker, but questions surround his ability to stay healthy. He turns 30 in July.
Marvin Mitchell, 29, started in just three games in 82 regular-season appearances before last season with the Vikings. Minnesota started Mitchell in 10 of the first 12 games at weak-side linebacker, but his playing time diminished down the stretch after the Vikings ultimately moved Audie Cole to the middle and shifted Henderson back to his old spot. Mitchell has been a solid special teams throughout his seven-year career, but it'd be surprising to see him get that many chances to start again.
Josh Freeman, 26, should take some blame for helping lead to the dismissal of two head coaches in Tampa Bay's Greg Schiano and the Vikings' Leslie Frazier last season. It's apparent that both coaches likely would've met the same fate without Freeman, but his potential baited the team's decision makers into thinking he'd be the franchise cadence caller. Freeman, a former first-round pick, was thought to be a fit for Oakland before the Raiders traded a sixth-round pick to sign Houston's Matt Schaub. There's always a market for quarterbacks, especially young passers with 60 career starts like Freeman.