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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Slew Of Contractual ‘Situations’ Could Lead To Sharp Season For Vikings


Photo: Aj Mansour (KFAN)

By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
@AjKFAN

Minneapolis, MN – It’s no secret that for one reason or another, professional athletes tend to perform better when they are in a “contract year.” Look back to Joe Mauer in 2009 for the Minnesota Twins. Take a peak back to last season for the Vikings when Phil Loadholt and Jerome Felton took a “contract year” and paved the way for Adrian’s 2,097 yards. This premise is seen year after year. Looking at the current situation with the Minnesota Vikings, it then begs the question, are the Vikings set to have a better than average season because so many of their players or in “contract years”?

Taking a quick look at the Minnesota Vikings roster, one can see that thirteen players (five on offense and eight on defense) that should see regular action in 2013 are preparing to embark on a “contract year”. It’s a good mix of veteran players looking to land one more deal and young players wrapping up a rookie deal and looking to make bank on the free agent market. Only one player, Kevin Williams, is going to find himself in this situation and legitimately contemplate retirement as his next step.

Below you will see a comprehensive list of players currently on the Vikings roster accompanied by their contract status. While most of the contractual situations are pretty evenly spread across the positions (outside of the d-line, more to come on that), a majority of them are from skill positions that will have a big impact on this season.

On the offensive side of the ball, skill players like Jerome Simpson, Toby Gerhart and Joe Webb are entering the final years of their deals all with something left to prove. On the line, Charlie Johnson and Joe Berger may both be looking for one final contract they can ride into retirement.

Flipping over to the defense, we have a problem. Simply put, the entire defensive line and most of the backups are in a contract year. Jared Allen, Kevin Williams, Brian Robison, Fred Evans, Everson Griffen and Lawrence Jackson are all playing out the final year of their contracts. That leaves Letroy Guion and Sharrif Floyd as the only d-linemen, who can expect to see reps this season, that are signed into the future. Sprinkle in Desmond Bishop with the linebackers and Chris Cook in the secondary and you have a large contingent on defense playing for the futures.

Again, you can read into these contract situation in one of two different ways. Either you are of the mind set that this is a result of poor planning on the parts of Rick Spielman and the Vikings front office – OR – You buy into the assumption that having thirteen regulars in “contract years” can be beneficial to the Vikings fortunes in 2013. Having six defensive linemen that have never been more motivated than they are now as they try to secure their future is likely going to require their best efforts and could result in a defensive rush that torments opposing quarterbacks.

If you optimistic, you’d like to think that players in the NFL are always motivated either by their competitive nature or their commitment to the team (fans, state, etc). If you lean pessimistic, you realize that this is not always the case. No matter what you believe, more often than not, money talks. And the Minnesota Vikings have thirteen players on roster that are likely a little more motivated by money this season than they have been in the past.

Again, check out the full list of contractual situations on the list below…

OFFENSE:

QB – Christian Ponder – signed through 2015
RB – Adrian Peterson – signed through 2017
WR1 – Greg Jennings – signed through 2017
WR2 – Jerome Simpson – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
WR3 – Jarius Wright – signed through 2016
TE1 – Kyle Rudolph – signed through 2014
RT – Phil Loadholt – signed through 2015
RG – Brandon Fusco – signed through 2014
C – John Sullivan – signed through 2016
LG – Charlie Johnson – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
LT – Matt Kalil – signed through 2015

Notable Reserves
John carlson – signed through 2016
Toby Gerhart – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
Joe Webb – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
Joe Berger – LAST YEAR OF DEAL

DEFENSE:

DE – Jared Allen – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
DT – Kevin Williams – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
DT – Letroy Guion – signed through 2014
DE – Brian Robison – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
OLB – Chad Greenway – signed through 2015
MLB – Erin Henderson – signed through 2014
OLB – Desmond Bishop – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
CB – Xavier Rhodes – signed through 2017
CB – Chris Cook – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
SS – Jamarca Sanford – signed through 2014
FS – Harrison Smith – signed through 2015

Notable Reserves
Fred Evans – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
Everson Griffen – LAST YEAR OF DEAL
Lawrence Jackson – LAST YEAR OF DEAL

Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN

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