The Vikings are a weird team. They have old players and young players, players with monster contracts and others still on their rookie dollars. I suppose this isn't all that strange among other NFL teams out there (especially teams that SUCK), but the good teams have young players locked up with big contracts (or at least players that are still good) instead of the other way around. For a couple of years now, age and contracts have been weighing the Vikings down from taking that "next step" from skid mark to solid dump. So what can be done? We can get rid of a lot of crap players, free up cap space, and GET RICH. Talent-wise, of course.
ESPN 1500's Tom Pelissero had an article on this topic recently, and reviewing some of the albatross contracts that are tied to poor player production makes it pretty clear as to why the Vikings are terrible. We've reviewed some of those players and contracts and have offered up our top five players we think should be locked up in the gallows outside the Metrodome for a classic tomato toss before we burn their contracts like witches. These will end up including both players tied into a contract going into next year and players likely coming off the books to help free up more cap space as they walk.
The only regret? That McKinnie and Berrian will miss out on the floggings.
- Steve Hutchinson: Hutchinson is the major white elephant (literally and figuratively and metaphorically) on the team, and that includes us talking about Toby Gerhart who really is a fat ass elephant. He's set to make $7 Million in 2012 (5th highest played player on the team going into 2012), and he hasn't played a full season since 2009. On top of that, he's going into 2012 at the age of 35, and by then in football years, you may as well be dead. As is, we're going to probably draft Matt Kalil with the number three pick anyway, move that wildebeest Charlie Johnson to a guard position, and have less of a need for Hutch. Sad to see the poison pill player go, but that's what happens when you get old. No one likes you and you hurt ALL the time. Trust me.
- Cedric Griffin: Speaking of hurting all the time ... I feel terrible to likely see Griffin get cut from the team. After an up and down couple of years to start, he really was starting to come on in 2009 before his knees went all Nancy Kerrigan and he pretty much died. Then, it happened again. As is, he'll be 30 going into 2012 with more robot pieces than the Steve Austin. Unfortunately, they've ended up being broken pieces of coffee makers and first generation IBM computers. Griffin is not coming back, and as he's scheduled to make $4.6 Million (6th highest on the team), I can't really blame the team if they cut him.
- Visanthe Shiancoe: The most well endowed player on the team doesn't just carry around a large phalange. He also played with a monster contact (which has expired, making him a free agent) and isn't getting any younger. With Jim Kleinsasser retiring, and the only other tight end that I've bothered to learn the name of on the team being n00b Kyle Rudolph, I truly wouldn't mind Shank coming back at a decent price for about three more years. The last two years we've been terrible, he's been one player who consistently gave effort and tried to make sure the team didn't look like a cheerleading squad. For that reason alone, I'd reward him, WITH MONEY, but it likely isn't going to happen.
- EJ Henderson: There was once a time when EJ Henderson was considered one of our best up-and-coming players. Then his femur decided to role-play some Alderaan and effectively end his career. Sure, he's come back from that and played football, but he just hasn't been the same. He's kind of a mix between Cedric Griffin and Visanthe Shianco; a player that couldn't heal like Jesus who is also unrestricted and coming off the books, anyway. I wouldn't re-sign him, though, as I've liked what I've seen out of some of our backup linebackers, occasionally. Clearly, we could still use some help there, but since we could use help from GM down to the water boy, linebacker is pretty low on the priority list.
- Ryan Longwell: LOL, SURPLISED?! I kind of am, but could see Longwell get the Skyrim arrow to the knee. He'll be 38 in 2012, and his leg strength has been decreasing noticeably for a couple of years. He had 2011 extended on his payday thanks to the NFL rule moving kick-offs up, but that only helps so much when you have shit heads who keep running the ball out anyway. And at $2.6 Million due in 2012, that makes the kicker the 14th highest paid player on the team. The real travesty? HE'S PAID MORE THAN KLUWE. I sure Kluwe doesn't give a shit, but that's still too bad. And since this team is going to suck so much in 2012 (at least to the point when we're not going to have to rely on a kicker to win us any meaningful games), now may be the time to break in a new kicker. See ya, Ryan.
Did we miss any purple clad nerds that you think will be on the outs like after a Mexican meal? Let us know in the comments. Then, offer your farewells to these dead-weights. Adios, amigos! Likely.
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