Dave Campbell / Associated Press, Published April 02 2012
Vikings taking a patient approach to rebuildingMINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Vikings have been making plenty of roster moves this offseason. They’re just not the kind of transactions that bring much attention.
Frustrated fans have been pining for more action, still wishing Ryan Longwell had the chance to kick a field goal in New Orleans at the end of the NFC championship game two years ago instead of watching Brett Favre’s off-balance pass get intercepted.
But if there were actually any lingering questions about whether the Vikings were in full reconstruction mode, they’ve been answered by the way general manager Rick Spielman has guided the organization through this spring. The Vikings added to their list of low-profile free agent additions on Monday by signing wide receiver Bryan Walters. He played in college at Cornell and spent the last two years with the San Diego Chargers, appearing in four games last season.
Not the game-breaking guy with burning speed the masses would love to see.
Walters joins tight end John Carlson, offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, cornerback Zack Bowman, running back Lex Hilliard and fullback Jerome Felton as free agents with NFL experience who’ve signed with Minnesota from outside the organization over the past month. Carlson and Schwartz are coming off major injuries that kept them from playing last year. Carlson was the only one who got a contract for more than one season, though his deal is lucrative, worth as much as $25 million over five years including a $5 million bonus.
The Vikings re-signed six of their own players: offensive lineman Patrick Brown, quarterback Sage Rosenfels, defensive tackles Fred Evans and Letroy Guion, wide receiver Devin Aromashodu and linebacker Erin Henderson. Three of them received one-year deals, with Guion, Evans and Rosenfels the only ones signed for more.
Coach Leslie Frazier was asked last week by reporters at the league meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., if he had to preach patience to the public.
“I don’t know if me saying anything is going to matter. I know our fans. They want to win now. So the reality of it is we need to make some changes to our roster and do some things to close the gap in our division,” Frazier said. “But there’s not a lot of patience in the NFL today. People want to see success, and they want to see it like right now.”
Spielman’s plan is geared more toward success in 2013 than it is this year. But Chad Greenway, for one, didn’t sound worried when he spoke with media members at a charity event last week. Of course, the 29-year-old outside linebacker just signed a lucrative extension and is under contract through the 2015 season, so his window for rediscovering on-field success with the Vikings is open wider than others.
“Obviously, when you’re 3-13, the panic button, everybody wants to hit that,” Greenway said. “From our perspective, if you want to get back you have to do it the right way. Be consistent and grow your team.”