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Four Vikings make ESPN’s top 50 free agents list

The Minnesota Vikings are not likely to be one of the NFL’s most active teams in free agency, but decisions surrounding the quarterback position will impact how the dominoes fall around the league.

This week, ESPN released its list of the top 50 free agents and, as you might expect, all three Vikings QBs are listed. Here’s where author Kevin Seifert ranked the Vikings’ free agents:

5 – QB, Case Keenum 

18 -QB,  Sam Bradford

23 – QB, Teddy Bridgewater

41 – RB, Jerick McKinnon

Seifert believes there will be plenty of competition for Keenum if the Vikings decide to move on.

He wrote:

“The Vikings would be hard-pressed to let Keenum leave after he finished the season with the NFL’s second-highest Total QBR (69.5) and led them to the NFC Championship Game. Even if they’re not ready to commit long term based on 15 high-level starts, the franchise tag could be a reasonable option. Otherwise, Keenum would find multiple suitors on the open market.”

Bradford and Bridgewater’s knee histories played a role in ranking below Keenum.

Seifert named Kirk Cousins the No. 1 free agent on the market.

Others who might receive some attention from the Vikings include:

9 – Seattle, DT, Sheldon Richardson

There are concerns over Richardson’s character, but he’s a dominating player.

17 – Atlanta, DT, Dontari Poe

Started 16 games for an improved Atlanta defense

19 -Washington, CB,  Bashaud Breeland

Versatile corner who ranked 54th of 121 by Pro Football Focus ratings

20 – Jacksonville, CB, Aaron Colvin

Nickel corner who PFF rated 47th

21 – Philadelphia, TE, Trey Burton

Eagles’ No. 2 tight end has great speed, athleticism.

28 – Seattle, WR, Paul Richardson

Deep threat receiver who made 44 catches for the Hawks.

31 – New York Giants, G, Justin Pugh

Vikings will need to replace Joe Berger if he retires. Pugh is a solid veteran.

44 – Tennessee, G, Josh Kline

Kline ranked 22nd by PFF ratings

47 – Philadelphia, CB, Patrick Robinson

Played a big role in a great Eagles defense. Ranked sixth by PFF.

  • Llaarryy

    Siefert is allowing his MN bias to bleed thru. No way Teddy will be pursued as the 23rd most attractive FA.

    The only way Teddy signs a big deal is if it’s heavily based on performance. His guaranteed money will be in the mid-upper backup QB range. It could very well be a one year deal.

    The claim that Case led the team to the NFCCG when he was just a good game manager that didn’t lose games the defense won is another example of Siefert going over the top.

    • Tom Gerber

      Disagree. I think plenty of teams will be interested in Teddy. Young. Talented. Freak knee injury if fully healed will be validated by any teams of course. Case helped win many game with his passing and game mgmt. He helped make the vikings offense balanced instead of run heavy approach.

      • Llaarryy

        “If fully healed.”

        Also read what you just wrote. You really think “plenty of teams” know that he’s fully healed? What proof do they have? Literally 9 snaps in 2017. That’s all the film they have on him.

        A Top 23 FA is a like a 1st round pick. Would “plenty of teams” use their No. 1 on a college QB who came out after a 9-play season?

        • Tom Gerber

          He will of course go thru medical reviews – that’s how they will know if he is fully healed.

          They have more film than 9 plays. They have 2014 and 2015 plus their college scouting reports. It’s not done based on 9 plays and we all know that. Not sure why you are playing that game.

          Yes I think teams will be very very interested in Teddy.

          • Llaarryy

            So you just made my argument for me. Has Teddy gone thru those medical reviews yet? No. Yet people with purple sunglasses on already believe he’ll be the 23rd most sought after FA. Because they already are denying that the injury matters, and are rewinding past two full seasons to pre-injury Teddy film.

            Many teams will be interested in Teddy, like many teams are interested in a college QB who looked decent before a devastating injury limited him to only 9 plays his last two years in school. How many would actually use their No. 1 on him? Teams see those guys as late rounders or undrafted guys.

