The Minnesota Vikings have experienced a number of roster shake-ups this past offseason. It remains to be seen if the new mixture of players will be a net plus or a net minus for the team.
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Notable Change #1:
The Vikings did not retain receiver Percy Harvin. The University of Florida star never really found a comfort zone in Minnesota. He showcased the extent of his talents, but was dogged by injuries and migraine headaches. He feuded with the coaching staff and proved to be something of a drama magnet. His playmaking skill will be missed, but his effect on the locker room won’t. Minnesota could suffer on the perimeter because of Harvin’s absence, but the team should enjoy more internal harmony with Harvin’s abrasive presence now a memory. Harvin did help out on kick returns, so finding a replacement on special teams – not just offense – will be on the Vikings’ radar screen in training camp and the preseason.
Notable Change #2:
The Vikings picked up receiver Greg Jennings from the Green Bay Packers. It was and is hardly a secret that Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder needed to gain more (and better) weapons in the receiving corps so that the Vikings could develop their passing game to the extent that opponents would have to take it seriously. Minnesota needs to be able to throw the ball better in 2013 than it did in 2012, because that’s how the Vikings can make running back Adrian Peterson that much more effective. Minnesota needs to throw the ball well so that defenses can’t load the tackle box to stop Peterson. This is the simple but powerful calculus of the Vikings’ season, and Jennings’ presence at the receiver position will give Ponder an above-average third-down outlet. The natural bonus of getting Jennings is that Minnesota will have a player who knows a division rival inside-out. Jennings can give the Vikings’ coaching staff valuable added information while also serving as something of a mentor to fellow wide receivers (and a guide to Ponder himself).
Notable Change #3:
The Vikings did not retain cornerback Antoine Winfield, as Tim Arcand of Bleacher Report noted in this June 25 article: “Antoine Winfield only played in five games in 2011. A neck injury and a broken collarbone limited his playing time, activating an appearance clause that lowered . In 2012, Winfield had a tremendous bounce-back season. He led the Vikings with three interceptions and was third on the team with 101 tackles. He was one of the cornerbacks in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), and the Vikings rewarded him by cutting the 36-year-old 14-year veteran. The Vikings tried to re-sign Winfield at a lower price he was due to make, but that was never going to happen. Instead, he ended up in the same place as Percy Harvin, signing a one-year contract with the Seahawks.”
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