          • Tom Gerber

            Doesn’t mean he isn’t in that range for desireability by teams. You and I have no real idea what teams think.

            Plus the fact he HAS gone thru medical evaluation and was fully cleared to play by the vikings says a lot too. Not like he was still on disabled list.

            No one is denying the injury matters. All players have to go thru medical reviews – particularly for past injuries.

          • Llaarryy

            So you’re saying you have “no real idea,” yet you still feel compelled to argue against my opinion that Teddy isn’t a Top 23 FA.

            Okay, thanks for playing.

          • Tom Gerber

            Yep just as you feel compelled to argue back.

          • cka2nd

            Llaarryy’s only asserted that a Top 23 free agent is like a first round draft pick, he hasn’t actually provided us with any evidence to back that up. He may be right that Teddy will get mid- to upper-back-up guaranteed money and is almost certainly correct that his contract will include lots of incentives, but I think it will be a front-loaded two or three year deal with an easy out after the first year for the team. Why? Because he is a young QUARTERBACK – most important position on the team, so they tend to be overvalued in both fee agency and the draft – with two years of film that will probably convince some team to give him a shot at being some kind of starter, maybe down the road (Stelers), maybe holding the place for a raw kid they just picked up in the draft this year or last (Browns), maybe to provide some heat behind their own marginal starter (Jags, Fins).

            No one thinks Bridgewater is going to get even the kind of deal that the Bears gave Mike Glennon last year, no one, but he’s not going to be treated like a late-rounder or un-drafted free agent, either.

    • Adam

      I think teddy being #23 is actually pretty reasonable.. he is a former first round pick that had a lot of upside prior to his injury…

      • Llaarryy

        Read what you just wrote. You’re focused on Teddy before the injury.

        • cka2nd

          And nobody is saying that the injury will be ignored. If we were talking about pre-injury Teddy as a free agent, he’d be in the top 10, maybe the top five, since he’s younger than Case with more expected upside, less of a roller coaster of a career, and took a weaker team into the playoffs in his second year in the league, not his sixth. But, as you say, we’re not talking about pre-injury Teddy, so he’s 18 spots behind Case, which is pretty much where they both belong THIS off-season.

  • Rather surprised that Jet is ranked THAT high.

    • Jeeves

      I’m not surprised. He will be much more difficult to replace than many seem to think.

      • Gordon Guffey

        I am so hoping he wants to retire a Viking ~ LOL ~ But I know he did his time behind AP and shined some thing year ~ The other hope is that its a soft market for RB this year due to the draft and they can get him resign ~ Cook’s comeback is looking good but when will he be ready to take hits ~ I love having Murray for the big back stuff and he breaks off some nice long runs and he’s a good pass protractor ~ But either by design or lack of talent in the passing game area
        ((( hands ))) Murray doesn’t do much in the passing game ~ And if our new OC does any of the things that the Eagles did they threw to the RB’s a lot ~

        Yeah I would love to see McKinnon back and I dont believe you can count on a 4th or 5th round RB just in case it takes Cook a little longer to get back in the full go of things ~

        • cka2nd

          Someone somewhere said that McKinnon is more of a threat on running plays than most “pass-catching” running backs, but I haven’t checked that claim against the stats. If it is true, Jeeves could be right.

          Gordon, Murray isn’t as prolific a receiver as McKinnon, but the difference in career yards per reception is negligible, 7.0 yards for Murray and 6.9 for McKinnon. Another similarity is that they seem to be sharing a seesaw in the passing game, with one averaging more yards per catch in even numbered years and the other in odd numbered ones. The only substantial difference between the two is receiving touchdowns, Jet having five and Murray zero, but they’ve both been effective receivers.

          • Gordon Guffey

            Thanks for that info cka2nd ~ That really weird about the odd and even years ~ Maybe the new OC can get more out of Murray in the passing game ~ I hope Cook can return to the level he was playing at when he blew out his ACL ~

  • Wilbur One

    Since this list is on the restricted side of the ESPN paywall, check out this unrestricted but very similar list at ABC.
    Wonder why the writer thinks TE and WR FAs are of interest to the Vikings?

    • Jeeves

      So similar that even the authors’ names are identical.

      • Wilbur One

        Wow, I hadn’t noticed that because the Vikings FAs all dropped one spot on the ABC list.

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  • This is old news, originally posted on January 17th. It lists Garoppolo as the #2 highest FA, but obviously he signed a HUGE contract since then. I think the biggest issue for Teddy B is not whether or not his knee is fully healthy, but what will his mental state (relative to that knee) be. Even if medically healthy, it takes a LOT for one’s mind to not worry/wonder what happens during a game when a 300 lb offensive lineman crashes into your surgically-repaired knee. This can really give a QB the jitters, and understandably so. I don’t see many (any?) other teams willing to pay for that unknown, unless as a back-up and I think the Vikings are expecting to be able to resign him in that capacity. Oh, and of course Teddy is saying he wants to be a starter; what QB DOESN’T want to start? Hell, I want to be a starting QB in the NFL.

    • Wilbur One

      I like to be a starter too, but on the list of free agent QBs, I’m showing up right after Ed McMahon. Oh lookie, I’ve moved up a spot.

    • cka2nd

      I agree with you about the mental aspects of returning from an injury, but not about the size of the market for Bridgewater (more than one team), or the relative level at which he’ll be signed (placeholder starter, “look over your shoulder” back-up – e.g., NOT Derek Anderson – or potential heir apparent “if you can prove you’re healthy and not gun-shy” are all possibilities it’s not that hard to imagine).

  • Gordon Guffey

    I dont see Zimmer or Spielman or the Wilf’s if you hear the talk cheating on the character issues ~ Nope I dont see them doing that ~ They haven’t in Spielman and Zimmers first 4 years ~

    • cka2nd

      Jeez, Gordon, Teddy’s 23rd on the damned list, 18 spots below Case, so I don’t think the authors are exactly giving him a ****job. And as for not being able to “hold off Sam,” he was coming back earlier than expected from almost having his %#$@&! leg amputated. This is a bone that you could really drop!

      And God forbid we should consider what anyone did before a serious
      injury, cause we’ve never seen anyone come back from a major injury and
      play well (wait, what about…).

      • Gordon Guffey

        No its not a bone I can drop cka2nd ~ Its a fact that Teddy was dropped from the active roster once Sam could return ~ Not 2 or 3 games after Sam could become active ~ But the first week that Sam could become active ~ Nor do I buy into the list that was given and his ranking ~ This is one of Coller’s pets ~ Coller Judd and an number of fans couldn’t stop talking about how Teddy would be the starting QB by the Redskin’s game or just shortly afterwards ~It took Coller till week 14 to finally stop talking about how Teddy would replace Case or if he stumbled in the playoffs how quickly Teddy would be in the game ~ Teddy wasn’t even active for the playoff games ~ And Sadly the whole team stumbled in the playoffs ~

        As for Teddy working his way back from almost having his %#$@&! leg amputated ~ I tip my hat to the young man for all the hard work h had to put into getting to getting there ~ However its yet to be seen if Teddy will ever be a starter again ~ First he missed two year of his football life ~ Second is the type of injury that you so roughly pointed out ~ No one and I mean no one knows if that leg will hold up to a 16+ game season ~ Or if its even possible for him to to run if the pocket collapses around him ~

        So please point out to me just how it is he ranks so high on the ESPN list ~ Is it based off hope ~

        Either way it makes no since to rank Teddy this high ~ None ~ Many of the players below Teddy on the list would be a far better value if they are dont have the same kind of injury history ~Well if a GM wants to keep his job ~

        • cka2nd

          “So please point out to me just how it is he ranks so high on the ESPN list ~ Is it based off hope ~”

          Of course it’s “based off hope,” at least in part. I can’t see the full list, but here’s my Top 10 Reasons Why Teddy Bridgewater Is a 2018 ESPN Top 25 Free Agent:

          1. He’s a 25-year old quarterback, most important position yada, yada yim yam, so he’s ranked higher over better players at other positions.
          2. He started 28 games his first two years in the league, which is rare.
          3. He has a (career) winning record as a starter of 17-11 in those rookie and sophomore seasons, also rare.
          4. He had a passer rating of 85.2 and 88.7 in those first two years, respectively, which is pretty f***ing remarkable.
          5. But for a missed field goal, he would have a playoff victory under his belt.
          6. PFF ranked him the 13th best QB in the NFL for his sophomore season in the league.
          7. As far as I know, there are no questions at all about his character, on or off the football field, and he was able to return from his injury earlier than most people expected, which speaks to his determination and self-discipline.
          8. For a team looking to be competitive in 2018 or 2019, he is a better bet than most rookie first round quarterbacks, many of whom fail (do I really need to come up with a list…).
          9. There are six teams with virtually open starting QB positions for next season, another half-dozen with starting QB’s in their mid- to late-30’s or over 40, and two or three that have reportedly started having second thoughts over their current starting QB. That’s a potential market of 14 out of 32 teams.
          10. Other NFL quarterbacks have returned from season-ending and near-career ending injuries to have productive, even Super Bowl-winning, careers.

          If this were early 2016 and a 23-year old Bridgewater was a free agent after said rookie and sophomore seasons and had not suffered that injury, he would be a Top 5 or 10 free agent, depending on who else was available that off-season. He is a Top 25 free agent in 2018 after said injury because doubts over that injury have dragged his stock down.

          The fact that Teddy was immediately pushed aside once Sam became available for the playoffs is not quite meaningless, but it’s damned close. Bidgewater CAME BACK TOO EARLY, just like Bradford came back too early against Chicago, just like many a player has tried to come back too early from an injury, minor or catastrophic. Contrary to what you and some other fever-minded fans seem to think, there was not some kind of Thunder Dome competition between Bradford and Bridgewater over who would back up Keenum in the playoffs, no Captain Kirk vs. the Gorn captain trial by combat to the death. Bradford was deemed ready to play 13 weeks after he came back too early, and Bridgewater was not four weeks after he came back too early.

          For a team looking for a young quarterback who MIGHT be able to be their starter for a year or two until their stud of the future is ready, or who MIGHT be able to be their starter of the future, or who MIGHT be a quality back-up and fill-in starter with more upside than usual in the position, Teddy is a legitimate free agent target, one who has two years of winning experience under his belt, and that at an earlier stage in his career than probably 90% of other NFL starting QB’s. He is a legitimate Top 25 free agent this off-season.

          • Gordon Guffey

            All good points but I still dont see anything close to 23 without knowing his health ~ And the Vikings are not sharing that at this point dang it ~ On a side note ~ Teddy said he was healthy and could have come back even sooner and this is what some are saying his agent will use against the Vikings if they try to toll his contract ~ The Team doctor said he was healthy ~ His own doctor said he was healthy when he came off the PUP list ~

            Without playing 10 snaps in the last 2 years I dont see how he could be on the list let along #23 ~ This is not me saying he shouldn’t be resign ~ If fact seeing how the Vikings have paid him well for rehabbing from a none contact injury I dont know how he could even fuss if the Vikings tolled his contract ~

  • Andre Esters

    Kind of surprising that Teddy finds himself in the upper half of desirable free agents… major risk for any team to invest in him, no matter how much I would enjoy seeing him succeed in purple.
    It’s hard to tell where anyone stands on the QB direction, but if Minnesota was able to strike a lucky deal with Cousins, everything else could fall into place a lot smoother. Going with Keenum, Bradford, or even Teddy raises so many questions, the entire offseason would become a nail bitter until kickoff.

    • cka2nd

      There are more than a dozen teams looking for either a new starter now or a guy who might be their QB of the future. Depending on the size and structure of the contract for a 25-year old with two years of good, if not great, NFL starting experience, the risk could be quite acceptable.


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